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My Tenants Tell Me They Cannot Pay The Rent Due To COVID-19 – What Should I Do Next?


On March 16, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order allowing local jurisdictions to enact eviction protections for renters that experience substantial financial hardships as a result of a tenant’s medical expenses, childcare, loss of wages, layoffs or reduction of hours relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  Following the Governor’s order, cities like Los Angeles, Oxnard, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Camarillo and many others have issued executive orders or have passed ordinances barring certain residential evictions.

So, what should you do if a renter tells you that he or she do not want to pay their rent?  Here are a few ways to approach this delicate and challenging issue:

1. Communicate With Your Renter:

First, communicate with your renter. Empathize with them and let he or she know how you feel about these unprecedented circumstances.  Explain that all of us are in the same situation and because you want to ensure you can continue to provide them with a safewell-maintained home, that would be impossible without receiving the rent you depend on to maintain the building and to support your own family.

2. Offer Deferment Of Rent…

Next, when necessary, consider offering a full or partial deferment of rent. But let your renter know any reduced or deferred rent is not forgiven rent, and that they will have to repay you.