Struggles of ‘mom and pop’ landlords highlighted in new survey

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A newly released survey highlights the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on California’s “mom and pop” landlords.

The report comes from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation.

“The results of the survey are sobering,” Ben Metcalf, managing director of the Terner Center, writes in this web post. “The majority of survey respondents — more than 80% of whom own or manage buildings with fewer than 20 units — reported a decline in their rental income compared to the first quarter of the year. We should all be worried that one in four landlords have already borrowed funds to make ends meet and almost two in five lack confidence in their ability to make ends meet over the next 90 days.”

Sixty-seven percent of the landlords surveyed expect to derive at least one-quarter of their retirement income from their rental properties, the survey found, while more than one-third expect to get the majority of their retirement income from these rentals.

Those managing five to 19 units were most likely to see their properties as a source of retirement income. Of those landlords, 87% expect to get at least one-fourth of their retirement income from their rental properties and 52% expect to get more than half.

“If these properties fail, a cascade of negative outcomes ensue. The impacts to the renters themselves—including concerns of evictions and lack of basic upkeep and maintenance of their units—are dire,” wrote Metcalf, the former director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

“The results of this survey should be read as a blinking red light warning us that absent further action by the federal government economic collapse may be imminent for a huge swath of America.”

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