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Southern California’s largest landlord organization has launched a legal action against the city of Los Angeles aimed at stripping away protections from evictions during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles, in the federal lawsuit filed Thursday, argued that the city’s efforts to prevent evictions for those who can’t pay due to the economic or health effects of the coronavirus violate landlords’ 5th Amendment rights against government taking of their property without compensation. The lawsuit also targets a measure passed by the L.A. City Council to halt rent increases in more than 600,000 apartments covered by the city’s rent stabilization program due to the pandemic.

“If allowed to stand, the ordinances will not only continue to violate plaintiff’s members’ rights under both the California and United States Constitutions, but will continue to inflict massive and widespread economic damage on property owners and landlords throughout the city,” said the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The suit is the latest effort from landlord groups to attempt to overturn anti-eviction rules passed by local governments across the region in the wake of the coronavirus. In at least one case, the city of Upland rescinded its eviction protections under threat of litigation.

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