Landlords and property managers must be very cautious about how they approach tenants with unpaid rent. The governor’s proclamation of April 16, 2020, prohibits treating unpaid rent as an enforceable debt or obligation, “where the non-payment of rent was a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and occurred on or after February 29, 2020.” This includes billing or invoicing the tenant, reporting unpaid rent to credit bureaus or withholding any portion of a tenant deposit.
These actions are allowed only if the landlord can prove that the tenant was offered and refused or accepted and failed to comply with, “a re-payment plan that was reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of that resident.”
Our expectation is that the burden of proof that a “reasonable” payment plan was offered will be on the landlord.
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Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.