ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — The Alameda County Eviction Moratorium Ordinance was adopted in March 2020 to help renters financially affected by the pandemic.
Three years later, some property owners are claiming tenants are taking advantage of the situation. They are calling on the Board of Supervisors to put a stop to it.
“The renter laughed in our face and said to us, ‘This our home. We will never leave, and we will never pay’,” said Judie Zhu, Livermore property owner.
Rental property owners in Alameda County held a press conference in Oakland to call on the Board of Supervisors to end the eviction moratorium on paying rent.
“No more delays. No more excuses. No more bureaucracy. End the eviction moratorium now,” said Joshua Howard, California Apartment Association Executive Vice President.
The California Apartment Association organized the press conference. Howard claimed that throughout the past three years of the pandemic, some of the association’s members have suffered due to able-bodied people, capable of going to work, yet refusing to pay rent.
“Our students, our kids are back in school. Jobs; people are working again. People are able to go back to the office. Businesses are functioning at full capacity. Unemployment is at low levels. What we now see is widespread abuse of the eviction moratorium by renters who have chosen not to pay rent because the Alameda County Eviction Moratorium Ordinance invites them to take advantage of their housing provider,” said Howard.
“Our question is, did you not apply for the state program? If it’s rental assistance that you need, then you should come forward and ask for rental assistance,” said Leah Simon-Weisberg, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment legal director.
Simon-Weisberg said the Cities of Oakland and Berkeley are working on a rent moratorium transition period for tenants and property owners and wants Alameda County to do the same.
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“You’re going to have blocks where on the one side of the street you’re going to have tenants who live in the incorporated area and on the other side of the street they live in Oakland. They have one of the best rent control and just-cause ordinances with an anti-harassment ordinance and on the other side of the street you have nothing. That’s really what’s at issue here,” said Simon-Weisberg.
“In all of our properties, we have renters who have refused to pay rent since the pandemic. In total we have lost approximately $108,000,” said Zhu.
The California Apartment Association is calling on Alameda County supervisors to provide immediate financial relief to rental housing providers who have yet to be paid. Tenants’ rights activists said they will make their demands on behalf of renters on Tuesday in Oakland before the Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting.