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Landlords: PATH LeaseUp Provides Stable Tenants at Market Rates

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It's natural for a landlord to want to get market rate for their vacant unit--after all, they're running businesses. But there's a way to do that while at the same time, being part of the solution to the housing crisis.

The nonprofit PATH LeaseUp program matches property owners and managers who have vacant units with unhoused neighbors who are ready to rent. The majority of LeaseUp tenants use government subsidies, such as Section 8, to cover a significant portion of rent--which means that the money comes in regularly, despite any economic uncertainty. PATH, the parent organization, has been working since 1984 to end homelessness and has placed more than 10,000 people into homes.

For some landlords, it's a bit of a departure from doing business as usual. "We definitely understand that trying a different model to support their business can be daunting," says Jennifer Lee, LCSW, director of Housing Partnerships for PATH.

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PATH provides a dedicated, experienced liaison between landlords and tenants, called a housing specialist. If there's ever an issue with the tenant or a question for the landlord, the housing specialist can help navigate a solution.

Whether you rent out just one unit or an entire building, the PATH LeaseUp program can be an asset to you in finding a reliable tenant at a fair, market rate--with a guaranteed check each month.

Solving Multiple Problems
Since the PATH LeaseUp program began in 2019, it has helped more than 1,000 people throughout Los Angeles County move into their own homes. More than 600 landlords participate.

PATH LeaseUp housing specialists work to find homes for families and single people who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, and who are enrolled in a program to help address their needs. Often, landlords are suspicious of government programs and the tenants they support. PATH LeaseUp addresses those concerns. For example:

Issue: "I'm only going to make a fraction of the market rate."
Fact: The LeaseUp team will make sure you're making a fair rent based on your location and amenities. Just like the payment terms, the exact percentage depends on the specific program in which the tenant is participating. And, when you sign on with LeaseUp, you are guaranteed a holding fee of up to two months' rent until your unit is filled. Once it's occupied, LeaseUp tenants tend to stay longer than your average renter. And if a match doesn't work out, LeaseUp provides a vacancy loss fund.

Issue: "I'm worried about renting to someone experiencing homelessness."
Fact: Los Angeles County is one of the most expensive places to live in the nation, and there's a critical shortage of affordable housing. LeaseUp provides the support tenants need so they don't have to worry about losing the roof over their head--in 2019, more than half of Americans were just one missed paycheck away from being out on the street, with the subsequent economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 economy wreaking even more havoc.

To qualify for LeaseUp, tenants must be enrolled in a program that provides support services. Prior to move-in, tenants meet with supportive services to discuss their specific needs. Based on this meeting, tenants are connected to resources, such as job training, healthcare, mental health counseling or addiction treatment, and education.

If there are ever any issues with payment or tenant behavior, the housing specialist can help.

Issue: "What if the tenants damage my property or don't pay rent?"
Fact: PATH LeaseUp provides protection for property managers and owners. The program covers property damage and unpaid rent up to $10,000 after the security deposit.

Issue: "I'm concerned about disrupting the lives of other tenants."
Fact: LeaseUp tenants have been carefully vetted for permanent housing. Plus, unlike renting through a traditional agency, LeaseUp provides immediate mediation services if any issue does come up.

Issue: "What if I need to evict a tenant? Will I be stuck?"
Fact: It's extremely rare for a tenant placed through LeaseUp to be evicted. In those very speicla cases, landlords can count on getting support they need as they navigate the process

Lee assures landlords that LeaseUp has their back. ""Property owners and managers can start with just one unit," she says. "We have had many of our partnerships start this way, and now we help find tenants for any vacancies that come up. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community, and benefit their business at the same time."

To learn more or to get started, connect with us by calling 323-428-4742 or emailing leaseupla@epath.org.