LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — It was supposed to be their dream home, a multi-million house right on the canal in Long Beach.
“I loved the house,” Lori Arche, the homeowner, said. “I loved the location. I loved that we’re gonna be near family so they can help us with our 3-year-old and 5-year-old.”READ MORE: Venice Residents On Edge After Another Fire Breaks Out At Boardwalk Encampment
But that dream turned into a nightmare when the previous tenant refused to move out, telling Lori and Daniel Arche that he “[does] not intend to vacate the…property until it has either become a legal requirement or until [he chooses] to do so of [his] own accord.”
“He knows that he can hide behind the moratorium, and that’s kind of where we are,” Daniel said. “We’re stuck.”
The homeowners said the tenant has been paying rent — $7,000 per month — since they closed on the home three months ago, so they don’t believe finances are behind the man’s decision to stay in the home.
The Arches said the tenant was offered $30,000 to vacate the premises, but he declined.
Eviction attorney Melissa Marsh said the Arches will not be able to file a 60-day notice to evict until July 1.
“If they remain after that notice period, then they’re probably looking at a solid two to three months to get it through the eviction courts at this time,” she said.READ MORE: Monterey Park Police Fatally Shoot Man Outside Fire Station
Marsh said that once the sale closes, there is no recourse. But she said there were ways to get around the moratorium while the house is still in escrow.
“And they’ve complied with the state laws alerting the tenant that the property is not subject to state rent control, you can technically remove the tenant,” she said.
The Arches said they have started contemplating selling their dream home out of fears that they will be retaliated against, but they also worry that nobody will want to buy the home with a stubborn tenant.
“We just wanted a home for them to grow up and feel safe in and have a lot of memorable memories there, so that’s kind of all lost at this point,” Daniel said.
The Arches have since started a Change.org petition in an effort to get the county to change its eviction moratorium and how it relates to single family residences.
In a statement, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said she sympathized with the family and has been working closely with them to resolve the issue.MORE NEWS: Shooting On 91 Freeway In Riverside Shatters Window Of SUV
“This is a rare but difficult situation and, unfortunately, we have found she has very little recourse under the current moratorium on evictions,” she said. “Our emergency tenant protections are going to remain in place until this crisis is behind us, and we are just not there yet.”