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Local landlords forced to evict tenants to keep businesses afloat

Eviction still.jpg
Posted at 5:08 PM, Oct 01, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio — As eviction moratoriums have been lifted, landlords across Northeast Ohio have been making tough decisions to keep their business afloat but leaving some people homeless in the process.

Ahmad Khalil is a local landlord, who owns multiple rental properties. He told News 5 that during the pandemic, he was able to work with residents to get rent late or payments, saying he only dealt with one problem tenant.

“The tenant was three months behind and instead of me collecting the three months, to move forward, I ended up losing a couple of thousand just to get them out,” said Khalil.

For a small business owner like Khalil, it's financially tough when evictions are on hold and people aren’t paying rent.

“I can't go to my insurance company and tell them, 'Hey, I haven't collected rent, I can't pay you.' For us, the responsibilities are still going be there.” Khalil said. “Regardless, if there was a law created for them not to pay, there wasn't a law created to protect us.”

In Downtown Cleveland, in Terminal Tower, K&D management has 39 buildings across Ohio. The company also works with its tenants to ensure evictions weren’t the end result.

“When people would have financial troubles or are not able to pay their rent, we ended up going and trying to work it out anyway that we could help people,” said Matt Driggs, vice president of commercial real estate.

The company also provided resources to the federal funding in the state Emergency Rental Assistance program which helps landlords too.

“If the funding didn't come through to help them pay rent, then that obviously affects our bottom line and it hurts us being able to run the buildings,” said Driggs.

But payment plans and federal funding don’t always work out. From March 2020 to August 2021, court records show K&D filed more than 100 evictions.

Here’s a breakdown of evictions by year through September:

  • 2019: 61 evictions
  • 2020: 50 evictions
  • 2021: 59 evictions

Which is average for the company making it clear it’s a route they never want to take.

“We don’t want people to not be in their homes, we want people to be there because that’s our business giving people homes,” said Driggs.

But as Khalil said, sometimes they have to for the sake of their business.

“I mean, the ball doesn't stop moving. If I don't evict you, I'm not bringing in this income. If the property is not paid for, I still have to pay my mortgage payment,” said Khalil.