Larry Crites. a landlord for 48 apartments in Seattle, is concerned when he hears the words “rent strike.”
“There is a lot of talk about supporting small businesses. But that’s not just restaurants, that’s [small landlords] too,” he said. “I can’t apply for federal aid because I have no direct employees. But I do employ people as contractors—roofers, plumbers, painters, cleaners.”
Renters across the country are finding it harder to pay rent. Landlords who want to forgive or reduce rent say they face a dilemma: With more people staying home, apartments experience more wear and tear, meaning more needs to be fixed.
“You can’t say, ‘We’re all in this together—except for landlords,’” said Joe Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association in New York.
Rent also pays the property taxes that support local government services, from first responders and garbage pickup to transit service and road repairs.
Crites sent a letter to his tenants in March telling them to reach out to him if they needed help with April rent. Ten took him up on his offer, and he was able to give them a discount. “I didn’t have anyone ask for a break for May,” he said. “But my offer still stands.”
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