Delayed Small Property Owner Relief Program Sparks Audit of L.A. County’s Department of Business and Consumer Affairs

Oct. 30, 2023, Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Holly J. Mitchell voiced their utter dissatisfaction with Los Angeles County’s delayed roll-out of a small property owner rent relief program approved by the Board of Supervisors on January 24, 2023, and have called for an audit to both examine the process and identify the reasons for those delays.

The approved motion that created the rent relief program — introduced by Supervisor Barger and co-authored by Mitchell — directed Los Angeles County’s Department of Business and Consumer Affairs (DCBA) to distribute $45 million to mom-and-pop property owners for back rent owed since April 2022 and onward.

Nine months have passed since the motion’s approval, yet neither an application nor even program guidelines have been made available to the public.

“Delaying the disbursement of relief funds to mom-and-pop property owners is simply unacceptable,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “The motion I introduced included an expectation that this landlord relief program would be launched expeditiously. We’ve missed the mark and small property owners are bearing the brunt of DCBA’s delays. I’ve initiated this audit so that our Board is equipped with an assessment of planning efforts to date and to avoid further delays. The bottom line is that we don’t have the luxury of taking our time to launch relief programs. We expect the property owners to pay their property taxes on time, so the County needs to reciprocate and quickly step up in times of need. I expect nothing less.”

“Support with paying back rent is an urgent issue facing tenants and mom-and-pop landlords in my district and across the County,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “It has been almost a year since the Board approved the motion to create a Small Property Owner Relief program to equitably provide financial assistance to qualifying landlords that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Every day we wait, more Angelenos are being evicted or becoming at risk of being evicted. Our shared constituency is counting on us to get this done, and we must do all we can to prevent more residents from being displaced.”

Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Officer is conducting the audit and the results are expected within two weeks.