For CA landlords, abysmal is the new normal

June rent collections were similar to May, and there’s little relief in sight

Daniel Yukelson of Apartment Association of Greater L.A. and L.A. City hall (Credit: iStock)
Daniel Yukelson of Apartment Association of Greater L.A. and L.A. City hall (Credit: iStock)

Kevin Conway’s June rent collections weren’t any worse than May or April, but then again those months were historically awful.

Conway, the director of acquisitions at Clovis-based IDEAL Capital Group, said he collected 87-90 percent of rent from 6,000 units throughout California. Before the pandemic, he said he was averaging a 99 percent collection rate.

“We’re trying to be proactive and working with renters and trying to get them to pay something,” Conway said.

California landlords are concerned that their plight is on the backburner as legislators across the state write yearly budgets that re-examine law enforcement funding, following documented police killings of black people.

At a Los Angeles City Council meeting Wednesday, rental payment measures were tabled due to hours of public comment regarding police funding and reform, according to attendees of the virtual meeting.

Postponing rental payment relief would have to come before Pandemic Unemployment Assistance checks and other federal assistance runs out on July 31st.

“The build-up of uncollected revenue over time has really begun to take its toll on many rental housing providers, particularly the smaller mom-and-pops that are struggling to meet financial obligations,” said Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.

Yukelson said that his members reported June collections were “slightly worse than collections in April and May” of “a couple to several percentage points.”

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The L.A. landlord trade group reported that rent collections in May were down about 10 percent in pricier buildings and 20 percent in structures with lower income tenants.

Neil Shekhter, whose NMS Properties owns about 2,000 units in Santa Monica and Los Angeles’s West Side, said his June rent collections ticked down to 88 percent compared to 92 percent in May.

Paul Julian, of Irvine-based Advanced Real Estate, reported that June rental collections were down six percent compared to before the pandemic, roughly on par with April and May.

One group that did report a sharp decrease in rent payments is the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, a tenant advocacy group.

ACCE said 60,000 of their members went on a June rent strike, compared to 14,000 in May, a leap the group connected to prolonged unemployment for its members.

Like other California nonprofits, ACCE has publicized its work supporting Black Lives Matter demonstrations. How the movement for racial justice and police reforms will tie into landlord and renter relief remains to be seen.

“Police issues are definitely dominating the discussion,” said Casey Maddren, executive director of United Neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Maddren, a tenants advocate, adds that if police funding is cut, “It could add more money for rent relief and housing.”