San Pablo

San Pablo Homeowners Reclaim Home After Tenants Live Rent-Free for 6 Months

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

It’s known that tenants are struggling to stay in their homes during the pandemic but landlords say they are suffering too. 

A Bay Area couple says they bought a house in San Pablo last November hoping to make it their home, but getting the tenants to leave has been a nightmare. 

A.J. Weissmiller and his family say they’re left with a mess after the tenants who had been living there rent-free were finally forced to leave Tuesday morning.

“For six months we’ve been paying a mortgage for a house that we have not been able to enjoy while other people living here,” he said. "Been living rent free without paying us a dime.”

They say the tenants were unfairly taking advantage of the eviction moratorium, leaving the homeowners themselves without a place to live. 

“Who buys a house in the middle of a pandemic knowing there’s renters there that haven’t worked? They know that,” said Angel Handsford, a friend of the tenants.

The evicted tenants’ friend was still there trying to help pack up when deputies made her leave. She calls the eviction disgraceful. 

“Right now everybody has to have more compassion for people and they’re not. I don’t know what’s wrong with people,” she said. 

But Weissmiller, a California National Guardsman who just wrapped up a deployment to the nation’s Capital, says it took far too long to get possession of his new home. 

The Weissmillers say the moratorium favors tenants. 

“We’ve been asking them to leave since November when we bought the house and they haven’t left. How are they the victims? They are not the victim but play the victim,” said Clara Weissmiller.

“I’m devastated by this,” said tenant Emelda Rodriguez. “Devastated.” 

She said she lost her job as a bartender when the pandemic hit and is just now getting part time work. She says she and her roommate stayed in the house as long as possible because they had nowhere to go. 

“You bought a home with people affected by COVID,” she said. “People around the world have a moratorium to save their butts from being homeless and you just made us homeless.”

The Weissmillers say they are relieved to finally be able to clean the place out and make their own once and for all. 

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