NYC landlord tells tenants in 18 buildings to skip April rent

A New York City landlord told tenants in 18 of his buildings not to worry about April rent payments as the city grapples with a pandemic that has left record numbers of people unemployed. 

Mario Salerno, a Brooklyn landlord, left a notice on his 200 tenants’ doors on Monday saying: “Due to the recent pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19 affecting all of us, please note I am waiving rent for the month for April,” according to local media.

Salerno, a native of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, told an NBC affiliate that he did it out of concern for the neighborhood’s health. He told another local outlet he’s also amping up sanitation services for common areas in his properties. 

“For me, it was more important for people’s health and worrying about who could put food on whose table,” Salerno said. “I say don’t worry about paying me, worry about your neighbor and worry about your family.” 

“God is good to me and we’re successful, and I’m just really concerned about everyone’s health,” he added

Kaitlyn Guteski, one of Salerno’s tenants who has been out of work since the hair salon she owns was shut down, described Salerno as a “Superman.”

In New York, the epicenter of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., state lawmakers are working on a bill that would suspend rent payments for citizens and businesses who became unemployed as a result of the pandemic. 

Like several other states, New York has issued an eviction moratorium, which protects tenants from immediate eviction but doesn’t protect them from the consequences of accumulating unpaid rent, unlike some mortgage owners, who have received grace periods on their payments. 

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), called for a rent freeze in the city, saying the crisis is “only comparable to the Great Depression.”

Tags Bill de Blasio

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