Tenants owe $17,000 in rent, landlord sells with renters inside at significant loss

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MERCED, Calif. (KGPE) – Some small landlords are running out of options.

Under an eviction moratorium, renters affected by COVID-19 have not had to pay rent for 11 months now.

They are protected for at least another five months under new legislation.

Help offered to renters is hindering landlords.

We first introduced you to Robert Givens last month in this story.

He’s a landlord in Merced.

He is owed $17,000 dollars in unpaid rent since April of 2020.

He had to sell.

But since you can’t evict, he had to sell the house with tenants living inside.

It significantly dropped the value of his home.

“Nobody else – butchers, bakers, candy makers – nobody was told to give their services away for free except the landlords,” Givens said. “So I’m going to be out of the landlord business.”

This month, Robert Givens sold the home he rented out, the house he bought and lived in for thirty years.

“It just feels terrible,” Givens said. “Now, we just have to go on, we have to move on.”

Givens made the decision to sell after going 11 months without being able to collect rent.

“I’m 67 years old, senior citizen, disabled, and I depend on this property for income.”

That was Givens two months ago.

Since then, he has gone to Sacramento seeking help for landlords.

“They’re not thinking of landlords.”

Senate Bill 91 passed California legislature in late January.

It extends the eviction moratorium to at least July 1, 2021.

Givens says he couldn’t keep waiting.

“Since I decided to sell, I’ve had such a relief lifted off my shoulders, even money that I’m losing, so what, my mental health is more important.”

Since he couldn’t evict his tenants, Givens took a significant loss on the sell.

It was $70,000 below market value.

Now the tenants not paying rent are the responsibility of the new buyer.

“They’re going to inherit the tenant that they can’t even get out,” Givens said.

Senate Bill 91 does offer this option.

Landlords could be paid 80% of back-rent if they forgive the other 20% of what’s owed.

But it’s dependent on the tenants cooperation, pointed out by California’s Apartment Association.

It also does not include any relief for the months to come still under the eviction moratorium.

“I will be going to court to get the 100% this tenant owes me,” Givens said.

Under Senate Bill 91, any action to recover unpaid rent in small claims court has to wait until Aug. 1, 2021.

Givens says he’s well aware it will be a long time before he sees the $17,000 he is owed.

For our first story where Givens expresses how he feels the government had confiscated his property through the eviction moratorium restrictions, click here.

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April 29 2021 12:00 am

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