Landlords explain why not paying rent affects the whole community

Posted at 12:21 AM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 07:51:00-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — If you're renting your home, an executive order from Gov. Jared Polis protects you from eviction through the end of the month. But skipping payments could still be risky and put your landlord in a tough spot.

Think of rental housing as an ecosystem, where a lot of people depend on your rent money. For instance, more than half of your rent typically pays for property taxes, which goes toward helping teachers and first responders. Then there are landlords, who say they have little options when it comes to recouping that loss if the money stops coming.

While landlords can qualify for mortgage forbearance, they're still responsible for paying that money back in bulk within six months.

Julie Hernandez, a landlord who founded L & J Home Improvement, says in her case, 25% of her tenants have stopped paying rent and she wishes there were more resources out there.

"It's not right for landlords to have to carry the burden of the community," she pointed out.

Just like an ecosystem disrupted, when rent payments stop it ends up affecting a lot of people.

"When residents don't pay their rent, we can't pay our employees who have families and maybe mortgage payments or rent of their own," Michelle Lyng, a landlord and spokesperson for the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado explained. "That could put us in jeopardy of foreclosure which would mean that location may not be available for housing at all."

Lyng also pointed out if you have an eviction notice on your record, you may find it more difficult to find housing later on. In addition, future employers would see this record if they run a background check.

So to avoid this, and if you have the means, try to work out a payment plan with your landlord.

"Maybe they don't have the full, $500 or $1000 or whatever they might owe, but they can definitely make payments just to show good faith," Hernandez explained. "Because we do know some people are struggling."

As a renter, if you are in a dire financial situation, there are housing assistance programs you can apply to.

You can access those resources here.