In New York City, things have come to a near standstill and one landlord has decided that his tenants should not have to worry about paying rent for the month of April according to the New York Times.
Brooklyn landlord, Mario Salerno posted a sign on his buildings that read, “STAY SAFE, HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS & WASH YOUR HANDS!!!”
Salerno owns 18 apartment buildings and has hundreds of tenants who he believes should not have to stress about their payments amid the ongoing pandemic.
The recent hit to the economy has left a large number of the millions of renters in New York in a tough situation as many live paycheque to paycheque.
Landlords throughout New York are worried as they know that tenants may not be able to make payments. Surveys conducted last month predicted that about 40 percent of New Yorkers would not be able to make rent for April.
The effect could cause similar trouble with landlords when it comes to paying their own bills, including water, sewer and building taxes.
In an interview held on Thursday, Salerno noted that he was not worried about losing the rental payments, adding that he had between 200 and 300 tenants in total.
By cancelling April’s rent, Salerno is most likely losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“My concern is everyone’s health,” said the 59-year-old, “I told them just to look out for your neighbor and make sure that everyone has food on their table.”
Tenants noted that Salerno has been a model landlord long before this incident adding that emergencies are responded to almost immediately.
“You don’t see that, especially in a landlord-tenant relationship in New York City,” one tenant said. “He’s amazing.”
“It has alleviated a huge amount of stress that I have been having with the unemployment system in the state.”
Salerno also runs Salerno Auto Body Shop during the day. The shop was opened by his father in 1959.
He began buying vacant lots in the area in the 1980s and started turning 18 of them into apartment buildings in the late 1990s.
Salerno said he doesn’t prefer working on peoples vehicles during the pandemic but he feels it is important.
“Do I really want to do a simple oil change and a brake job?” he said. “No, but I have a lot of doctors and nurses who need their cars serviced.”