What Should a Landlord Do If a Tenant Is Unable to Pay Rent Because of Coronavirus?
Frustratingly, Without Prior Reference Cases the Law Will Be Unclear For Many Circumstances. The Coronavirus Crisis Raises Unprecedented Legal Issues. Landlords, Tenants, Among Others, Should Obtain Professional Legal Advice and Carefully Review the Available, Although Limited, Information.
Understanding Solutions For Landlord and Tenant Issues Arising Due to Covid19
The Covid19 Crisis brings unprecedented health, safety, and legal concerns to the forefront in many areas and the landlord and tenant relationship is without exception. Legal issues such as delayed payment of rent due to the sudden lay off of hundreds of thousands of people who are now financially struggling as well as landlords who are equally affected is currently a very troubling issue. Additionally, whether a landlord should refrain from performing inspections or showings out of respect and consideration for the health and safety fears of tenants raises legal issues without a clear answer. Furthermore, the need for extra-special attention to sterilization of common areas and the duty of a landlord to provide premises raises the bar on the responsibility for performance of maintenance as required of the landlord.
Special Concerns Involving Covid-19
Difficult risk management questions, many of which pose a Catch-22, that may lead to troubling legal issues include, among other things:
- Whether a landlord should negotiate an affordable rent payment plan;
- Whether a tenant should make best efforts to avoid accruing rent arrears;
- Whether a landlord should issue an N4 - Non-Payment of Rent form to create paper trail; and
- Whether a landlord is responsible for extra-special maintenance services within common areas;
- Whether showings of tenanted units should be halted due to distancing and isolation needs.
These are just a few of the issues that landlords and tenants are now contending with and need to cautiously and compassionately address through respectful communication.
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