Coronavirus: Renters, homeowners and landlords struggle to make ends meet amid COVID-19 pandemic

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- At a time of unprecedented levels of economic uncertainty and unemployment, renters, homeowners and landlords alike are struggling to make ends meet amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Everybody that is school support, we have no idea," said Nasha Garcia.

Garcia is a paraeducator in Lancaster for special education students.

She's not online teaching now and says she isn't being paid.

When she went to her apartment manager, she was told, "They said 'business as usual.'"

Garcia isn't alone in her stress.

Damian Renteria is an event planner and was furloughed two weeks ago.

"It's scary. It's my first time filling out unemployment and I think as a person who attended college and got a degree, you think that you're never going to be in that situation," Renteria said.

His landlord is offering some flexibility, but he's more worried about the debt he's amassing by putting off his rent payments until a later date.

"It's not like I could seek help from my parents or they could seek help from me because all three of us are in the same boat of not earning any wages, but still having to pay rent and mortgage," Renteria said.

There are some protections for renters, at least through May.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order allowing local governments to limit evictions and foreclosures through May 31 for those who can't make their payments.

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Jeff Breit of Orange County is a boat technician whose work is considered essential under the "Stay at Home" order, but even his business is hurting, receiving only 25 percent of the normal call volume.

Both Los Angeles city and county leaders have implemented temporary moratoriums. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance putting a moratorium on evictions in the city for the remainder of the coronavirus crisis.

It also allows renters up to 12 months to repay back rent and businesses up to three months.

In addition, he announced landlords would not be able to increase rents for thousands of apartments in the city while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The order applies to residential units covered under the city's Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which includes approximately 624,000 units, according to a statement.

The moratoriums do not mean tenants and home owners will not need to eventually make payments as all rent and mortgages will need to be paid back in full.

But even that will have a negative effect on the economy, according to Tom Bannon of the California Apartment Association.

"Once you get to one month, two months, it's going to get very difficult on the landlord because the landlord will be putting off their expenses also," he said. "Taxes, insurance... It's a vicious cycle that needs to quickly come to some positive fruition."

In Los Angeles, Garcetti set up the Angeleno Fund to help those who are denied unemployment benefits. To see if you qualify, call 311 for more information.
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