LA County waives property tax late fees for landlords with non-paying tenants
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to waive property tax late fees for landlords who did not receive rent due to the county’s ongoing pandemic tenant protections.
The move comes after many small owners complained on the need to house tenants for free at a time when the government rent relief funding proved difficult to obtain.
Some of the landlords affected by the county’s eviction rules “are seniors who depend on their rental income to make ends meet,” the motion’s co-sponsor, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, said in a statement. “We cannot in good conscience balance the relief of COVID-19 on the backs of homeowners.”
Under current LA County rules, low-income tenants who cannot pay rent due to pandemic-related economic damage will be protected from eviction for non-payment of rent until at least 2023. .
Some small landlords say their mortgages are overdue after two years of not paying rent. Other landlords, who are still waiting to receive the help promised by the state’s rent relief program, have sought to deport non-paying tenants.
Back in January, Barger vote the only no against extending county tenant protections. At the time, she asked the county tax office to report on the feasibility of waiving property tax payments for landlords who did not receive rent.
county Treasurer and tax collector Keith Knox indicated that under state law he does not have the authority to suspend or change property taxes. Property tax is a crucial source of revenue, he said, that remains relatively stable even during economic downturns. LA County is on track to collect nearly $23 billion in property taxes this year.
Instead, Knox said his office could grant waivers of “penalties, interest, costs and fees in limited circumstances, including those beyond a taxpayer’s ability to control.”
Following Tuesday’s vote, landlords who cannot pay their next property tax installment by April 11 due to county tenant protections will soon be able to request cancellation associated penalties. The county Consumer and Corporate Affairs Department plans to help raise awareness.
“We’re going to do our best to get the word out,” Knox said, “so many people who need to avail themselves of this process can certainly be aware of that.”
Landlord advocacy groups backed the proposal, but called on the county to go further by rolling back pandemic-related tenant protections.
“County supervisors are beginning to recognize the challenges landlords have faced due to COVID-19,” California Apartment Association spokesman Mike Nemeth said in an email. “At this point in the pandemic, however, with the widespread drop in vaccination and infection rates, it’s time for the county and city to lift all pandemic-related regulations on the rental housing industry.”
What questions do you have about housing in Southern California?