‘This is scary’: Many landlords are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic too

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many tenants are struggling right now -- They can’t pay rent. And, when the courts start hearing eviction cases again, they could be out of a home.

Some landlords are hurting as well, ones who rely on rent for their entire income.

Shondala Kelly told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke she has an adult daughter with disabilities. She takes care of her full-time and she rents out four homes in Charlotte. That’s her job.

“That’s my income,” Kelly said. “Two of them paid on the 5th and one owes two months actually.”

Normally, she would evict tenants who don’t pay and get new renters who will. But, the courts aren’t allowed to hear eviction cases until later this month. In Mecklenburg County’s case, the court determined it won’t begin those trials until July, at the earliest.

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“My tenants may pay. But I can’t even file eviction. That’s usually the recourse I have,” Kelly said. “They are not bad tenants. They’re not causing me problems. I realize that the COVID virus is here. It’s affecting all of us. Not just them.”

Kelly doesn’t qualify for unemployment or a PPP loan. Plus, one of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders says landlords have to give tenants at least six months to pay rent.

“This is scary. Six months? That would knock me out,” Kelly said.

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Jim Surane is a lawyer who represents landlords. He told Jason tenants aren’t paying rent 30 to 40 percent more often these days.

“I represent hundreds of landlords. They’re having a real problem making ends meet,” Surane said.

There is the CARES Act. That’s providing relief for some landlords.

They can defer their own mortgage payments, stay out of foreclosure. But, that doesn’t apply to all landlords.