Paso Robles family struggles with tenants in rental property
A Paso Robles family is struggling to make ends meet as their rental investment now empties their bank account.
The family say tenant eviction protection has required them to cover more than $ 25,000 in expenses over the past year.
“For us, living our whole family is cheaper for us to live than to support this other family in this other house,” said Christine Minkkinen of Paso Robles.
Minkkinen has a one-year-old daughter, but instead of enjoying that first year as a mother, she says she’s in an ongoing battle with the tenants of her family’s Atascadero rental property.
“It’s been so, so stressed out with so much paperwork.”
The pandemic has caused a domino effect, with thousands of job cuts due to the pandemic.
Many unemployed tenants cannot pay their rent, making it difficult for some landlords to pay their mortgages.
California’s eviction moratorium largely protects tenants in the state and has been extended until the end of June.
Minkkinen sympathizes with people who lost income during the pandemic. “I understand it perfectly for people who have lost their jobs and who are in difficulty. However, she says her private tenants have jobs but have stopped paying rent anyway.
According to Minkkinen, tenants also stopped paying utilities and accumulated so much garbage in front of the rental that it sparked complaints from neighbors and the city.
The California Rent Relief Program is put in place to help relieve financial stress. It is designed for landlords and tenants to secure funds for rent and utilities.
The Five Cities Homeless Coalition helps renters and landlords through the program application process. “The tenant’s rent will be forfeited and the landlord will accept an 80% payment from the State of California using these funds,” says Janna Nichols, executive director of Five Cities Homeless Coalition.
But there is a roadblock for the owners. “Landlords need tenants to participate to get paid,” Nichols said.
Minkkinen says her tenants recently stopped returning her phone calls, leaving her unable to complete the request for rent relief.
KSBY called the tenants in Minkkinen and did not receive a response.
Meanwhile, Minkkinen said she felt like she was almost running out of options. “It’s not fair for them to take our property back and we have to pay for it,” Minkkinen said. “We sold a car, we sold a motorcycle, we used our savings.”
Dennis Balsamo practices law in Arroyo Grande and represents both landlords and tenants. “It’s a terrible time to own a home in the state of California, and maybe the United States,” Balsamo said. “Right now I see tenants taking advantage of the situation … landlords have to jump through all kinds of obstacles. “
Minkkinen is working with a lawyer to resolve the situation. “The police say they have their hands tied, that there is nothing they can do. We have to call the sheriff’s department, the sheriff’s department says call the court, and the court says “sorry, we can’t do anything” and it’s going around in circles. “
For an owner learning to manage their rights, this can seem overwhelming. But Balsamo says, it’s not hopeless but it takes time.
California’s Covid-19 Rent Relief program will continue as long as funds are available. For more information and to apply, click here.