The machine of the bureaucracy is bringing slow aid to landlords as rent relief slowly and not-so-surely rolls out.
The hard left would have you only think of the lowly renter when arguing for massively inflated federal relief bills that suspiciously contain a lot of foreign funding for progressive social programs in foreign programs for legislation that’s supposed to help the American working class.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of the working-class and otherwise far from fabulously affluent landlords out there to whom the pandemic has been financially crippling. While the moratorium on evictions helped keep roofs over American heads, those tasked with ensuring the whole building remains standing and operable could be sinking.
And as Bloomberg reports, as federal rent relief hits the states, many landlords are still underwater, waiting for months of back rent and unpaid utility bills. Although Congress passed legislation aimed at protecting renters, “there was no targeted help for mom-and-pop property owners who provide much of America’s affordable housing.”
“Like their tenants, these landlords are more likely to be nonwhite or to be immigrants using real estate for their economic foothold. Now, mortgage, maintenance and tax bills are piling up, putting landlords in danger of losing their buildings or being forced to sell to wealthier investors hunting for distressed deals,” the paper explains.
The $47 billion that Congress earmarked for rent relief began rolling out in December and again in March, but many landlords are still waiting to get their back rent and unpaid utility bills as things are now moving “at the speed of bureaucracy” of the given state that’s dolling it out.
Bloomberg notes that there’s little data showing the degree to which landlords are in dire financial straits, but of course, common sense dictates that “it doesn’t take much to fall behind if income stops coming from one tenant in a small building.”
The paper spoke with Joaquin Villanueva, a Salvadorian immigrant and janitor at Boston’s Logan International Airport who had one tenant vanish in the night, leaving behind months of unpaid rent, while an unemployed restaurant dishwasher owes him $5,000.
Villanueva, who was careful to point out he wasn’t “rich like Donald Trump,” has had to take out a loan just to cover the bills.
“I don’t want to lose my house so I’m doing whatever I have to do,” he said.
He’s not alone.
One landlord in Crown Heights, Brooklyn is a year behind on taxes and gas bills, has a broken broiler he has no means to repair, has several empty units and even had a tenant skip out on $96,000 in unpaid rent last year.
While Lincoln Eccles is hounded by wealthy developers to sell, he’d like to pass on the building, which was purchased by his father, a Jamaican immigrant, to his own son, now just a month old.
One of the time-honored ways that immigrants and citizens alike have managed to live their own version of the American dream was through property and business ownership.
How does it help anyone if the landlords who provide affordable housing are legally barred from evicting tenants and ultimately forced to sell to developers who would undoubtedly hike up rent? While the eviction moratorium may have kept renters off the streets, will it ultimately assuage the homelessness crisis if only the elite can own property?
The Squad and their adherents talk a big game about giving relief to renters and lifting up immigrants and people of color, yet their own policies seem to be widening, not closing, the gap between the haves and the have nots, which will ultimately hurt the communities they claim to represent far more than they might realize.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.