In these times of uncertainty, it can be hard to know where the next toilet paper roll will come from, let alone next month’s rent. That’s especially true for people who are dependent on jobs that have been shut down or outsourced.
With people being told to stay in their homes and avoid the spread of the coronavirus, some are worrying about even having a home to stay in — but for at least one generous landlord’s tenants, that problem has been solved.
Nathan Nichols of South Portland, Maine, has two rental units and six tenants, according to WLBZ-TV. He’s decided to waive the April rent for his tenants, and he posted his rationale on Facebook along with an invitation for other landlords of means to follow suit.
“COVID19 is going to cause serious financial hardship for service and hourly workers around the country,” he shared on Monday. “I own a two unit in South Portland and all of my tenants are in this category.
“Because I have the good fortune of being able to afford it and the privilege of being in the owner class, I just let them know I would not be collecting rent in April. I ask any other landlords out there to take a serious look at your own situation and consider giving your tenants some rent relief as well.”
A South Portland landlord is not collecting rent from his tenants for the month of April due to the coronavirus. He posted his decision on Facebook in hopes other landlords think about doing the same thing. His post has more than 20,000 shares @newscentermaine pic.twitter.com/A3xnftpz0L
— Roslyn Flaherty (@roslyn_flaherty) March 18, 2020
In an update on his post, he mentioned that many landlords told him they’d love to extend the same pay grace that he had, but that they were just not in a position to do so.
“Apparently, mortgage lenders are providing relief to those who qualify, but you have to reach out to them,” Nichols said. “Talk to your tenants and find out their situation, then talk to your lender and ask for assistance. Comment if you have any success!”
The post got over 24,000 shares and over a thousand comments, with many people commending him, wishing they could do the same or wishing their landlords were as gracious.
“If I could inspire other landlords to do the same, I certainly didn’t expect it to blow up with the way it did,” Nichols said, according to WLBZ.
A couple of days later, he got some encouraging news in the form of a comment.
“Two days ago I posted that, in order to mitigate economic hardship caused by COVID-19, I would not be collecting rent in April from two units that I own,” Nichols wrote in a recap. “I also called on other landlords to look at their situations and see if it was in their power to help their own tenants. …
“Of more than 500 comments, almost all of them are words of thanks or praise for the kindness of my act.
“Every so often, however, there is a comment from a landlord who would like to help their tenants, but simply can’t, or from a tenant who wishes their landlord would help them, but doubts they will.
“To these people, I say: I don’t know your situation and I don’t want to imply that a landlord who isn’t forgoing rent is somehow a bad person. And then, finally, about an hour ago, this:”
The comment was from a woman who was apparently also a landlord, and she wrote that she would “be following suit.” Nichols seemed happy to have made such a difference.
While not everyone is in a position to give so generously or in this particular way, Nichols’ kindness is a good example of the practical but essential ways we can help each other during these trying times.
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