Duration of Pasadena’s eviction moratorium unclear – Pasadena now

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Moratoriums preventing tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic from being evicted for default at the state and county level will expire on June 30, but it remains unclear how long a similar policy enacted in Pasadena will remain. in force, officials said.

Unlike the moratoriums promulgated by California and Los Angeles County officials, which have a built-in expiration date of June 30, unless extended, the Pasadena eviction moratorium will remain in effect as long as the town will remain under a local state of emergency, according to the Pasadena housing director. Bill Huang.

“There is no date yet for the lifting of this emergency order,” Huang said. “When the emergency order is lifted, the affected households would then have six months to repay their rent.”

Huang also pointed out that the city offers a household rent assistance program, which has already helped more than 275 households with around $ 1 million in carry-over COVID-19 relief funds.

“There is certainly a lot of concern that there will be potential households who will not be able to repay their rent when due,” he said. “That is why we are encouraging as many households as possible to take advantage of these emergency rent assistance programs that exist.”

The state also offers a program to help tenants pay overdue rents, and Huang said he was encouraging local residents in need of assistance to apply.

Details of the state’s offerings can be found online at housing.ca.gov/covid_rr.

According to real estate agent and local owner Adam Bray-Ali, the owners are also worried about what is to come.

“Last year, as the pandemic began, most homeowners saw it as an obviously significant challenge and weren’t sure how to proceed. And as March turned into April into May in June, there was a recognition that local municipalities and the state, then the federal government, essentially rewrote all of our contracts and kept homeowners from both collecting rents and evicting tenants for non-payment, ”Bray -Ali said.

“In the beginning, many landlords, including me, suggested to our non-paying tenants that if they moved, we would forgive the unpaid rent, late fees, etc. And some of my tenants have accepted this offer to us, ”he said. “We had several tenants who had just come up and gone, and I wished them luck in life, returned their deposit and went ahead.”

Bray-Ali said he had had a different experience, however, with other tenants.

“There were other tenants who were much more strategic in their planning on this. One tenant in particular not only didn’t agree to this, but sort of dragged it around without any payment until the end of last year, and has now left tens of thousands of dollars, ”he said. he declared. “There is nothing we can do right now, but once the moratorium is over … we have the option of taking a small claims lawsuit for unpaid rent against this person.”

But for the most part, tenants seem to want to keep their accounts in good standing, he said. And the many local, state and federal aid programs have helped.

“The tenants who were able to do this started to catch up on their rent and we saw tenants come and pay their rent in full. It’s great, ”said Bray-Ali. “But we still have several of our tenants doing very well and paying nothing.”

“There are those who will try to take advantage of any system they can,” he said. “But what the numbers seem to confirm is that – and this is my philosophy of life – people want to meet their obligations. They want to try to find a way to stay. ”

Pasadena real estate agent Todd Hays said he hasn’t seen a significant drop in rent payments.

“Personally, I haven’t had any issues with tenants who don’t pay rent and I’m grateful that all of my tenants have paid rent,” he said. “And I have heard the same from my colleagues, who manage the rentals or are owners themselves, that 90% to 100% of their rent has come in that time.”

On the tenant side of the equation, tenant lawyer Allison Henry of the San Gabriel Valley Tenants Alliance said not all landlords work with their tenants as much as others.

“I have heard the worst of homeowners who do not participate in housing assistance programs. We had at least two tenants here in Pasadena who wanted to apply for the rent assistance program and their landlords didn’t leave them because their landlords just wanted them out. It was last year when the city was doing its housing assistance program, so it was really shocking, ”she said.

“There is still a high percentage of homeowners, for various reasons, who do not participate in the rental assistance program,” said Henry.

Many tenants have gone to great lengths to try to maintain their rents, she said.

“The tenants borrowed money. They borrowed money from friends. They made payday loans, ”according to Henry. “People are jostling each other.”

Even though tenants are not currently being evicted for non-payment, they still run up significant debt, she added.

“These are debts piling up,” Henry said. “You cannot be kicked out for this. But your landlord can take you to civil court, small claims court, and no one wants it.

More information on Pasadena’s Rent Moratorium Order can be found online at cityofpasadena.net/wp-content/uploads/COVID_EvictionFAQ_Sept-2020_HRC.pdf.

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