Jagmohan (she goes by her nickname, Bawan) Gill has owned and operated ‘Fab Looks’ near Herndon and Willow in Clovis since 2015. She specializes in eyebrow threading, face massage and henna tattoos. She says because of the pandemic, the last time she was able to be fully open was in March.
Last week, a notice was posted to the front door of her business warning would soon be in default on her shop’s lease. Gill says the property owner is requesting about $10,000 in back due payments, something she says she cannot afford because she has no income.
Gill says the small square footage of the business doesn’t allow her enough room for social distancing. She is a single mom raising a 10 year old daughter who remains at home for distance learning because of COVID-19.
“I can’t take the risk to take my daughter there (to work) and possibly get the coronavirus,” Gill said.
Landlord Posts Default Notice
The notice taped to the front door of Gill’s business reads in part: “The rent on this property has been due and unpaid for the number of days necessary to declare a rent default under your lease and the lessor/landlord believes that you have abandoned the property.”
GV Wire℠ reached Attorney Gregory Altounian, whose name is listed on the bottom of the paper. He says he can’t comment on specific cases because of legal issues.
“It’s not only wreaking havoc on business and business owners, it’s also wreaking havoc on landlords who aren’t receiving rent and can’t pay their mortgages,” Altounian said.
Fab Looks Owner’s Future
After calling her clients and learning they were mostly afraid of coming in because of COVID-19, Gill said she knew the end was near.
She plans on going into the business to give it one last deep cleaning before she moves all her possessions out.
“I’ll find another job and do other things,” says Gill.
No Current Programs to Help
The city of Clovis says they have programs to help keep people in their homes, but business support is a different story.
“We don’t have any assistance we can provide in that situation for a business owner in relation to their commercial property,” said Andy Haussler, the city’s community and economic development director. “There’s really has been no program made available to business owners that I’m aware of.”
An executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in March allows local jurisdictions to enact a business eviction moratorium on behalf of tenants affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
About 150 cities and counties responded by establishing eviction limits, including the city of Fresno. The city council passed an emergency ordinance on July 16th that addresses commercial evictions in part by stating, “To the extent allowed by State law, commercial landlords in the City are hereby prohibited from evicting commercial tenants for nonpayment of rent during the state of emergency caused by COVID-19.”
Under local moratoriums, tenants remain responsible for paying back rent, but cannot be evicted for non-payment while the order is in place.
Small Business Grant Program
In November, Newsom indicated California would soon have a program in place to provide small businesses with grants up to $25,000. However, that program is still not up and running.
“We’re hustling very, very quickly because we completely understand the dire need of this right now,” said Kaitlin Lewis the Assistant Deputy Director of Communications with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.
The relief will include $500 million in business grants. Here is the link to learn more and sign up to receive updates while the program is being created.