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Simona Boneva knew she wasn’t going to be able to pay her rent this month. Her shift as an office manager at a media company was cut in half, and her bartending job went away entirely because of the citywide shutdown over the coronavirus outbreak.

When she went to talk to her landlord, the company responded with a letter outlining terms for it to agree to temporary relief and a repayment plan — among them that she turn over any money from a federal stimulus check or from a charity within five days.

“I can’t believe that they would legally be able to do that,” said Boneva, 27, who rents a two-bedroom apartment in East Hollywood with a roommate. “They’re not entitled to the money for your rent above all else.”

Boneva didn’t sign the agreement. The landlord, Rom Residential, says the letter was a draft that never should have been sent to tenants suddenly struggling to pay rent. But the letter is just one example of how many landlords in Los Angeles have been pushing their tenants to agree to repayment plans that are far more onerous than what’s required under state and city laws passed to prevent evictions during the pandemic.

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