Small landlords feeling the squeeze

Eviction moratoriums and lagging aid have small property owners pleading for a lifeline

Aug.August 09, 2021 07:00 AM

On Aug. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing the delta variant of the coronavirus, announced it would extend the federal eviction moratorium through Oct. 3, a move that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer estimated would cover 90 percent of renters.

“This is a tremendous relief for millions of people who were on the cusp of losing their homes and, with them, their ability to stay safe during the pandemic,” Diane Yentel, CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said in a statement.

But it was another body blow for small landlords, left to foot the bill as rent arrears mounted for nearly 18 months alongside property taxes, mortgage payments, utility bills and other expenses. Lacking the financial cushion of their larger counterparts, mom-and-pop property owners in cities across the country say they have been forced to drain their savings, max out their credit cards and imperil their own finances to maintain their buildings.

For some, the dream of property ownership has quickly become a nightmare. With housing courts facing unprecedented backlogs, the prospect of navigating the legal system to recover several months of lost income — often a desperate act of last resort even in normal times — represents an expensive, lengthy and daunting challenge. It’s a far less visible crisis than the one faced by millions of housing insecure tenants, but one that could transform the nation’s housing landscape. In the following pages, The Real Deal explores how the predicament is playing out in three of the nation’s key housing markets: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

New York landlords see no saving grace

“They are destroying my dreams”: LA small landlords stretched thin

Let’s make a deal: SF’s small landlords confront lost rent and vacancies

 

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