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Local entrepreneurs are also feeling the pinch as they try to renegotiate the terms of their leases in order to keep their businesses open. In Mountain View, Flights, a popular restaurant chain with multiple locations throughout the Bay Area, now sits empty after on-going negotiations between the tenant and the landlord abruptly came to a halt.
"We were going back and forth. I pleaded my case, they pleaded theirs, and I said, 'I can't afford that,' and I offered a very fair deal," said Flights owner and operator Alex Hult, who was then served with a lawsuit by the landlord. "I was at work and my wife called me crying and said someone was banging on the door and she thought it was someone coming to arrest her."
That type of retaliation is what the county board of supervisors may try to prevent as they consider expanding the eviction moratorium through September.
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"Our job, really, is to be as protective as we can of our community and that requires all of us, so it's not just government. It's government, it's non-profits, it's the business community," said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who also serves as president of the board. "We're really asking everything to work together."
In addition to the impact on local businesses, a recent study co-authored by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley found that more than 43,000 families countywide will be at risk of homelessness if current protections aren't extended.
Sandy Perry, a tenant rights advocate with the Affordable Housing Network, says more needs to be done in terms of offering rent forgiveness.
"With the pandemic, and the layoffs related to the pandemic... people are absolutely destitute," said Perry. "They have no way to pay the back rents."
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Property owners are also asking for assistance and say they too need to be a part of the conversation. Some have gone months without receiving payment from their tenants and are now at risk of foreclosure themselves.
"A lot of them are trying to do everything they can to support their tenants through this time of need... deferring payments, waiving late fees, but at the same time, the bills have to be paid, and they're struggling to find out how they're going to pay it without their rental assistance coming in," said Anil Babbar, vice president of public affairs for the California Apartment Association.
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