Page 13 - aagla4-2021
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 President’s Message
A Year into the Pandemic - We Must Remain Focused on Realistic Solutions
BNy Cheryl Turner
one of us ever thought a year ago that we would still be faced with the challenges of a global pandemic one year later. I only hope you and your family remain safe and healthy in the face of the ongoing
crisis. We can only hope that as more of us are vaccinated, we can soon get back to some semblance of “normal” and see light at the end of the tunnel.
These continue to be incredibly challenging, unprecedented times in the apartment industry, as they are for all Americans. Every apartment owner in California is united in fighting this common, invisible enemy as never before. Together, we face a once in a lifetime crisis which makes it difficult to know how best to advocate on behalf of all owners, especially because there are no two apartment owners who face the exact same situation. It takes all of us working together to address the economic, health and regulatory challenges we face today. We must speak with a single voice focused on realistic solutions.
It is important that our elected officials stand with us and communicate support of the proposition that residents are still responsible for paying their rent while eviction moratoriums remain in effect, or if a resident cannot pay his or her rent, that he or she receive sufficient rental assistance as opposed to shifting the burden entirely to landlords. The current Federal stimulus package and $25 Billion of renter assistance is crucial for market rate residents adversely affected by the pandemic and should this latest rental assistance package prove to be insufficient, we must work together as an industry to push for additional funding not only at the Federal level, but also at the State and local levels of government. We as housing providers cannot continue to shoulder this burden ourselves.
 I remain troubled by the silent, or sometimes not so silent, message that tells tenants: do not pay your rent. I am also deeply concerned about the current “ceiling” set under State Senate Bill 91, which seeks to impose a 20% discount on rental debts we have carried for nearly one year. This can never be the standard set for dealing with a crisis like this. No one would ever suggest a renter would go into a grocery store and load their shopping cart with food, then not pay anything at the check-out line. Similarly, no one should ever suggest a renter not pay their rent, especially at a time when the roof over their head under a shelter in place order is so incredibly important.
As housing providers who have sacrificed to make investments in rental property, we are the ones who are fiscally responsible ‘adults” and are must act responsibility to be creative and flexible in the face of the current crisis. However, we should not carry the burden alone – from my vantage point, as an industry, apartment owners are going above and beyond in the face of a devastating pandemic that has left our state and our cities, for all practical purposes, shut down. We did not “pull the plug” on our economy, force businesses to shut down, and put so many out of work. Yet, as we sit here today with growing rental debts, we are surely the collateral damage from hasty government decisions made by elected officials who lack any sort of crisis management experience – we are being led by politicians, not highly skilled business and management professionals that have faced tough situations before.
I believe residential landlords deserve special recognition for being essential workers in our industry who are a few steps removed from the front-line health care workers when they enter an apartment home to complete a work order – there are literally thousands of these important heroes

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