Luz Pena of ABC7 News reported California’s rent problem for the last three weeks.
She has met with residents, housing advocates, and the assembly member who sponsored Assembly Bill 2179, the housing relief program that shields tenants from eviction until June 30 as they await state assistance. On Wednesday, she met with a landlord who had not been paid in over 20 months.
Gary R. purchased his ideal house in Pleasanton in 1986. A four-bedroom property with a pool and mountain views.
Thirty-six years later, his ideal home has been converted into an income property, but he has been without income for the last 26 months.
“For almost two years, I’ve had tenants that haven’t paid a single cent,” Gary explained. Gary stated that the renters own a business and their wife has secure employment, but they refuse to pay, invoking COVID rent protection regulations.
“They are fully aware that they do not need to pay since I cannot remove them, which is precisely what they are doing. They are doing this on purpose, and it hurts, “Gary said.
“How much do they owe?” Luz Pena. Mr. Gary: “It is more than $100,000. This is a large sum of money.”
“Does this keep you up at night?” Luz Pena. Mr. Gary: “Yes, I despise admitting that, but it is true. Yeah. I do not know. I’ve discussed it with everyone, and nothing you can do about it. You have no recourse.”
He applied for the state’s “Housing is Critical” program but discovered he was ineligible. Alameda County is the location of his property. Alameda County administers its housing assistance program utilizing federal monies.
“I applied for the position in July and received no response. They informed me that they got the email and application but received no response. Thus, I reapplied since I have another eight months and am now applying for further funds, “Gary stated.
Alameda County got $129 million in rental assistance for renters and property owners. They got almost 13,000 applications and have approved about 6,000 thus far.
According to the East Bay Rental Housing Association, several landlords are on the edge of losing their homes while waiting for assistance from state or county programs.
“They’re either exiting the company because it’s too difficult and constrained to operate, or they’re exiting the Bay Area,” Derek Barnes of the East Bay Rental Housing Association explained, adding, “Perhaps the state should have handled the entire program for all of the towns.” Correct, you could argue that might have been more efficient.”
Gary is unsure how much longer he can cling to his land. “At this point, I’m effectively bankrupt. My savings account currently has $50. I’m having serious difficulty. I recently paid my real estate taxes and mortgage. I’m good through April, but I’ll need to borrow money in May, “Gary stated.
Some property owners are now contemplating selling. Alameda County’s Housing Director stated that they prioritize small property owners and low-income renters who may face homelessness.
She stated that they are running out of funds and would be unable to assist everyone who qualifies. Regarding property owners such as Gary, she states that if their renters fail to pay, they will have to take them to court.