Peter Merry

Tenant Rights in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Faculty Mentor: Martha Matsuoka, Urban & Environmental Policy Department

Major: Urban & Environmental Policy

Funding: UEP & UEPI Summer Internship Program: Affordable Housing


With COVID-19 putting thousands of Californians out of work, we’ve seen a countrywide rise in unemployment and inability to pay rent. This has been especially detrimental in Los Angeles, where over 50% of residents are renters. Mayor Garcetti declared a moratorium on evictions this spring, but a tidal wave of evictions are imminent once this law loses effect. There are several bills in the works that aim to lessen the burden on Los Angeles’ most disadvantaged renters. AB1436, for example, seeks to extend the ban on eviction into 2021 and provides additional support for renters. But we cannot continue down the same path of extending the rent grace period every few months. AB1703, on the other hand, is a place-based anti-displacement strategy that allows tenants to remain stably housed while also providing an opportunity to add to the inventory of deed-restricted affordable housing. These are certainly a step in the right direction, but the most immediate and effective way to truly prevent this incoming crisis is to cancel rent for the thousands of people who have no way of making back their lost income.


Watch my research presentation below.

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