How Eviction Moratoriums Are Hurting Small Landlords—and Why That's Bad for the Future of Affordable Housing


TIME (June 12, 2020) -- In the mid-1960s, Greta Arceneaux was a young mother of two in the midst of a divorce with a low-paying secretarial job and an old house in Los Angeles. Dreaming of a better life for her family, she took out a loan, tore down the aging home and used the land to build a five-unit rental complex that, she hoped, would serve both as a home for her and her children and a ticket to the middle-class.

“I was a clerk with very little means, but a whole lot of guts,” recalls Arceneaux, now 81. Her plan worked. Over the years, income from that modest rental complex enabled Arceneaux to help put her children and grandchildren through college, purchase a separate home for herself, and save for her retirement.

Then the coronavirus pandemic upended it all. When COVID-19 reached U.S. soil, killing tens of thousands of Americans and squeezing the economy, the federal government, states and municipalities issued a raft of rent protections, including months-long eviction moratoriums. While such policies were issued in good faith—they were designed to protect renters who have lost their incomes from losing the roofs over their heads, too—they have leveled a crushing blow to small, independent landlords, like Arceneaux, who rely on a handful of rental units for their livelihoods.

Read more at: TIME