A proposal to freeze rent and LADWP utility increases during the coronavirus public health emergency will be put forth during next week’s Los Angeles City Council meeting, a news release distributed Saturday stated.
The motion, which would make the rent and utility freezes retroactive to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s first COVID-19 related order, will be put forward by Councilmember David Ryu during Tuesday’s meeting, the news release stated.
“We must focus on the working families who are hurting right now. Issuing a ‘Safer at Home’ Order was the right thing to do – but it must come with a freeze on rent increases and LADWP bill increases,” Ryu stated.
The motion would ask L.A. City staff to implement the freeze on all residential and commercial rent increases and call on the State government to lift any legal barriers.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power would be instructed in the motion to develop a program that restricts utility bills over and above the average water and electric charges paid during the previous year.
A moratorium would also be placed on penalties, late fees and other costs due to non-payment. Customers would have up to 12 months following the end of the emergency declaration to pay any unpaid bills, according to the proposal.
Garcetti issued the “Safer at Home” order Thursday, asking all Angelenos to stay in their homes with only a few exceptions.
“We can’t order people to stay in their homes without easing the financial strain that comes with it,” Ryu stated.
The LADWP is the largest publicly-owned utility in the U.S., serving over 4 million residents.