July 2020

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”

Greetings to all our members, sponsors, and supporters of the July edition of the Official California Apartment Journal. I hope and trust that each of you and your families remain safe during these unprecedented times. Over the last few months all of us involved in any aspect of the housing market have been affected in one way or another by the Coronavirus. We have had to implement new ways of conducting our business and focused on new best practices. The uncertainty of how we continue to operate has forced us to make decisions on an almost daily basis as things quickly evolve.

One of our biggest and most challenging questions is how much rent we will be able to collect, and what is the possibility of us collecting unpaid rent? The second big question is how do we continue to operate our properties with limited income while our expenses remain the same and, in many cases, increase because so many of our tenants are at home more. This will drive up increases in utilities as well as maintenance cost. Well there is an old saying, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

We are working on your behalf to keep the Association going. We have been working diligently on the important issues to protect you. We have stepped up our communications with the local City Council, and the Mayor. We have increased our efforts in working with our state lobbying firm under the leadership of Ron Kingston, one the most recognized lobbyist in landlord-tenant laws; and, of course, with our own Bruce Menke on local legal issues.

In working closely with our local elected officials, we have achieved success on some very important issues such as the Proactive Rental Housing Inspection Program (PRHIP) fees and having the tenant harassment legislation removed, which carried a $10,000 fine. We have been at the table with our input on repayment schedules that includes rights to take action if a tenant defaults. I honestly believe that at the beginning of the Pandemic, all the focus was on tenants, and I understand that. However, the more we, along with our colleagues, were able to get not only elected officials to understand the role we play, but to also bring that to the attention of our residents.

We then begun a proactive strategy to work on positive solutions. We have worked with other industry leaders on tenant rental assistance that focused on getting those payments directly into the hands of property owners. Let’s be honest, most tenants are good just like the overwhelming majority of property owners are good. With the highest number of people being unemployed in the history of the country, most of them are tenants.

There are, of course, tenants who worked these systems, which can be expected; however, there are a vast number of unemployed tenants who were unable to receive unemployment benefits and many who were already living paycheck to paycheck.

Rental assistance is a key driver in helping both tenants and property owners. We have also joined with others who are supporting more tenant rent vouchers as we realize there is no one simple solution to a national crisis. It is also important for us to remember that Long Beach and the surrounding cities will be negatively and financially impacted by the turndown in the economy. We must also realize the impact that the civil unrest that has rocked the world will also impact us in one way or the other.

Our Association has been a true leader in getting going. You will find in this issue the latest update on legislation as well as a series of webinars and workshops designed to assist in these challenging times. We will continue our legacy as being the Association with the knowledge, skill, and expertise to see us successfully through this and for what is looming around the corner.

Stay well and be safe.