BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For many people, May 1st is a looming date. It’s when rent is due- and for those who have been out of work for nearly seven weeks, coming up with the money can be daunting.
“At the end of the day, you buy rental properties to make money,” said Sean Mattrey who is a Real Estate Agent and owns several rental properties.
Mattrey says he primarily rents to college students, but lately, he says many have been unable to afford their rent due to COVID-19 complications.
“I have some tenants where the kids pay the rent. I have some where the parents pay the rent. I had one guy reach out and tell me he lost his job because he is not an essential worker,” he said.
Mattrey says he has gone above and beyond at time to keep an open line of communication with his tenants, realizing everyone is falling on hard times.
“Make your tenant feel comfortable,” he said.
Buffalo Attorney Bob Friedman has been practicing tenant-landlord law for 41 years in Western New York. He agrees that open communication is the best way to work together during this time of uncertainty.
“Document how much is owed and what the payment arrangements will be,” he said. “It would be in the best interest of both to spell out a rent deferral agreement as to why the tenant can’t pay his or her rent.”
At the end of March, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a 90 day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants until at least June 30. While the courts are currently closed, Friedman says if an tenant incurs any type of harassment from a landlord- like being locked out for not paying or removing a renter’s belongings, the landlord can be arrested and an emergency court hearing will be held.
“Tenants can also sue for three times their damages,” said Friedman.
Friedman says despite everything being on hold, including some people’s finances, landlords still have a responsibility to continue to properly care for their property during this time.
“Regardless of the situation”