TORRANCE, Calif. — The eviction moratorium that was extended to the end of September is set to expire in a couple of weeks, and state legislators have indicated they do not plan to extend it again.
In Los Angeles County, small business owners are growing increasingly concerned about having to pay back rent owed when they are barely making enough to keep their doors open.
What You Need To Know
- There are just two weeks left of the eviction moratorium that was extended to the end of September
- Small business owners are growing increasingly concerned about having to pay back rent owed
- The executive director of the LA County Development Authority said they’ve partnered with the state to help pay millions of dollars in rent for low income residents in LA County
- The LA County Development Authority said there is also a number of resources for residential renters who are looking for guidance to retain their housing
Beauty Mantra Eyebrow Threading is not technically a family business, but owner Sana Parkar always has her daughter, Aaya Jhaveri nearby. The proud, single mother said Jhaveri is her reason to keep going every day.
"Not only am I a business owner, I'm a mom and the burden is a struggle for me because I would really like to help my daughter pay for tuition so that she can get her chemical engineering degree," Parkar said.
However, Parkar can barely make ends meet as it is. She opened Beauty Mantra 13 years ago after moving from India to chase the American dream. The experience has been rewarding and mostly successful, until last year when the pandemic changed everything.
"We didn't know if it was gonna be open, how long it was gonna be open. The guidelines kept changing. Every day it was something new," Parkar said.
For months, she even had to work the front of her studio, but she was still not making enough to pay her rent, so Sana and her daughter started working for Instacart and UberEats to pay her landlord half of the $3,000 she owed him every month.
Parkar said even now, 50% of her clientele still has not returned, but her landlord said with the eviction moratorium ending at the end of September, she now has to start making payments toward the $40,000 she is past due.
"Now with the moratorium ending, I worry as to how I would make up the lump sum of money that I owe my landlord for all of the months that we were shutdown," she said.
Emilio Salas is the executive director of the LA County Development Authority. He said they have partnered with the state to help pay millions of dollars in rent for low-income residents in LA County. However, when it comes to business owners like Parkar, Salas said a new program under the American Rescue Plan was approved in the last few weeks.
"We're building the framework for a rental assistance program, specifically for small businesses that are renting commercial space because we understand that they are also at high risk of closing their doors, if in fact they're not able to pay rental overages," Salas said.
Sana said she is grateful for the possibility of new assistance, but with no specific launch date, she is still feeling the pressure of the looming end to the moratorium.
"We tried to negotiate the rent too, to try to lower the rent, just because we've been through so much," she said. "The rent is not negotiable and neither is the back rent that is owed to him."
It is concerning, Sana said, because if she could not pay it before, how will she ever able to afford it now?
The LA County Development Authority says there are also many resources for residential renters who are looking for guidance to retain their housing.
To find information, visit www.stayhousedla.org.