ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - There's no question that times have been tough for everyone during the pandemic. However, many property owners in Anchorage feel that everyone but landlords have been getting a helping hand to deal with the financial woes brought on by the coronavirus.
Senate Bill 241 has banned the eviction of tenants due to inability to pay since March. Payment is still required after the restriction is lifted on June 30th.
According to Kassandra Taggart, President of Real Property Management, most people who own and manage property in Anchorage don't have a lot of it.
"80% of the landlords in this town only own two to four units. It's not big mega people that have thousands and thousands of units," she said.
Taggart also runs a large group on Facebook to give property owners and landlords a place to collaborate on successful strategies for managing units called The Landlord's Almanac. Here, she said people have been sharing their struggles. She said some are having much more trouble than others.
After some number crunching, Taggart came to the conclusion that in the roughly 44,000 rental units in the city about 10% of tenants aren't paying. It seems like a small amount, but she said that equates to about $5 million that isn't being paid.
That of course results in lost income for property owners, but Taggart said there's more to it.
"Everybody thinks that landlords make all the rent money as profit, but really we make a tiny piece of that," she said, "the insurance and taxes get more of the money than us."
During all of this, Taggart and fellow landlord Ben Persinger said navigating financial relief has been harder on them than other kinds of businesses. Persinger said most help comes from the bank.
"There are some deferment things available to landlords," he said, "but typically, what I don't believe a lot of people realize is a lot of those are just deferments for three months."
A deferment is an agreement that you'll pay your mortgage dues later. Persinger said while landlords aren't getting rent, it can be a dangerous financial decision to defer.
"It doesn't necessarily hurt your credit yet, but if you have three months worth the mortgage payments or four months worth the mortgage payments and then come August, it absolutely will," he said.
Upkeep has become a harder task as well during the pandemic according to Taggart and Persinger. Without the rent, they said paying for things like landscaping, utility repair, cleaning services, etc comes out of pocket, or personal credit lines.
Persinger expressed that he felt there wasn't enough thinking ahead in regard to landlords when SB 241 was passed.
"You're just kicking that can down the road and you're not really proposing any solution to it," he said, "You're just kind of proposing a mandate without a solution, and I think that part is the biggest challenge."
For many landlords, Taggart said the temporary solution has been compromise with payment plans and connecting tenants to resources to help make more ends meet.
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