What Should a Landlord Do If a Tenant Is Unable to Pay Rent Because of Covid19?
The Coronavirus Crisis Raises Many Unprecedented Questions and Potential Legal Issues. Landlords, Tenants, Among Others, Should Obtain Professional Legal Advice and Carefully Review Concerns. Frustratingly, Without Prior Cases to Follow the Law Will Be Unclear For Many Circumstances.
A Helpful Guide For How to Address Various Legal Issues Affecting Residential Tenancies Due to Covid-19
Covid19 is an unprecedented crisis that brings personal health, security challenges, and legal concerns, into the forefront many areas of life as well as business including relations between landlords and tenants. Various legal issues involve rent payment difficulty due to the unexpected unemployment or reduced employment of many people who are struggling with financial troubles. Also fodder for conflicts is the issue of whether landlords should outright refrain from performing inspections or showings during this time or what precautions are reasonable. Additionally, concerns abound for maintenance including sterilization of everything from door knobs, entry key pads, among other things, are heightened including issues regarding whether the bar is now raised for the responsibility to perform proper maintenance as is legally 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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