Renter loses two jobs amid COVID-19 crisis, gets eviction warning

Posted at 4:33 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 19:52:18-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A Talmadge woman feeling the impact of coronavirus says she's now worried about losing her apartment, despite a recent moratorium on evictions.

In the past month, Dawn Longardino has now lost two jobs to the impact of coronavirus, both in the service industry.

"I'm freaking out," said Longardino.

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She filed for and began receiving unemployment benefits: $450 dollars every two weeks. That's just enough to cover her car payment, insurance and utilities at her apartment in Talmadge. She has a job offer from a local grocery, but the job doesn't start for another three weeks.

"I've never had this happen to me in my life. I'm nearly 50. It's just very new to me, and I'm an emotional wreck," said Longardino.

Also stressing her out is not being able to pay her rent. It was due March 5. She says she explained why she needed extra time through a texting system set up by her the property management company, but never heard back. Then, over the weekend, she got some mail.

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"Can't sleep since yesterday. I'm sick to my stomach," said Longardino.

She got a letter from Cethron Property management, telling her she has three days to pay her rent of $1,650 or give up her apartment, or her landlord could begin eviction proceedings.

"With this crisis, can't really move in with anyone. Initially stated crying. I've been a mess. Don't know what my options are other than living in my car with my dogs," said Longardino.

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Longardino is also confused, because of the moratorium on evictions approved by the San Diego City Council last Tuesday.

David McCarthy, a tenants rights lawyer tell 10News landlords can legally send the notices, but the three-day period can't begin until the courts open, April 4 at the earliest. The eviction process typically takes six to eight weeks.

When they do open, it's unclear if judges will even allow the eviction process to move through the courts. It does appear judges won't be issuing final eviction orders, in line with the moratorium.

READ: San Diego City Council passes eviction moratorium, ratifies state of emergency

Rob Adatto of Cethron Property Management issued the following statement:

"Cethron Property Management and I personally have been extremely benevolent to Ms. Longardino … a notice to pay rent is a procedural requirement in order to protect the tenant from unscrupulous eviction action by a landlord. In this case, it was required of us by the property’s actual owner, our client, due to the challenge-filled payment history of this particular tenant – again predating and not related to the COVID-19 crisis. It is not a notice of eviction or any other sensational kind of document – that could only be effected by a Court, and as you may be aware, the local courts (and indeed, most every court system in the country) has deferred any eviction action for COVID-19 related failures to pay rent until after the crisis has passed. In Ms. Longardino’s case, the notice was necessary due to events that occurred prior to the COVID-19 crisis. It is unfortunate and undeserved that I and my company, who have helped Ms. Longardino in many tangible, meaningful ways over a long time horizon, are portrayed as uncaring or inhumane."