A year ago, CJ Paillant lived in a brand new apartment complex on Jack London Square in Oakland A rooftop deck, games lounge, and pool with a hot tub that he and a friend rented for nearly $ 5,400 a month.

But Paillant, a product manager for a Silicon Valley software company, lost his job early in the pandemic. His roommate too. Together they now owe $ 43,804.72 in rent.

“I was stuck in my luxury apartment,” said Paillant, who stayed to avoid a fee to cancel his lease but has since moved to West Oakland. He hopes to negotiate a repayment plan with his former landlords, but Paillant knows that he won’t get his old life back anytime soon. “Now I have to collect this money. My life feels like a movie. “

According to surveys by the Census Bureau, more than one in seven California renters was late on rent payments late last month. And even with a nationwide eviction moratorium and a relief from the federal and state governments when it comes to renting, some formerly well paid …

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