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Coronavirus presents challenges for Orcutt mom in search of new apartment

Posted at 7:42 AM, Apr 02, 2020

An Orcutt woman and her young son are spending a lot more time at home these days but soon, where they call home may change and finding their next address amid the coronavirus outbreak has made the search difficult.

"Some of my friends are in the military and they were deployed so we've been staying in their house," Jodi Knowles, who currently lives in Orcutt, said. "They're coming back so I'm starting to look for another place but all of a sudden there's this corona stuff right when I'm trying to find housing."

Knowles is in need of a dog-friendly apartment between Orcutt and Pismo Beach with two bedrooms, a backyard, and a month-to-month lease agreement.

Those specifications would be difficult enough to find without a pandemic, but with just two weeks before she has to move out, Knowles is feeling nervous.

Renters like Knowles aren't the only ones feeling the stress of leasing amid coronavirus restrictions.

"We've locked our doors, we're not open to the public," California West Pres. Derek Banaducci said. "We're not doing showings of apartments that are occupied and we're also not doing showings of vacant apartments."

Banaducci said prospective renters can trade their credit card for a key to a vacant property and check out the property by themselves.

"Logistically, it's a lot more challenging than it was previously," Banaducci said. "But it's something you can do and it certainly still a possibility but if you can avoid it, now's not the best time to be moving around."

Banaducci and other property managers are directing people to the online listings, but for renters with children, the listings can't answer new questions prompted by the coronavirus.

"Will it be clean? How long will it take to get everything and house it down?" Knowles questions.

Banaducci encourages renters like Knowles to check out the rental website and follow up with a phone call, a move that can help both parties move forward safely.

Banaducci said he is working with renters on a case-by-case basis who would like to extend their lease with California West instead of moving out. But that will mean fewer rentals come onto the market place.

Gov. Newsom ordered a ban on the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31.