A considerable amount of attention has been paid to how tenants are to be protected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state established some limitations regarding what can and cannot be done in regard to evicting tenants from rental property for nonpayment of rent during the pandemic. In addition, some cities and counties in the state have added more tenant protections than what was done by the state. 

Some have suggested that less attention was paid on protecting California landlords, at least during the earlier weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. With that said, some locales in California have taken steps to add to what the state government has done to assist and protect landlords during the pandemic. This includes the County of Los Angeles that added some enhanced protections in May 2020 for landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Enhanced Foreclosure Prevention Services for Landlords

In cooperation with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs launched what the agency describes as a series of “enhanced foreclosure prevention services. These resources are available to Los Angeles County landlords that own 15 or fewer rental units in the jurisdiction. 

This array of services is focused on providing support and assistance to residential landlords within this cohort. Unlike mortgage payment assistance programs that apply only to certain loans involving federal governmental agencies like the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, these resources are open and available to any landlord with property holdings as described a moment ago. In other words, a Los Angeles County landlord can seek assistance via this program in regard to staving off foreclosures of loans by:

  • Governmental entities (including HUD)
  • Nationally chartered banks
  • State-chartered banks
  • Nationally chartered savings and loans
  • State-chartered savings and loans
  • Credit unions
  • Private lending or financial institutions

At the heart of the services provided through this program for landlords is a dedicated, experienced team of foreclosure counselors. These counselors partner with landlords to develop targeted strategies to prevent foreclosure on their rental real estate during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Specific Resources for Landlords

Examples of the strategies foreclosure counselors who assist landlords involved in the program include:

  • Forbearance plans to temporarily reduce or delay payments
  • Repayment plans for missed payments
  • Loan modifications to reduce payments, interest or extend the loan term
  • Short sales to sell the home for less than you owe
  • Programs unique to lenders

Where to Access Enhanced Foreclosure Prevention Services for Landlords

If you’re a landlord that owns 15 or fewer rental units, and if you are facing the prospect of foreclosure, you can access enhanced foreclosure prevention services by calling (833) 238-4450 or by writing to the program at diasterhelpcenter@lacounty.gov. You can learn more about the program, and reach out for assistance, by visiting the website for the LA County Disaster Help Center

Foreclosure Moratorium Information

As referenced a moment ago, some real estate owners in Los Angeles County can benefit from a temporary foreclosure moratorium. A real estate owner in Los Angeles can obtain more information about eligibility by calling the Los Angeles County Disaster Help Center at (833) 238-4450

A representative of the agency will assist a property owner in determining eligibility. If a real estate owner (including a landlord) is eligible, a member of the agency’s team can assist a landlord in obtaining relief via the foreclosure moratorium. If approved, a real estate owner is able to benefit from a 60-day foreclosure moratorium. 

Pursuant to the moratorium, a real state owner is not relieved of responsibility for the debt. Rather, the foreclosure process is put on hold. The ultimate objective of the moratorium is to give a real property owner some proverbial “breathing room” in hopes of regrouping and being able to get mortgage payments back on track. The moratorium is also designed to provide a landlord at least some time to attempt to negotiate a strategy to bring a mortgage loan current with the lender. Accomplishing the creation of a strategy between a real estate owner and a mortgage lender begins with open communication. 

About the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs

The Los Angeles County of Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, or DCBA, was established in 1976. The DCBA provides communities at large, businesses, and consumers through advocacy, education, and complaint resolution programs. The agency is dedicated to working every day to educate and support small business owners and consumers about their rights and responsibilities. 

The DCBA also assists in mediating disputes and investigating complaints of consumer fraud. In addition, the DCBA investigates allegations of consumer fraud. The agency is charged with enforcement of the Los Angeles County minimum wage and rent stabilization ordinances. More information on the agency is available at the DCBA website.