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Letters to the Editor: Putting mom-and-pop landlords out of business isn’t a solution to evictions

Eviction protest
Housing rights advocates protest on May 5 outside the Valley Village office of an attorney who has evicted thousands of tenants since 1976.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am encouraged that the L.A. Times Editorial Board recognized that landlords also suffer when tenants can’t pay the rent.

You support a state bill that would offer us tax credits to supplement our loss of rent, but most mom-and-pop landlords don’t need tax credits. What we need is a monthly check not only to pay for the units we rent out, but also our own homes, groceries, utilities, medical bills and more.

You support a moratorium on evictions and allowing tenants 12 months to make up any missed payments after the COVID-19 emergency ends, but how can a landlord financially survive waiting to recover rent to pay our bills?

Tax credits are great for large corporations, but what small landlords need is a monthly check. If you drive mom-and-pop landlords out of business, tenants in California will be at the mercy of large corporate entities.

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Carol Chestek, San Juan Capistrano

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To the editor: In 1872, after the Civil War disrupted many contracts, the California Legislature enacted Civil Code Section 1511. It already excuses nonpayment of rents and mortgages caused by government regulation or disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rent repayment plans will fail because most tenants already exhaust their income on current rent and necessities, with nothing to spare. Now, the government has prevented them from working, so it should protect them from evictions by excusing their unpaid rent permanently.

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Every business has its downside; for landlords, it’s not getting the rent. Landlords with a mortgage promised the bank that they could make their monthly payments even without rent. With a wink and a smile, they closed the deal. Tenants did not sign on as the guarantors.

Just require banks to defer mortgage payments to the end of the loan under Civil Code Section 1511. That’s the only fair answer, and it’s the law.

Ken Carlson, Idyllwild, Calif.

The writer is a tenants’ rights attorney.

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To the editor: Your editorial is correct that California and the nation face an eviction catastrophe if our elected leaders do nothing. It may already be too late for many people.

One crucial thing you do not mention is that when people get evicted, their voter registration is no longer valid. This will directly impact our upcoming election and could put Democrats at a distinct and severe disadvantage in battleground states.

Steve Tarzynski, Santa Monica


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