Some LA landlords tap savings, may sell properties to stay afloat

Nearly 40% of property owners with 5 units or fewer could soon face financial distress, survey finds

Los Angeles /
Apr.April 05, 2021 10:55 AM
(iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)
(iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

More than a year into the pandemic, many Los Angeles landlords and property managers say they are tapping their savings, delaying maintenance work, and could be forced to sell buildings or lay off staff to stay afloat.

According to a new report, half of the 1,300 L.A. rental property owners surveyed, said they would face financial distress within six months if their situations didn’t improve, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Nearly 30 percent said they would face serious financial difficulties within three months, according to the report from the University of Pennsylvania, which surveyed owners in December.

Examples the report gave for financial distress included selling properties or laying off staff. The problems were particularly acute for landlords who own a few units each. Nearly 40 percent of owners with five or fewer units said they would face financial distress within three months. For those who own 30 or more units, that figure stood at 20 percent, according to the report.

Respondents said they are still having problems filling vacancies, and that tenants owe back rent.

Beverly Rowe, who manages an L.A. triplex her family owns, said tenants owe around $30,000 in back rent, according to the Times. She is hoping she doesn’t have to sell the property.

Owners have also expressed concerns that federal rent relief for landlords and tenants won’t make up for the losses incurred over the last year, the Times report noted.

Landlords and tenants are still eager for relief dollars. Around 20,000 tenants applied for federal dollars through California’s rent and utility relief program on the first day the state system went live last month. Meanwhile, L.A.’s relief program went live March 30.

Those programs are for low-income renters and their landlords. Landlords can receive a guaranteed 80 percent of back rent from tenants who qualify.

[LAT] — Dennis Lynch 


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