The shelter in place order has created confusion for many. If you are a landlord or tenant, you may have questions particular to your situation. Hopefully, the following information will be helpful to you.
Landlords: You are in uncharted territory and I’m sure you want to be empathetic to your ten-ants, however, it is important to protect your rights. If a tenant is unable to pay rent, address the situation directly with them and consider providing options for delayed payment. Please ensure agreements are in writing and signed by all parties. If you are unable to come to terms with your tenant, you could attempt to enforce your rights under the lease, but keep in mind that enforce-ments may be more difficult with the governmental stance on the necessity of the shelter in place orders. If it is a commercial rental, direct the tenant to their bank to obtain information on a loan under the CARES Act. There are several loans available to businesses of all sizes, the most popular of which is the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP), to seek credit thru their banker.*
For commercial tenants: If needed, you can ask for a waiver or forgiveness of rent. Keep in mind that it is highly unlikely this will be granted. If your landlord is not amenable to modified terms, or is unwilling to negotiate, should you elect to not pay rent, you should send a written notification of the decision with an explanation of the impact of the COVID-19 virus and shelter orders on your ability to meet the original rental terms.
For individuals: If you own your home, many of the mortgage lenders are offering deferral pro-grams for mortgage payments, as are many utility providers. That same premise may apply if you are currently renting a residence. Many landlords, if they are able, are offering rent deferral options. Also, check with your insurance carrier as many are offering discounts and refunds.
The best thing to do in all situations is to communicate.
*As of today, the funds for the PPP have been fully committed. Efforts are being made by legis-lators to gain additional funding. We recommend that any business who has not received funds to contact their banker with a request for information on how to access loan proceeds in the event additional funding becomes available.
Disclaimer: This information does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting or other professional services by Pete Benenati or Benenati Law Firm, PC. This information is not intended to create or provide an attorney-client relationship. Although care is taken to present the material accurately, any implied or actual warranties as to any materials herein are hereby disclaimed along with any liability with respect thereto.