SAN FRANCISCO—Veritas, San Francisco’s biggest landlord, notified its tenants through email Thursday, August 6, that they would be forgiving half of the missed rent from April through July. When asked about the email by KQED, Veritas confirmed the email, but did issue a comment.
The offer of rent forgiveness comes with a caveat of having to pay back the other 50 percent of the rent over the next 12 months. Tenants have until the end of the month to decide if they would like to consider the offer.
Veritas Tenant Association is not satisfied with this offer. Previously, members of the VTA tried to negotiate 100 percent rent forgiveness for Veritas commercial and residential tenants starting from the time of the city’s shelter-in-place order on March 13, and ending the rent forgiveness August 31. According to emails obtained by KQED between VTA and Veritas, the company would lose $3-4 million if they went through with the plan.
San Francisco’s new laws prohibit the eviction of tenants who could not pay rent during the state of emergency, but many tenants are aware of this protection. Veritas told its tenants in an email that it also recently changed its eviction moratorium and will not be increasing rent through 2020. They did not give many details regarding the statement. VTA thinks that the failure to communicate with tenants and giving them a short time to think about the payment agreement is Veritas’ way of pressuring tenants and tricking them.
The Veritas Tenants Association requested that Veritas give $3.6 million to a small business relief fund which is the amount the company received through the Payroll Protection Program loan. This loan is intended for small businesses to keep their workers on their payroll. VTA does not believe that the company deserves this loan, but Veritas claims without it they would have lost an abundance of their employees. VTA also wants the company to donate $2 million to the tenants who lost their source of income, but continues to pay on time through their savings or retirement funds.
Veritas did not agree to pay for the small business relief fund and has not commented on the donation to tenants.