Rental Housing - Need to Know
Renters Guidance During COVID-19
The Utah Apartment Association (UAA), whose members consist of owners and managers of over 110,000 rental dwellings across the State of Utah, is very concerned about the public and economic health of our community. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for Utahns to overcome. We are currently engaged as an industry to fulfill our part in this collective effort by providing quality rental housing, in a safe and clean environment, while also assisting with tenant’s economic and health concerns.
In a world with increasing concern and fear, our homes have become our most important sanctuaries. As a renter there has been a lot of misinformation about how your rental home will be impacted by COVID-19. In effort to try and support the rental housing community we have released this guide; with information about what steps a renter should take if they find themselves financially impacted by COVID-19. We hope that the following outline will assist with understanding the situation:
What are the rules? The State of Utah has issued a moratorium on eviction proceedings for non payment of rent until May 15, 2020. However, this rule only applies in specific circumstances.
- First - a tenant must have been current on all rent/fees/utilities on March 31, 2020
- Second - a tenant must be able to document that they have experienced: a loss of wages or job as a result of COVID-19, has undergone self isolation/quarantine, or has tested positive for COVID-19
- Third - this order does not apply to other types of evictions (end of term, compliance, etc.)
- Forth - this order does not require, create, or imply rent forgiveness. It is still the obligation of the tenant have all rents and fees paid/current on May 15, 2020. We encourage all tenants to work with their landlords in making payments as where possible.
Communicate with your property owner or manager. this is a critical first step that some renters fear. Open dialog with your owner/manager allows them to take steps to assist you in your current situation. It also allows you to find out their policy for assisting you with rent.
Be prepared for your owner/manager to have a policy. If your landlord is assisting affected tenants, this policy will likely require documentation or proof that you have suffered financial harm due to COVID-19. They way also have an agreement for you to sign outlining how that rent will be paid in the future.
Keep communication open and try to find a Win/Win. In trying to work with your landlord we recommend that both parties are flexible and considerate in trying to accommodate each other. Collaborate on alternative options like extended grace periods or pay once a week options.
Take advantage of financial assistance that may exists. There are many organizations out there that assist with rent, COVID-19 impacts, and employment. Many of these can be found at coronavirus.utah.gov. You may also be eligible for unemployment assistance, SBA loans (for small business owners) and direct government payments in stimulus packages. These resources are being provided to assist individuals with housing payments, bills, and other necessary expenses.
Stay healthy and engaged. Although we call it Social Distancing, we should have called it physical distancing. We encourage you to stay socially engaged while being physically distant. Reach out to friends and family, get enough exercise, practice good sanitation habits around your unit, eat healthy, and make sure your mental health is also being taken care of.
As we come together as a community, we are confident that we will overcome this pandemic. As turbulent as this feels - Utahns are creative and tenacious. We encourage residents to be open and honest with their housing providers. If you have any questions, please contact us.