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Landlords group backs state eviction ban bill

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Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 20:15:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Steve Askin tells the story of a tenant who rented from him for a decade.

He charged rent below market - but still made out well.

"Over those ten years they paid me a quarter million dollars. They paid my mortgage, and then some," Askin said.

Askin said he realizes he's way better off today because of his tenants.

That's one reason he joined a group called The Property Owners for Fair and Affordable Housing. On Thursday, he and 15 other member landlords announced support of a bill that protects financially struggling tenants from eviction during the Coronavirus era.

"We as landlords aren't happy if someone can't pay the rent, but we have many more resources than our tenants," said Askin.

Assembly Bill 1463, carried by Democrat David Chiu, would ban evictions of tenants who cannot pay rent through April 1, unless the Coronavirus state of emergency ends earlier. Tenants would then have a year to pay back the missed rent. Only then could a landlord take a tenant to court - and eviction would not be one of their legal remedies.

"It's trying to mandate something that we're already doing," said Kendra Bork, who heads the San Diego Rental Housing Association, which opposes the bill.

Bork, CFO of Cambridge Management Group, said 90 percent of her tenants are paying rent on time - and the others are doing payment plans.

"We're trying to keep people in their apartments. We don't want a bunch of vacancies," Bork said.

She said a better option would be rental assistance - which can also help keep the economy going. Bork also raised concerns about mortgage forbearance being deducted from a landlord's owed rent should it go to court.

A spokeswoman for Assemblyman Chiu says the bill is being amended to make sure that won't happen.