San Francisco-based Veritas Investments, which manages about 6,900 units between Northern and Southern California, is taking extra steps to help keep its residents stably housed.

Prior to the recent extension of the federal nationwide eviction moratorium through the end of July and now the limited ban through Oct. 3 for areas with high or substantial transmission of COVID-19, the real estate management company had extended its own eviction moratorium through the end of the year.

Jeff Jerden, chief operating officer, Veritas Investments
Jeff Jerden, chief operating officer, Veritas Investments

“Veritas is committed to keeping residents safely housed during this unprecedented crisis,” says Jeff Jerden, chief operating officer at Veritas. “No resident in any Veritas-managed property will be evicted because they owe back rent due to COVID-19 if they meet the definition of financial hardship laid out in the state’s SB 91 legislation.”

The management company had instituted its eviction moratorium early on in March 2020, even prior to legislation by the city of San Francisco issuing the same guidance for all operators. It also has prioritized communication with residents, working with those who ask for assistance and providing information about rent relief programs. The rental assistance distribution, administered through the state as well as some cities, has been slow to roll out and confusing for many residents.

“We are seeing more of the need in the rent relief process. We have gone to great lengths to communicate frequently and clearly on the subject,” says Jerden. “The rent relief program is for the residents, and it’s for the rental debt they have accrued through many times no fault of their own. We want to see them apply and see them stably housed. We have no interest in seeing anyone be evicted.”

Veritas has a resident service center with knowledgeable employees available during business hours to help residents. It also recently partnered with San Francisco’s Mission Economic Development Agency to do Zoom calls in English and Spanish to show residents how to apply for the rental assistance funds.

“There is still a heavy lift to be done. We have submitted over 400 applications on behalf of our residents. It’s a small fraction of those that the state has touched in sense of starting review, and fewer applications received have been approved,” says Jerden. “There’s a huge need for the state and local governments to accelerate the pace for residents’ peace of mind as well as to both small and large operators of apartments throughout the country. We owe it to all parties to encourage states and local governments to accelerate the pace of these funds.”

Jerden says he doesn’t see an eviction tsunami occurring since a lot of operators have a close approach to Veritas’ in not wanting to see people lose their homes. However, he is concerned that the reissued extension of the nationwide moratorium might take away a bit of the momentum of rent relief distribution.

“Let’s let this process play out and get rent relief to everyone who needs it,” he says. “At the end of the process, if there’s an unmet need, let’s have a conversation about how we can approach keeping the residents stably housed.”