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Landlords, lenders brace for nationwide rent strike
Coronavirus clobbering commercial landlords as businesses skip rent: Real estate expert
Marcus & Millichap CEO Hessam Nadji discusses the impact of businesses refusing to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s the first of the month and the rent is due. But, tenants in the nation’s biggest cities are striking because they simply can’t afford to pay the rent, as many have been left without jobs due to economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
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More than 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of people who’ve lost their jobs since states issued mandatory stay-at-home orders to 30.2 million.
APRIL RENT NOT PAID BY NEARLY A THIRD OF US APARTMENT TENANTS
Tenants who are now jobless are being forced to choose between paying rent and feeding their families. Strikers are hoping to send a message en masse to government officials that will persuade them to cancel all rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the pandemic. Simply pausing payments until a later date is not going to work, they say, and lawmakers are the only ones with the ability to make a change.
“The United States Congress and President Trump have the capacity to do this,” said Sean Weber, the creator of a petition on Change.org that calls for the federal government to provide mortgage assistance directly to loan agencies. “If they don’t – well that's the better question – what will happen? What happens to all of these banks and lenders and renters when this crisis worsens?”
Weber, a resident of Santa Clarita, California, said it’s an unprecedented move, but a necessary one, and is also calling for a 90-day forgiveness program for all renters and landlords that owe payments on commercial and residential properties, so that everyone from renters to loaners are covered in the interim.
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Indeed, total payment relief seems to be the universal call that is uniting tenants and landlords alike.
“We don’t want to ever have to pay back the rent we’ve lost because the reality is that this economic crisis is going to last far longer than the public health crisis,” Cea Weaver the coordinator for Housing Justice for All, a New York-based group of tenants and housing activists, told FOX Business.