By Roderick Wright, California State Senator (Retired)
I understand your desire to protect the County’s renters, however, your proposal to extend the eviction moratorium gives very little consideration to smaller rental property owners. We are small business owners and like all other businesses we deserve to receive income for the housing services that we provide. No other business is required to give away their services or products for free, yet we have been forced to do just that because of your eviction moratorium.
The eviction moratorium did not forgive our mortgages, income and property taxes, utilities, trash hauling fees, nor the costs of our landscaping or repairs. The replacement, 30-gallon water heater I just installed cost $1,000, yet I am unable to collect the rent needed to pay for this and many other costs. The County’s eviction moratorium provides no protections to me from bank foreclosures. Many similarly situated small rental property owners in Los Angeles County are being foreclosed on today. As we small owners are driven out of this business, the “big guys” will swoop in and buy our properties resulting in the loss of affordable units within the County.
Please consider the following important suggestions:
- There should be no more than just a one-month extension of the eviction moratorium, and then wait for the State’s Legislature to act before any further extensions.
- Modify the eviction moratorium to assist only those truly in need that can prove they had been impacted by the pandemic. The current “self-certification” system only encourages tenants who are not in need to “game the system” and withhold rental payments.
- Provide for 100% reimbursement to landlords for their rental debt as opposed to the current 80%. Your available Federal funding can facilitate this. We rental housing providers are not lenders, and so we cannot possibly survive by taking a 20% “haircut.”
I do; however, support your proposal for modifying eviction rules for owner-occupied single-family residences. Also, please remember those of us “mom and pop” small owners who provide the majority of affordable housing within Los Angeles County.
Thank you for your consideration.
The author, Roderick Wright, is a former member of the California State Senate and Assembly, and a current member of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and the Small Property Owners Association. He has developed affordable housing with the Inner-City Housing Corporation. He worked in the Planning Department of the City of Los Angeles. He also worked at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Mr. Wright has been a rental property owner for over 40 years and is also a member of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and the Coalition of Small Rental Property Owners.
(Editor’s Note: On June 21, 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an extension of the County’s eviction moratorium through September 30, 2021, and modified eviction rules with respect to single-family, owner-occupied residences. As of the date of this writing, no proposal to repay 100% of outstanding rental debt had been approved.)