Dear President Trump and

To Whom It May Concern:

The purpose of this letter is to let you know how the present condition of our country is viewed through the eyes of an 80 year old single lady living in Los Angeles, CA. I am a legal immigrant who entered the US in 1963 with $19 in my wallet and never relied on public assistance.  I am the proud owner of a 12-unit apartment building located in modest neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.  I bought the building in 1988 after my divorce and used my part of the settlement to purchase these 12 units. I have been the sole owner ever since.

Unfortunately, the unforeseen appearance of the Coronavirus in 2020 brought my happy and fulfilling handling of my property to a screeching halt. The draconian new rules and regulations created by our “duly” elected politicians brought havoc to the landlords up and down California. These politicians, from the Governor in Sacramento all the way down to our mayors and their cronies in City Halls are bathing in their newly found glory of being able to implement a power grab over their constituents, acting like kings, handing down rules, regulations and ordinances of enormous consequences and changes to the basic rights of all the property owners, taking away their basic and constitutional rights of private ownership of their properties. I wrote letters to our various representatives already, however, the letters fell on deaf ears, and I did not get even one response from any of them.

In a nutshell, it looks as though landlords are not entitled to any rents for the foreseeable future, no matter, whether the tenants are impacted by the pandemic or not, they may still be financially secure enough to actually pay rent, either by NOT having lost their job, being able to work from home or being retired and not have any financial loss whatsoever. The obvious question is, of course, why are these tenants exempt of paying their rents? Why do landlords have to suffer financial losses because these “mini-dictators” implement these draconian rules without any concrete reason?  Don’t these mini-dictators know that non-payment of rent creates a ripple effect? Landlords are mandated to provide letters against their will and their self-interest to inform ALL tenants of their newly granted rights!  These new rights include non-payment of rent, adding any number of unauthorized occupants, any number of any pets and any number of surprise nuisances, under normal circumstances definite reasons for eviction. In other words, tenants now have the blank permission, authorized and promoted by these mini-dictators to take over the landlord’s properties and the landlords are totally powerless, the likes of eminent domain without compensation. Tenants get the break of non-payment of rents in addition to unemployment, supplemental rent payments of $1,000/month for three months and credit cards to buy groceries and the $1,200 for each and every citizen, none of which is supposed to go towards rent payments. They are free to spend this money on anything they want to or put the money into their savings account.  No rent vouchers are included in the Government’s generous financial support. But the bills of landlords are mounting.  Where is the break for landlords?  I cannot go to the bakery and buy a loaf of bread and tell the store owner that I do not want to pay even though I have the money.  That’s what the tenants are legally allowed to do, have a roof over their head and not pay.

Now, it is getting worse.  The debts of the tenants towards the landlord are accumulating and the landlords are not allowed to evict the tenants, not during (understandably) the pandemic. If the tenants are not paying after the pandemic is over, they may or may not pay, landlords may sue in the small claims court or evict, but the courts will be swamped for many years and the tenants leave without ever having paid a dime of what they owe and to never be found again. No late charges or interest may be levied either. No yearly tenant reimbursement of RSO and SCEP payments to the City either. Tenants even enjoy free legal advice whereas the landlords have to pay for their attorneys at a bare minimum of $1000/tenant, that is, without complications. Result? The landlords are holding the bag! At least, shop keepers have the option to defy the Governors/Mayors orders and open their doors and can try to revamp commerce and create income again to survive this economic disaster. Landlords don’t, they are stuck!

Now, it’s getting even (more) worse! Our lovely Councilmember Herb Wesson of L.A. proposes to buy up the apartment buildings in distress at the very low price in order to purchase them for the homeless. Get it? Because landlords do not get the income any longer, the prices of apartment complexes drop automatically, some of them may even end up in foreclosure and why?  Because these mini-dictators create an atmosphere of diminishing values of housing, implemented by them and then turn around and buy the properties of their artificial creation of the downward spiral of property values. And before you know it, socialism/communism is creeping into our society! (Read up on Wesson’s pathetic handling of moneys on Google).

I tried to be creative and find a loophole and called my insurance agent (paid insurance for 32 years w/o claiming a penny!) asking about being able to ask for “Business Interruption”, but she assured me that none of the Insurance Companies pay for this type of loss of income, unless new regulations through the Insurance Commission is implemented.  Good luck!

PPP and EIDL are dried up, no chance to get a grant or loan due to the nature of “mom and pop” landlording , this is so totally unfair to small landlords without employees, I am at a loss and have a hard time finding words to describe the situation we find ourselves in.  

I hope, I find a sympathetic ear in this chain of command, because I will try to publish my thoughts wherever I can and I try to reach as many people possible because I do not think it is a political issue.  It is an issue of all people to be concerned about because it eats at our very fundamental fabric and property rights of all citizens, whether you are a renter, a landlord or a homeowner.  The time will come when this change and shift of power will come to haunt all of us, whether we are 2 or 102, think about it! 

Please give the present landlord situation some consideration in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, we would really appreciate it, thank you!          Sincerely, Almut Bower

P.S.  Attached please find a copy of the Los Angeles’ COVID-19 Eviction Protection Fact Sheet.

COVID-19 Renter Protections Fact Sheet 

THE CITY OF LOS ANGE LOS ANGELES EVICTION PROTECTIONS APPLY TO ALL RENTAL UNITS IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES. THE RENT INCREASE FREEZE APPLIES ONLY TO RENTAL UNITS SUBJECT TO THE CITY’S RENT STABILIZATION ORDINANCE (RSO). TO FIND OUT IF YOUR UNIT IS SUBJECT TO THE RSO: TEXT “RSO” TO (855) 880-7368. 

SUMMARY OF RESIDENTIAL TENANT PROTECTIONS 

NONPAYMENT OF RENT DUE TO COVID19  

Beginning March 4, 2020, through the end of the local emergency, no owner can evict a residential tenant for nonpayment of rent if the tenant is unable to pay rent because of circumstances related to the COVID19, such as: 

 

  • Loss of income due to workplace closure or reduced hours due to COVID19. 
  • Loss of income or increased child care expenditures due to school closures. 
  • Health care expenditures related to being ill with COVID19 or caring for a household member who is ill with COVID19. 
  • Loss of income relating to reasonable expenditures stemming from government ordered emergency measures. 

 

The L.A. City Ordinance does not require tenants to provide their landlord notice or documentation if unable to pay rent due to COVID19, but it is strongly recommended that tenants keep documentation in the event of a court action. However, the Governor’s Order indicates a tenant must notify their landlord in writing before rent is due or within 7 days after the rent due date. 

The city ordinance does not relieve tenants of the obligation to pay rent. Tenants have up to 12 months from the expiration of the local emergency to pay back rents. Landlords may not charge interest or a late fee on the rent. 

EVICTION PROTECTIONS A tenant may not be evicted for a Nofault” reason during the local emergency period (for example, for owner movein or to install a resident manager). Additionally, tenants may not be evicted for having unauthorized occupants, pets or nuisance as a result of circumstances related to COVID19. Tenancies may not be terminated in order to demolish, convert or withdraw a residential rental unit from the rental housing market under the Ellis Act until 60 days after the expiration of the declaration of emergency.

NO RENT INCREASES FOR PROPERTIES SUBJECT TO THE RSO As of March 30, 2020, rent increases are prohibited for properties subject to the RSO until 60 days after the local emergency expires. From March 30, 2020, through the end of the local emergency period, landlords may not issue new notices to collect SCEP, RSO or cost recovery passthrough (e.g., capital improvement) charges. Landlords may issue a notice of a legal rent increase, but cannot collect the additional rent until 60days after the expiration of the emergency period. 

 

REPAYMENT OPTIONS Prior to the expiration of the local emergency or within 90 days of the first rent payment, whichever comes first, a landlord and tenant may (but are not required to) agree to a plan for repayment of unpaid rent. The repayment period may be extended by mutual agreement by the landlord and tenant. The landlord may voluntarily extend a rent discount to the tenant during the emergency. The City’s Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) suggests the following options: 

  • Tenant to repay on a monthly basis: ($Balanced Owed) divided by 12 monthly payments. For example: ($2,000 past due rent/12 payments = $166.67 monthly payment). 
  • Tenant to repay on a biweekly basis: ($Balanced Owed) divided by 26 biweekly payments. For example: ($2,000 past due rent/26 payments = $76.92 biweekly payment). 
  • Tenant to repay on a weekly basis: ($Balanced Owed) divided by 52 weekly payments. For example: ($2,000 past due rent/52 payments = $38.46 weekly payment). 

ASSISTANCE FOR TENANTS Tenants may seek information and assistance from HCIDLA by calling 866557RENT or 8665577368, Monday Friday, between the hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, or by filing a complaint online at: hcidla.lacity.org/FileaComplaint.