Letter: Renters Need Relief

Tenants late paying rent for pandemic-related causes are protected from eviction until January by a CDC order issued Tuesday. Photo by Josh Kurtz

Today is the first of April, for some it’s been the beginning of a new month, April Fools Day, and for renters it’s the date when the month’s rent is due. While evictions are currently on pause, rent payments are still being assessed by property owners and management companies.

On average, renters pay between 30%-33% of their total income on rent, and with so many people having been either laid off or furloughed during COVID-19, many of them will find themselves with a heavy burden once the evictions are lifted, when they will be forced to pay for the missed month(s). We can expect to see an increase in our homeless population if our elected officials fail to act to establish a rental relief fund or take executive action to pause rent.

I suggest that we use the federal aid to establish a rental relief fund, because property management companies which are essential must still manage and take care of emergency maintenance needs of their tenants and will need rental payments to continue to keep their employees on payroll.

If they go under we will see another industry with many employees filing for unemployment benefits and many tenants may wind up living in uninhabitable and unsafe conditions. I’m asking that our elected officials partner with the private sector, churches with large budgets, and nonprofits to work together to get relief for renters.  #SaveRenters

— SEAN MICHAEL WILSON

The writer is a community advocate, property management professional and government solutions/business development consultant in Prince George’s County.