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 Sacramento Update
By Jonathan Arambel and Steve Carlson
It is hard to imagine that the year 2021 could get any worse than 2020, but as the world continues to reel from the impacts of COVID-19, all bets are off. Looking forward to 2021, hopefully the new vaccines will work and allow some semblance of normal daily life to resume. Too many people have lost their lives, loved ones and economic livelihoods.
It is hard to think of any industry or individual that has not been hurt by the pandemic. More Federal resources are needed to ensure state and local governments can continue to help working families and small businesses weather this storm. Many sectors have made significant investments in new equipment, personal protective equipment, and other employee protections at great expense to their bottom line - and are now seeing that good faith efforts have completely gone to waste as businesses are again ordered to shut down under new “stay-at- home” orders.
The wool has also been pulled over the eyes of housing providers that worked in good faith with the California Legislature and Governor to keep tenants housed, even though they could not pay their rent. While those protections were supposed to end in
January 2021, it looks like that was only wishful thinking. The Legislature is considering extending the Assembly Bill 3088 tenant protections imposed on housing providers--at a minimum, for several more months, and potentially for up to an additional year.
All while our state continues to stash away $8 Billion in its Rainy-Day Fund that could have been used to help tenants pay rent without shifting all the burden onto landlords. Now, it is estimated that the next fiscal year will have a surplus between $16 Billion (Governor’s projection) and $26 Billion (Legislative Analyst’s Office). Rather than utilizing this pot of money to help struggling tenants pay rent, the immediate reaction of the Legislature on the first day of Session was to introduce new bills to arbitrarily extend the eviction moratorium.
We talk often about the struggles of being a small mom-and-pop rental housing provider - the mortgage, taxes, maintenance, insurance, etc. But we cannot forget the fact that tenants who are not able to pay rent are falling further and further behind and into debt. The Legislature seems intent on kicking the issue down the road and simply hoping that housing providers can make ends meet without receiving
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