Family at a loss after buying dream home that former tenant refuses to leave

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 12:10 AM CDT
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LONG BEACH, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - A California family bought what was supposed to be their dream home, but the dream turned into a nightmare when the previous tenant refused to move out.

Lori and Daniel Arche closed on a multimillion dollar home right on the canal in Long Beach, California, three months ago. It was supposed to be their dream home.

“I love the house. I love the location. I love that we would be near family, so they could help us with our 3-year-old and 5-year-old,” Lori Arche said.

But the family is now contemplating selling the house after the previous tenant refused to move out. He told them he “does not intend to vacate the home… until it becomes a legal requirement or until he chooses to do so on his own accord.”

The Los Angeles County eviction moratorium, put into place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, doesn’t expire until June 30. So, the Arches can’t file a 60-day notice to evict until July 1, and even then, experts say it could take two to three months for the case to make it through eviction court.

“He knows he can hide behind the moratorium, and that’s where we are. We are stuck,” Daniel Arche said.

The Arches say the tenant has continued to pay the rent of $7,000 per month since they closed on the home, so they don’t think finances are the reason he won’t leave. He declined a “cash for keys” offer of $30,000.

The family is currently living month-to-month in Airbnb rentals. They are contemplating selling the home because they fear retaliation, but they also worry no one would want to buy a place occupied by a tenant who is refusing to leave.

“We just wanted to have a home for them to grow up in and feel safe in and have a lot of memorable memories there, so that’s kind of all lost at this point,” Daniel Arche said.

In a statement, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn says she sympathizes with the Arches and has been working closely with them to resolve the issue. But she also says her hands are tied, and the moratorium will remain in place until the pandemic is over.

Eviction attorney Melissa Marsh says once the sale closes, there is no recourse, but there may have been ways to get around the moratorium while the house was still in escrow.

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