Businesses have been shut down across the nation, many American workers are facing furloughs and layoffs due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The result is that a significant portion of the working population has lost part or all of its income. Many Americans have had to have the difficult conversation with their landlords because they are unable to pay next month’s rent.
As of the first week of April, as many as 16.8 million Americans have filed for unemployment. Additionally, nearly one third of American renters had not paid April rent as of the 5th of the month according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Across the nation counties, cities, and states have enacted eviction moratoriums. These laws essentially protect renters from evictions due to non-payment of rent resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.That being said, in many situations landlords are not being punished for serving evictions; instead, the law serve as a defense for tenants in the event they end up in an eviction action in the court system.
Nationwide, landlords are responding differently to the Coronavirus pandemic according to a report published by USA Today. While some landlords have lowered rent across the board, others are working out payment plans or other flexible terms, and still others are issuing three-day notices anyway in spite of the moratorium. For a good amount of these scenarios, however, communication between renter and landlord is key to keeping the relationships.
Keeping Tenants Safe
It is true that landlords need to properly deal with the difficulties many tenants may be having in making rent due to furloughs, unemployment or underemployment as a result of the pandemic. They also, however, need to ensure their properties are safe and try as best they can to prevent an outbreak.
Some tips for landlords to keep their buildings and tenants safe include:
- Use education as a defense: let tenants know to wash their hands frequently, ask them to wear a mask if not feeling well, and seek medical attention right away if they think they may contracted the virus;
- Keep your tenants informed: letting tenants know that management is aware of the virus and is taking the necessary and reasonable steps — and let them know what these steps are in writing; and
- Provide reliable resources: information on how tenants can protect themselves and their families from the virus from credible sources — like the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC) should be made available.
The above steps will not only help protect landlords and tenants from the virus, but can also shield landlords from lawsuits that may arise due to Coronavirus.
For more information, please contact us.