How Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Landowners and Rental Property Owners?
The state of every business sector has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown measures. Of these, the changes faced by landowners are some of the most pressing to get to grips with.
At this point, it goes without saying that the reason behind the community quarantines is to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread further than it already has. Because the majority of people were asked to stay within the confines of their homes, this caused various business sectors to halt. Gyms are closed, schools and universities have suspended classroom lectures, restaurants operated at 50% capacity or not at all. These are all economy-draining measures that are as necessary as they are difficult to accept. And while it’s true that almost all industries took a significant hit during the pandemic, one business sector that is easily overlooked is that of the commercial and rental property sector.
We all need a place to stay during the pandemic. But what about the people who don’t own a house? How do they pay rent or mortgage, considering the fact that most jobs are currently suspended? The law also takes this into consideration by putting in place the following measures:
Evictions Are Temporarily Stopped
Most states issued an emergency order to temporarily cease property evictions. However, this does not mean that tenants get free lodging. This order merely means that courts will not hear eviction cases while the order is in effect. Tenants will still have to pay rent even if they cannot be evicted for nonpayment.
Federal Protection For Residential Mortgage Loans
Another point of concern for many members of the citizenry comes in the form of foreclosures in light of being unable to pay for their mortgages. It’s a scary thought to consider, especially when losing your home during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the worst things that can happen. However, citizens need not worry as while the Federal Government cannot interfere with the obligations between private parties, it can suspend foreclosures for any federally-held mortgages.
Utility Charges Are Temporarily Halted
In a similar manner, many states have also halted electricity, water, and sewage shutoffs until the state’s disaster declaration expires. However, this suspension on utility shut offs does not take effect automatically. Customers need to contact their utility provider in order to use this measure.
Measures Against Lockouts
Let’s not forget that there may be some landowners that opt to physically bar tenants from entering a rental property. It should be known that your landlord cannot keep you from accessing your home during this pandemic, even when the lease indicates that the landlord may change the locks. When they do change the locks, they are required to give their tenants the key to the unit.
Should you experience a landlord trying to forcefully evict you during these difficult times, it’s important that you get in contact with someone knowledgeable in Property Law. Even when you’re able to attain knowledge from property law courses online, it’s best to augment this knowledge with the training and experience of a lawyer who specialises in this field of the law.
Even as we endure these difficult times, we should never forget that the law, too, endures. Even during upheavals such as this pandemic, the law rules over the land, and it protects the citizenry from undue cruelty and mistreatment.