The Beverly Hills City Council increased the amount of money set aside to help tenants impacted by COVID-19 by $450,000, bringing the fund to $1.1 million. The program, which was originally approved at the Sept. 15 formal meeting, will directly pay landlords in an effort to stave off a potential wave of evictions stemming from the economic ripples of the pandemic. While Councilmember John Mirisch pushed for even greater funding, other councilmembers opted to gauge demand once the program has gone into effect first.

“These are desperate times, we’ve heard pleas from people, I think we can easily add another $550,000 to it,” said Mirisch, who was supported by Councilmember Lili Bosse. “And even that is probably not enough for us.”

Councilmember Julian Gold cautioned patience, saying that the City did not even know how much demand existed for the aid. “I think we may have to add more money, I think that’s a good thing to do, but I do think it should be based on something and not a spitball over how much money we should put at it,” he said. “We don’t even have applications yet.”

As a compromise, the Council agreed to resume discussion on potentially increasing funding on Dec. 1.

The program will apply to tenants living on multi-family properties that fall under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, prioritizing seniors and households with children enrolled in Beverly Hills Unified School District. The program offers eligible residents up to $1,000 for three months to make up the remaining balance of unpaid rent. The money will go directly to the landlord under the condition that the landlord grant the tenant a year to repay back rent. Landlords will also have to agree not to evict tenants for a year. The application for the program will open on Nov. 16 and go until Dec. 7.

Councilmember Lili Bosse expressed frustration at the delay between the initial vote on the program in September and its implementation.

“I also want to add that during these last number of months…a lot of residents have been very frustrated with how long this has taken,” she said. “They’re all suffering. For me, that’s another reason why I do feel that we should look to adding more money
to it.”

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