Fremont landlord says tenant who owes $101K is using COVID laws to avoid eviction

They said this tenant has been defrauding several landlords for years, but they had no idea.

Luz Pena Image
Friday, April 8, 2022
Landlord says tenant owes $101K, using COVID laws to avoid eviction
A Fremont landlord says a tenant who owes $101,000 is using COVID laws to avoid eviction - and that they were avoiding rent even before the pandemic.

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- As part of our efforts of Building a Better Bay Area we are continuing our coverage of the housing crisis Californians are facing.

For the past three weeks, ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena has spoken with multiple tenants on the verge of homelessness, the assembly member who introduced AB 2179 that extended the COVID rent protections until June 30, as well as landlords.

Thursday she spoke to another landlord who says their tenants are using the COVID-19 protections as an excuse to avoid eviction.

In January 2020, Rakesh and Tripti's biggest nightmare began. They rented their 3-bedroom house in Fremont to a tenant who they say has been defrauding several landlords for years. They had no idea.

RELATED: Bay Area landlord says tenants owe $100K in rent but can't evict them due to COVID-19 protections

Pleasanton homeowner says his tenants haven't paid rent for 26 months citing COVID protection laws, and he can't afford to pay the mortgage.

"He gave us a check and he gave us a fake W2 and gave us a fake credit report," said Tripti Jain, property owner.

Two months later the pandemic hit.

Luz Pena: "Is your tenant using the COVID protection to stay in your home?"

Tripti Jain: "Of course he is. Before COVID his intention was not to pay, but because of COVID he got extra months to stay."

These property owners say their tenant has refused to pay for more than two years and owes them more than $101,000 in rent.

"My health has suffered a lot for the past two years. I have been taking depression medication for the past two years," said Tripti Jain.

Their plan was to use the Fremont property to pay for their kids college. One of them graduates high school in May.

"Our financial planning is totally messed up at this point, just because we are forced by the county to keep a criminal in our home for almost 27 months," said Tripti Jain.

VIDEO: 'It hurts': Antioch mom of 6 says her teen child is looking for job as rent relief backlog continues

After California extended its rent relief program by three months, preventing the eviction of thousands of people, families are waiting for state aid.

They lawyered up and tried to evict their tenant who they say had people living in the housing and was charging them for rent.

"He knows the loopholes of the laws very well. He is trying to prolong the case as much as he can. It's been almost 19-20 months and we don't have any verdict form the court yet," said Tripti Jain.

We contacted the City of Fremont and the Human Services Department confirmed evictions are not an option right now.

"Not under the current Alameda County eviction moratorium," said Robert Lopez, Community Development Block Grant Administrator at City of Fremont.

When we asked what type of options landlords have they said, "I would suggest the landlord can fill out an application on our website and we contact the tenant on behalf of the landlord and try to help them to participate in the program," said Robert Lopez

RELATED: California lawmakers extend eviction ban for some renters

The city of Fremont paid Rakesh and Tripti $43,000 for 12 months of backed up rent, but they still feel trapped.

"I can't even evict them even after hiring a lawyer? That surprises me," said Rakesh Jain.

"I'm going in circles. I have almost talked to every authority in Alameda County, Fremont city. I have spoken to almost everyone. Everyone shows sympathy, but that is not paying my mortgage," said Tripti Jain.

Their tenant's case is now with the DA's office for fraud.

Luz Pena: "Has anything come out of you taking them to court?"

Rakesh Jain: "Not yet. Nothing,.. If they can go 19 months into the case and still no conviction, I think this can go on forever."

Alameda County has the strongest eviction moratorium in the Bay Area. According the Housing Director for the county, Alameda doesn't have an end date for the eviction moratorium.

Only after the public health officer declares the COVID emergency over, then the eviction moratorium can expire 60 days after that.

The state has an eviction moratorium that is set to expire after June 30.