Commercial property owner sues L.A. County over eviction ban

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The owner of a commercial building filed a lawsuit challenging Los Angeles County’s moratorium on commercial evictions. The lawsuit is the first to challenge a commercial eviction moratorium.

Howard Iten is a retired auto mechanic who leases his garage to an auto repair franchisee, and he relies on the income from the lease for his retirement. Although his tenant’s business has been open through the pandemic, the tenant owes Iten more than $30,000 in rent.

“The County can’t put the burden of the pandemic only on the shoulders of landlords,” said Damien Schiff, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “L.A. County’s heavy-handed response to COVID-19 has hit businesses hard. It’s unfair and illegal for the County to force commercial landlords to bear the costs of those policies.”

Filed in the U.S. District Court, Iten v. County of Los Angeles seeks to end L.A. County’s commercial eviction ban. PLF represents Howard Iten free of charge.