Small property owners plan to demonstrate Saturday in downtown Los Angeles, according to a Real Deal report.
The rally, which promises to include dozens of landlords, is being planned for 11 a.m. outside of the county assessor’s office at 500 W. Temple Street.
Yong Ling Lee, who, according to the report, calls herself a “mom-and-pop landlord” of 10 single-family houses, including in Redondo Beach and Hawthorne, has organized the effort. Lee has been spreading word of the “Bi-Coastal Housing Provider” protest by email and on social media and reportedly there is to be a parallel demonstration in New York City.
Saturday’s demonstration will be something of the flip side of recent rallies held by Los Angeles Tenants Union and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, which have called for rent payment strikes.
“The rental rights people that are saying, ‘housing is a human right,’ they are taking advantage of us,” Lee told the Real Deal. “We work hard for little profit. And the government has not helped us a dime with our mortgages.”
The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles is not a co-sponsor. However, when Executive Director Daniel Yukelson learned about the demonstration, he shared the information with the Association’s membership.
“The protest on Saturday (is) truly a grass-roots effort being made by members of our Association and many non-members,” Yukelson told the Business Journal.
Landlords will be organizing to protest the lack of mortgage relief from the various levels of government and the legal inability for landlords to evict tenants due to a protective moratorium on evictions that unfolded in California soon after the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, the mortgage payments of landlords continue to grow, with banks and other lenders not cutting them any slack on payment deadlines.
“These eviction moratoria, which have been in place since March, have allowed many renters to live without making rent payments and live rent-free now for five to six months, and, in some cases, longer than that — whether they have received unemployment income, have continued working, have substantial savings or otherwise,” Yukelson said. “While some renters have suffered terribly with job loss and infection with COVID-19, so have rental property owners. Owning property does not make one immune to job loss or becoming sick with the coronavirus.”
The timing for this first-ever demonstration of landlords seems appropriate, Yukelson said.
“No one is stepping up to pay mortgages, property taxes, insurance, and many of the other obligations we rental property owners must pay. The entire housing burden has been placed squarely on the backs of rental property owners, and more and more are now facing foreclosure and will eventually lose their properties. These ill-conceived policies will ultimately cause the destruction of the mom and pop housing provider and the loss of badly needed affordable housing in California.”
Another cause for concern among landlords is rental income come September and beyond with the expiration of $600-a-week supplemental federal unemployment benefits.
The federal government has provided mortgage relief exclusively to landlords with mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom in March announced a deal with some lending institutions for mortgage forbearance, yet many landlords say they have not felt the effects of this gesture.