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Local landlord weighs in on the extensions of ban on evictions

Posted at 12:05 AM, Jun 25, 2021

A nationwide ban on evictions has been extended to July 31 to help tenants unable to pay rent.

Now, a big push is underway to get Governor Gavin Newsom to do the same.

If the moratorium expires by the end of this month, many are worried about what could happen next. It’s not just tenants who are worried, landlords are struggling too.

Christine Minkkinen is the landlord of an Atascadero rental property. She has accumulated over $25,000 in expenses from the eviction protection for renters.

“Every single time they extend this moratorium, you just feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, if I could just make it to the end of this,'” said Minkkinen.

To make ends meet, she and her husband were forced to dip into their savings and took on an additional 6 jobs.

“We’ve been taking on all kinds of extra jobs. He’s doing Uber, Lyft, GrubHub. And then we find whatever other jobs,” Minkinnen said. “You can only work so many jobs for so long before you’re completely burnt out.”

Dennis Balsamo is an attorney at law representing both landlords and tenants. He says local landlords can also attest to the added stress the eviction ban has brought onto them.

“I’ve seen a lot of happy tenants and I’ve seen a lot of unhappy landlords,” Balsamo said. “The moratorium was never for the benefit of any landlord. It was strictly for the benefit of the tenants.”

The current legislation prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who pay at least 25-percent of their rent. It also provided landlords with rent subsidies with 80-percent of the total amount of past-due rent from low-income tenants who fell behind during the pandemic.

“The rent’s not forgiven. They still owe it. When the moratorium is over, the landlord can sue them to collect all the rent,” said Balsamo.

In turn, Governor Gavin Newsom is negotiating with legislators about a $5.2 billion plan to pay landlords the entirety of unpaid rent.

This would give renters a clean slate.

Minkkinen responded, “I’m not really hopeful, because everything that they’ve come up with so far, it’s all about the tenants.”

California lawmakers are still negotiating the restrictions on the eviction moratorium. But it is likely that California will follow Biden’s lead and the last extension will be announced in the coming days.