Property Owners Take a Hit as Pandemic-Induced Business Closures Continue

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There has been a lot of focus on helping renters hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state, counties and cities have all pushed hard for eviction protection and rent delay legislation. But what about the property owners who rely on that rent to help pay their mortgages? They are now in need of help as well, but it doesn't look like it's coming.

In the South Bay, Gabriel Velasquez of Velasquez Real Estate Rentals visits his properties frequently, realizing the pandemic is hurting many of his tenants. In some cases, his tenants can't make the monthly rent.

Restaurant owner Rene Juarez said he told Velasquez one month that he couldn't make the rent.

"Yes, I’ll work with them," Velasquez said. "But some of these properties, some of the new ones, especially the businesses, I won’t even charge them a deposit right now."

But Velasquez said he can't afford to forgive the rent outright. He still has $120,000 in property taxes to pay every year, not to mention his own business mortgages, insurance and maintenance.

"I’ve been struggling just to be able to pay it on time," Velasquez said. "It's been hectic."

Other businesses, like Blossom Nail Spa, said their landlords are cutting them no breaks, leaving them on the brink.

"We've already dipped into all our savings," Linda Do with Blossom Nail Spa said. "Now it’s just whatever loan we had and that’s gone pretty much by the end of this month."

Gov. Gavin Newsom's office and the Santa Clara County tax collector said they can't afford to forgive property tax payments, but they both have programs that can help with late fees, which can be as high as 25% of the total tax bill.

Businesses owners and landlords alike said the biggest help they can think of must come from Newsom, who can allow them to reopen their doors.

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