Options for renters going through hardship from COVID-19

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The city of Fresno encourages all renters to reach out to their landlords if they can’t afford to pay their rent on time for the month of April due to hardship from the coronavirus. 

Hilary Leffler ia the Vice President of Residential Management for Liberty Property Management. She said their company wants to work with their tenants and the owners in whatever way possible.

“The last thing that we want is for anyone to lose their housing,” said Leffler.

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Leffler said they are also following Gavin Newsom’s guidelines and waiving late fees along with not holding evictions due to an absent payment for the month of April stemmed from COVID-19.

“Our situation is very fluid because we are asking for documented evidence,” said Leffler. “Most people are saying,  ‘hey I can make a partial payment for April. We are just being really flexible.”

Recently Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters directly affected by COVID-19.

This does not cover renters who have missed payments in previous months and does not cover tenants who will miss April’s rent for non-COVID-19 reasons. 

The city of Fresno also has something similar in its executive orders protecting all renters that are facing non-payment during the state of emergency.

Mark Standriff with the City of Fresno said every situation can be different and the city is trying to be as helpful as possible with their ordinance.

“A rent moratorium and you will have six months to pay back the actual back rent,” said Standriff. “The ordinance also says renters can not be charged any late fees any penalties or interest because of the rent that’s differed.”

Again this only covers those directly impacted by COVID-19. Standriff said the ordinance did not freeze rent and mortgage payments but rather give people some options. 

“That money is going to be due eventually but the good news is your inability to pay this month has been understood and appreciated and their are entities whether it’s the state government or more important the folks that you owe the money too that are willing to work with you hopefully,” said Standriff. 

Every property management company has different policies. Leffler said she wants to work with their tenants making this process as easy as possible so both parties are happy. She suggest reaching out to the landlord or property manager as soon as a renter knows they can not make the rent. 

“The best thing for tenants to do at this point is to contact their managers and show documented evidence of their hardship,” said Leffler. “So, that could be like they have been laid off, they have unemployment benefits, they are a small business owner and they are applying for a small business loan.”

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