As county approves relief for renters, landlords group voices own concerns

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Board Of Supervisors has approved its largest budget ever — more than $6.5 billion dollars for fiscal year 2020-21, in part to help residents with the health and financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The budget includes $24 million to be used toward rental assistance. Those with evidence that they’re struggling with money during the pandemic can apply for relief payments — grants of $1,500 per month for two months — and will be selected from a lottery.

The City of San Diego also has an eviction moratorium in place. That means residents who can’t make rent and can prove that their financial hardship is tied to the pandemic cannot be forced out of their home, though they’ll still owe their landlord back-pay. Originally, residents were going to have to start making those payments in September, but now the city has moved the deadline for new payments to the end of the year.

The county has compiled a list of eviction moratoriums for other cities around the region, which you can view by clicking here.

The other side of the equation, landlords and property managers, have their own set problems.

“Everyone in the rental market is being affected some way or another,” said Whitney Benzian, Vice President of Public Affairs for the California Apartment Association. Whitney says some smaller property owners don’t have the financial flexibility to wait for delayed payments from renters, and he worries that their needs aren’t being adequately addressed.

“What we’re really concerned about is the small ‘mom-and-pop’ (landlords). It’s their investment vehicle, then they can’t do the maintenance. It just becomes a real problem that’s going to spiral and we’re starting to see it.” 

Statewide, California’s eviction moratorium is still set to expire Sept. 1. But a new bill in Sacramento, AB-1436, would prevent foreclosures and evictions until 90 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency ends, or April 2021, whichever comes first. The bill must clear the State Senate and the Assembly by Monday, Aug. 31, the last day of the legislative session. Benzian’s organization opposes the legislation.

Read details of the county’s new budget here.

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