The Board of Supervisors for Los Angeles County, California voted to rescind property tax late fees for landlords who haven’t received residential rents due under the county’s ongoing pandemic tenant protections. No late fee waivers have been approved for commercial landlords.
Under current rules, low-income tenants who can’t pay rent because of economic hardships related to COVID 19 will have protections against eviction over non-payment of rent until at least 2023.
Some small landlords say their mortgages have gone into arrears after two years of missing rent payments.
“We can’t in good conscience balance COVID relief on the backs of property owners,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, co-author of the plan to cancel late tax fees.
Back in January, Barger called on the county’s tax office to look at the feasibility of canceling property tax payments for landlords who haven’t been receiving rent.
County Tax Collector Keith Knox reported that under state law, he does not have the authority to suspend or alter payment taxes. However, Knox said his office could grant waivers of penalties, interest, costs, and fees under limited circumstances, including those beyond a taxpayer’s ability to control.
Landlord advocacy groups support the proposal but are calling on the county to go further and rescind the pandemic-related tenant protections.
“County supervisors are beginning to recognize the challenges that landlords have experienced from COVID 19,” California Apartment Association spokesperson Mike Nemeth told KPCC, Southern California Public Radio. “At this stage in the pandemic, however, with widespread vaccinations and infection rates that have plummeted, it’s time for county and the city to lift all pandemic-related regulations on the rental housing industry.”