Ah, the best laid schemes… When now-embattled California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law an eviction moratorium that would prevent residential renters from being evicted during the COVID-19 pandemic, little did Golden Staters suspect the law would come back to bite them. But that is precisely what has happened to Tracie and Myles Albert.
As Fox 11 Los Angeles notes, on Jan. 31, 2020 “the couple purchased a beautiful four bedroom house in Riverside, California.” But that was over a year ago, and the couple has yet to enter the property they bought.
Termites? Well, not exactly. It’s a pest of a slightly different sort that is preventing the Alberts from moving in. Namely, it’s the previous owner who has decided to stay put, refusing to turn over the keys, claiming immunity from eviction under the state moratorium.
Meantime, the $560,000 the Alberts paid the unidentified man sits in his bank account. “It took us scrambling to get everything we had, our life savings put together and a hard money loan on top of it to make that happen,” Myles Albert dolefully notes.
And the Alberts are not alone. An eviction attorney by the name of Dennis Block is quoted as saying, “This year alone, we’ve handled at least 7 maybe 8 cases of this exact type of situation.”
The Alberts and their real estate agent have appealed their case to authorities, who claim their hands are tied by the law. But as Myles Albert has argued, it’s not true that the state has no recourse. For one thing, the sale went through in January 2020, before the law took effect. For another, the law was written to prevent renters — not former owners — from being tossed out for non-payment.