Pharmacy owners get eviction order despite LA County moratorium

Whether an essential business or not, it has been a tough few weeks for business owners like Meredith and Michael Miller. Especially at rent-paying time!

Meredith told FOX 11, "I've gone out of my way to pay the landlords whatever I could." But, whatever she did Miller says it wasn't enough. She and her husband Michael own Websters Community Pharmacy in Altadena.

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Since the coronavirus hit they say their business has been struggling, but staying open because it's an essential business, "... and, I have paid half rent on my pharmacy property and made weekly payments to stay up to date as much as I can."

Monday they got an eviction order. A 3-day notice. They say they told their property owners of their hardships and efforts to make payment. Says Miller, "I was instructed to go out and get an SBA loan and that landlords are not the government and I was required to pay my rent."

The loan hasn't happened yet, but the threat of being kicked out has been upsetting. So, we took this case to the county's Joe Nicchitta who heads up the Department of Business and Public Affairs who told us, “This isn’t a time to be sending eviction notices.”

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Nicchitta says LA County has a moratorium in place. He adds, "tenants are not required to get federal assistance" to deal with their hardship. He says,  “That is not part of the executive order.”

The rules are simple, he says. Tenants have to let landlords know there is a financial hardship within 7 days of their due date. The Millers showed us emails doing that they had done that. And, landlords basically have to accept that.

Then, the two sides have until 12 months after the emergency order ends to take care of the past due rent.

FOX 11 reached out to her landlords quite a few times with no luck.

Now, Nicchitta says his department will be calling on them to try and resolve this situation.