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Property owners struggle as tenants are unable to pay owed rent

LA area landlords report they’re not getting a flood of checks from renters, even though the deadline has now passed for back rent accumulated during the COVID emergency period to be paid. 

The owners say it’s further evidence efforts to protect renters is not only costing them, but will worsen the housing crisis.

“I’m just like a normal person, I’m not like I’m not a corporation,” Vlad Polishuk said. 

Polishuk, an immigrant from Ukraine who arrived in America in 1991. He went from apartment renter to now owning two buildings in north hollywood. with a baby on the way, he says he’s trying to make ends meet like anyone else. and says the city’s renter protection efforts aren’t helping.

“Trying to get that money is going to cost me more,” Polishuk said. 

Most owners like Polishuk still aren’t getting any of their past due rent from the COVID emergency period, despite the August 1 deadline for renters to pay it back, according to the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. 

Polischuk says with eviction protections in place, landlords are essentially being told to continue to provide free housing.

“I have to provide someone’s living situation for three years,” Polishuk said. “How does it make sense to make it harder to provide housing?”

“I’ve been under water for as long as I can think,” Mike Werner said. 

Werner, a building owner, says LA’s ban on rent increases in rent controlled units, scheduled to end in February, has made it impossible for landlords to keep up with rising costs. That makes it more likely, he says, they’ll sell to developers who will raise rent and build fewer units.

“Whoever is going to buy it is not interested in stability,” Werner said. “When you cut off the capital for very old buildings you’re actually losing residents, you’re not gaining them.”

“If they want to concentrate on paying back peoples rent that would solve the issue,” Polischuk said. 

The city of LA says $1.4 billion dollars has gone to landlords during the COVID emergency but the apartment association says they are still $1 billion short from unpaid rent.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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