As the first of the month draws near and many of us have been laid off or given reduced hours, we cannot afford to bear the brunt of financial loss with no certainty of what is to come. This letter is a template to help you reach a reasonable compromise with your landlord (which may vary from paying nothing to creating a long-term payment plan, depending on your situation). The goal of this response – and encouraging other neighbors/tenants to do the same – is not to ‘stiff’ landlords or pass the burden of economic injury, but rather to build momentum for a larger solution without sacrificing the near term needs of our livelihood, families, and future.
I recognize that this letter does not capture the various relationships we have with our landlords – from a best friend renting you a unit in their duplex to a faceless development corporation. As always you are advised to use judgement in modifying and submitting this letter. Many of us as tenants are not equipped to confront our landlords or have honest conversations with them. I hope this template serves as a small tool to give you the confidence and security needed to broach this subject.
At the back of your mind, you should feel some sense of security that evictions are halted and you are less likely to be penalized for trying to protect your finances.
NOTE – none of the current government actions relieves your duty to ultimately pay and your landlord will understand this. Best to convey your commitments to staying and returning to normal. It will serve your interests best if you can demonstrate you’ve made efforts to stay afloat – while it may not be the business of your landlord, it will likely help your case to demonstrate how proactive you’ve been – that you’ve applied for unemployment, cash assistance, etc.