Landlords are Encouraged to Think Creatively as 28 Million Americans Face Eviction

Article originally posted on HERE on July 24, 2020
Sen. Kamala Harris joined the movement to address the housing crisis in America. The California Democrat introduced the Relief Act, which would ban evictions and foreclosures for a year for tenants and homeowners.

This comes on the heels of a May survey by the American Apartment Owners Association that found nearly 60% of landlords said their tenants are unable to pay rent because of the coronavirus and 80% said they’re willing to work with these renters.

“We made it pretty clear to our landlords that people aren’t just suddenly going to be able to afford to pay back everything they owe on one day,” said Alexandra Alvarado, the association’s director of marketing and education. “So it doesn’t make sense to create a plan that isn’t realistic.”

She said landlords could use a lease guaranty to help shield against nonpayment of rent or damages.

“We call it a security deposit alternative,” Alvarado said. “It allows people to not have to pay a full security deposit. And then, you know, the landlord is protected for thousands of dollars just in case something happens down the road. It is a small fee that the tenant has to pay to get it, but it is definitely less than what a security deposit would be.”

While deferring rent payments is helpful for those impacted by the virus, it could have broader and longer-term effects.

“The rent itself has ripple effects for the entire community,” says Emily Benfer, a visiting professor of law at Wake Forest University. “When the rent isn’t paid, the mortgage isn’t paid, property taxes go unpaid, employees are unpaid, conditions that needed repairs are delayed. And the entire community ends up suffering — from the school system to services that the community provides to residents.”

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