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WA landlord unable to collect rent for 8 months, dealing with gang activity

Yakima. (Photo by Robert Ashworth)

A landlord from Yakima says she is being forced to not collect rent because of COVID-19, and has renters who she says are abusing the eviction moratorium. It’s a house she grew up in and has been renting out for 20 years to give her an additional revenue stream and to help her kids with college. She joined the Dori Monson Show to discuss.

“I do have a company that handles the rental for me, and if there’s any repairs that are needed, and they also collect the rent check and then they take a certain amount out for their efforts. And then they send me the balance every month. And I realized shortly after the pandemic hit that we hadn’t been getting the rent check every month and I reached out to the management company and they said, ‘Well, no, we haven’t received any rent checks,'” Kim said.

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“And so I said, ‘Well, I’m a little concerned. I wish that we could work out a payment plan’ and they said, ‘Well, we have not had any contact with the renter.’ This was probably April or May. And so that went on, with no communication from the renter, and I debated on whether we should do a legal action to get them to pay a rent. But what could I do? During this time you can’t [take legal action] for non-payment of rent.”

She soon learned that there may have been gang-related activity at her rental home, and is not sure if she’ll be able to take any action with regards to eviction in that area either.

“We go to September … and there’s news that there was a drive-by shooting at a home in Yakima and that an 11-year-old had been shot by a stray bullet. Lo and behold, I opened up the paper and the picture of the house is my rental house. This is just what I’m hearing, that there was a man that shot 16 bullets into the front of the home. He was gang related, and apparently the bullets were meant to be for another gang member who lived in the house, a relative of the renters, whether it was the father of the 11-year-old or relationship, I do not know,” she said.

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“They did get the shooter. The rental company went out to see the damage was and the occupants were not there. They had left for about a week. But the neighbors did confirm that, you know, it was supposedly gang related. And here I am. Can I throw them out because of this? No. I’m stuck. I believe that they were participating in those activities when they leased the house, without us knowing. They were hiding that fact.”

She says that for eight months she hasn’t been able to collect the $700 rent, which has cost her $5,600, along with $1,400 in damage from the shooting, totaling $7,000.

“It’s just been a nightmare. This is a unique example with the lawlessness and all, but it’s just been nothing but a nightmare,” she said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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