Rent is due: Financial struggles concern landlords, tenants

The first of the month presents additional pressures for tenants and the landlords who depend on rental payments.
Some South Bay renters took to the streets on May Day, calling for a pass on first-of-the-month rental payments.
“Millions of tenants are unemployed, without income and they’re still being expected to take on debt to sustain the economy. And that’s not right,” said demonstrator Daniel Gonzales.
Many renters have found a sympathetic ear in the governor’s office, as they complain if there’s no income, there’s no rent money either. Since shelter-in-place rules linked to the COVID-19 pandemic started, Gov. Gavin Newsom has placed a moratorium on evictions due to a person’s inability to pay rent.
“We’ve done a lot in this space and we’ll continue to consider doing more. But it extends. It didn’t expire last night. It extends into this next month. We’ll continue our vigilance and monitoring conditions in real-time,” said Gov. Newsom.
The state-wide moratorium prohibits evictions for failure to pay rent linked directly to COVID-19 shutdowns. A renter needs to submit supporting documentation, and a repayment schedule is also part of the process. But some landlords have been left feeling abandoned since they still have obligations regardless if they receive rental payment.
“What we’re hearing from landlords is, 'Hey, just don’t leave us out,'” said Gary Beasley, the co-founder and CEO of Roofstock, an online investment property sales website.
He says 60% of California landlords own only one property and 90% own just four. That rental income is their life’s blood.
“If you count on that $2,000 to $3,000  a month to live off of and that doesn’t come in, then that’s your source of income. So it’s just like getting laid off from your job. But there’s no relief for you,” said Beasley.
This week, the City of Mountain View announced a $100,000 emergency loan fund for landlords owning nine or fewer rental properties.
“So that they can get through this time of economic crisis for them also because if people can’t pay rent, they still have their mortgages going on," said Mountain View Councilmember John McAlister. "And so we just want to make it fair for everybody, and try to help, as I say, both sides of the equation."
It’s an equation that is getting more difficult to solve, as this economic shutdown rolls into a new month.