Who Should Pay the Rent During a Pandemic?

Rent strikes and calls for rent cancellation proliferate across the country.


May's rent is due, and many are refusing to pay.

Across the country, tenants are staging rent strikes to protest what they feel is an unfair obligation to pay rent at a time when so many have been put out of work by the COVID-19 outbreak and related economic shutdowns.

Take the Tivoli Gardens building in Northwest D.C. One rent strike organizer there, the Washington City Paper reports, is a restaurant owner whose business has been shuttered during the pandemic. That obviously makes paying bills difficult.

On the other side of the dispute is the building's owner, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. The foundation uses the income it gets from Tivoli Gardens and other rental properties to fund grants to local charities, including a number of housing aid groups who will no doubt see their resources strained by the current crisis.

Perhaps it's incumbent on a well-endowed charitable foundation to give its tenants a break during these tough economic times. Perhaps it's incumbent on tenants who can afford to pay rent to a charity to do so.

It's one complicated situation among many in a country that was already suffering from a housing affordability crunch before the pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak has raised difficult questions about how to keep everyone housed during a public health emergency, and who should have to pay to make that happen.

No one denies the scale of the problem. Nearly a third of the country's renters didn't pay their full rent on time in April (although 92 percent paid at least some of it eventually). The situation in May is expected to be worse, as government relief starts to ebb and jobless numbers keep climbing. Some 30 million people have applied for unemployment benefits since March.

The dire economic situation has sparked protests and rent strikes. The hope among activists is to convince city councils, state legislatures, and ultimately Congress to cancel rents nationwide for the duration of the crisis.

Close to 200,000 people have pledged not to pay their rent in May, according to a national rent strike campaign being organized by a coalition of advocacy groups. Media outlets from CityLab to Vice to The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal are full of stories about tenants who either can't or won't pay their rent.

These stories inevitably contrast unpayable rent with other pressing bills.

"Medication is important to me. Food is important. Rent is important….I just do the math. There is no way I can pay rent," one tenant told The Atlantic. "I have to choose between paying rent or buying food for my family," another told Vice. Gen described one rent strike organizer as having "little in savings, and what she does have she needs for necessities like food or her health [care] premium."

Normally when you don't pay your rent, you get evicted. But the pandemic has prompted many cities and most states to suspend evictions and foreclosures. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress in late March, also suspends evictions and foreclosures at properties that have a federally backed mortgage.

There's a public health rationale to these moratoriums: It's hard for people to shelter in place when they're being kicked out of their shelter. But there's also a simple matter of opportunity.

"If you said, let's go loot grocery stores, they shouldn't make us pay for food in a crisis, you could loot the grocery store once, but they wouldn't restock the shelves for you," says Salim Furth, a researcher at George Mason University's Mercatus Center. Landlords, by contrast, would "have a lot of trouble withdrawing their building from circulation, and for no real benefit."

That has given activists and like-minded lawmakers an opening to push for more radical policies.

In late March, a group of state senators in New York introduced legislation that would cancel rents for tenants who have lost income because of the coronavirus. Property owners who lose income because of the legislation could in turn have some of their mortgage debt forgiven.

City councils from Seattle to Minneapolis have passed resolutions demanding that state and federal officials enact rent and mortgage forgiveness.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.) introduced a bill in April that would cancel rents and mortgages for everyone nationwide for the duration of the national emergency that President Donald Trump declared on March 13. Property owners and lenders could apply for government support to cover their lost income. Given the stringent conditions Omar's bill would place on these relief funds—for example, landlords would have to give tenants a 10 percent equity stake in their buildings—it's difficult to imagine many people accessing them.

For a lot of rent strike organizers, the movement to cancel rent is an ideological one.

For more moderate proponents of rent cancellation, the idea is to forestall a housing crisis once the immediate shutdown passes. Eviction moratoriums allow tenants to stay in their homes, even if they've failed to pay their rent. What they don't do is relieve the obligation to pay rent or mortgage bills.

"Both property owners and renters are going to be vulnerable to foreclosure and eviction respectively after the crisis is over. They're not going to have enough money to pay missed payments that've accumulated during the pandemic," says Maryland Del. Vaughn Stewart (D–Montgomery County).

Last week, Stewart was one of some 40 state lawmakers to sign onto a letter to Maryland's Republican governor, Larry Hogan, asking him to waive rent and mortgage payments.

The most common criticism of rent forgiveness policies is that they just shift those housing costs onto landlords—or, if they're coupled with mortgage forgiveness, onto banks.

Stewart is pretty candid in acknowledging this.

"The libertarian critique of this idea, that you're not really solving the problem, you're just taking the problem and shifting the burden onto a different actor along the housing supply chain, I actually think that's right," he tells Reason, agreeing that rent and mortgage forgiveness will ultimately end up being eaten by lenders who could suffer liquidity problems.

But that's preferable to leaving renters to their own devices, he argues, given that financial institutions are in a good position to get federal bailouts.

"A poor renter in my district who has lost their job and is now delivering groceries for Instacart, they are going to be worse at lobbying Congress for a bailout than Bank of America," says Stewart. "As a result, we should put the burden on the party most likely to have their voice heard on Capitol Hill."

Mortgage forgiveness would only go part of the way toward compensating landlords for lost rental income. They'd still be on the hook for property taxes, maintenance costs, and, in many cases, utilities.

Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith has argued that that's ultimately OK, given that landlords have earned outsized returns on their properties compared to the risks they've taken on. "Letting landlords take a hit from coronavirus, as long as it doesn't hurt banks, could therefore be the optimal policy," he writes in a recent column. "It would represent a rare loss for a class of wealthy people who are used to not taking losses."

Smith acknowledges that if "property companies fail, banks that lend to these companies will have to write off billions of dollars in loans." But "the government could avert this by bailing out the banks and letting property companies simply fold," he writes.

There's a cold practical logic to shifting the nation's housing costs onto banks in expectation of bailouts, says Furth.

"There's this idea, not unfounded, that the federal government will pay for anything" right now, he says. "We're running a really interesting experiment. If the money really is free and the world will pay us for the privilege of borrowing our money, yeah, why not print a few billion dollars?"

But that's risky, he says. If interest rates go up and budget constraints turn out to be real, then the government could find itself in a position of not having enough money to pay for all the obligations it's taken on. The coronavirus crisis could easily morph into a fiscal and financial crisis.

One alternative to rent cancellation would be increasing federal housing assistance. This would allow distressed renters to pay their bills while not depriving landlords or banks of expected income. The National Low Income Housing Coalition has called for Congress to pass a $100 billion package along those lines. This could do a better job of getting help to the people who are in most need right now, without the government making decisions about which contractual obligations should still apply or which interest groups should be made to bear which costs.

Stewart thinks government payments to renters would be the optimal policy, but he thinks it would have to be enacted by the federal government given the fiscal hit states have taken during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, this leads to one of the same problems as rent cancelation paired with bank bailouts: If budget constraints matter at all, then the feds are in no position to take on $100 billion in new spending right after passing a $2.3 trillion relief bill.

Even if no policies are passed at all, Furth argues, landlords have a strong incentive to work out deals with tenants affected by the pandemic.

"If I were landlord right now, I would not be so stupid as to go and evict formerly good tenants who suddenly lost their jobs. There's a very good chance that those people will have their incomes come back," he says. "There's also a very good chance that the economy is going to be weak coming out of this. And if I'm a landlord, a vacancy is my nightmare."

Fears that the post-crisis lifting of eviction moratoriums will result in waves of mass evictions are overblown, he says.

Already, many landlords have shown a willingness to work out deals with tenants. Some have said they'd cancel rent at their properties altogether. Others have offered rent reductions. In a survey conducted by the American Apartment Owners Association, 80 percent of landlords said they'd be willing to offer tenants rent forbearance.

State associations representing landlords are advising their members not to raise rent right now, and to work out payment plans with tenants.

Stewart says that leaving it to private parties to work out arrangements might work for folks with the resources and financial savvy to negotiate with their landlords. But a lot of poorer renters aren't in a position to bargain, or will be dealing with more unscrupulous landlords.

"Any strategy that relies on all parties being financially sophisticated and acting in good faith is doomed to fail given the size of the crisis," he says.

It's true some landlords won't be interested in cutting deals with tenants. Pursuing a policy of keeping everyone in their homes will nevertheless come at a huge fiscal cost—whether that money ends up going directly to renters or indirectly to banks—and will end up giving breaks not just to renters who are suffering but to renters who haven't seen a loss of income.

The ultimate solution to the current housing crunch will be the return of economic activity. Once people are going back to work and paychecks are flowing as usual, the need for emergency measures will slowly disappear.

Housing costs will remain an issue, as they were before the pandemic. That's something for city councils and state legislatures to return to working on, hopefully by repealing government restrictions on building new units.

NEXT: Trump Administration Projects 200,000 American COVID-19 Deaths by June 1

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  1. This may be a problem best left for the lessor and lessee to handle between themselves.

    1. Banks don’t want to hold property right now. They’ll work out a deal with mortgages. Landlords aren’t going to replace tenants right now. They’ll work out a deal with their current tenants. Most lenders will work out a short-term deal.

      No government or bailouts are needed. The market will solve this problem.

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        1. This guy gets it.

      2. I agree with you Leo.
        Sarcasm on.
        The problem is that if they work it out themselves, there’s nobody getting free stuff, no politicians getting votes from giving free stuff, and they miss a chance to stick it to all of those greedy rich people and evil bankers. Sarcasm off.

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  2. Who Should Pay the Rent During a Pandemic?

    The person who owes it. Shit happens, the world’s not a fair place. The sooner this lesson is learned, the quicker one is able to get on with their life.

    1. Everything is so terrible and unfair. We are all victims.

      1. And going to die.

    2. I’m not sure I understand where the world became unfair. You lived in the house all month. Why is that unfair? Is it unfair that you can’t afford it? On what planet does that argument fly?

      Not mad at you specifically but the sort of person who thinks they are entitled to a dwelling or something.

      1. It’s unfair that the government forced you to be fired. And if we are to be imprisoned by the state for “the good of society”, then it’s the responsibility of the state to pay the bill. The obvious solution is to let people go back to work. A back up solution would be to require those that are working to pay rent/mortgage and those that are not getting paid to not pay, but that’s a logistic nightmare that is ripe for a tragedy of the commons or people simply finding it more economical to be fired than work.

        1. A back up solution would be to require those that are working to pay rent/mortgage and those that are not getting paid to not pay

          Assuming we set aside “money printer go brrr” memes for a second, where do you think the money comes from when “the state” pays for it? Do you think your congressional reps are opening their own pocket books or something? Is Donald Trump going to write a personal check?

          but that’s a logistic nightmare that is ripe for a tragedy of the commons or people simply finding it more economical to be fired than work.
          Where do you think we are?

          1. Assuming we set aside “money printer go brrr” memes for a second, where do you think the money comes from when “the state” pays for it?

            Given that the federal government has operated in deficit mode for decades, the money is definitely not coming from taxpayers (at least, not living ones). It is simply fiat money, created out of thin air.

            Once we said “your grandchildren will have to pay this debt back,” but frankly and realistically, the debt is so very large that nobody will ever be paying it back. If we could even stop adding to it, that would be a miracle. It’s grown tooo large to even inflate away. We’ll struggle along under it until it crushes us, then the government will default, and we’ll start over as a nation that has no international monetary trust, and the citizens will try to pick up the pieces of their lives amidst destroyed savings and investments.

          2. Alternatively we could let 30+ million starving, unemployed people rebel, riot, and demand a socialist state at gun point.

  3. No government need get involved. This is another clear case of market superiority.

    Suppose 10% of the population cannot afford their rent or mortgage. Reality says that most landlords are not cold-blooded evicting machines and will help in some manner — postpone what is owed, reduce the rent, forgive the rent. But some tenants are jerks, and some landlords are jerks, so let’s go with 100% evictions. What happens next?

    The ordinary case of reduced demand is lower prices. A lot of people who had to settle for less and still have jobs will quit their old residence and move to the relatively upscale vacant places. This will happen at all scales, and most of the evicted people will end up in relatively less desirable places.

    Just as the evicted 10% of the population need some place to live, so do the 10% least desirable places need occupants. Landlords would rather collect some rent than none.

    Some people will still have no jobs and no income and have to crash on friends’ couches or move back in with their parents. Some landlords will have such shitty places that no one will want them; they will have to be improved or sold to be demolished and new buildings built.

    1. This is short term thinking. It is much easier for people to search for a new job if they are not living in the street. If you want the economy up and running in the shortest period of time, some sort of rent delay is a good idea. Landlords are much more likely to have savings they can lean on while the economy is ramping up again than renters. In addition, adding people homeless shelters and crowding in with relatives does not flatten the curve to allow businesses to open.

      1. I don’t want to have anything to do with tenants that can’t pay their rent. That’s all.

      2. This is short term thinking. It is much easier for people to search for a new job if they are not living in the street.

        That’s why you need to have savings, enough to see you through several months of unemployment, because shit happens.

        Taking money from people who did prepare and handing it to people who didn’t prepare is creating a moral hazard and is destructive of both society and the economy.

        If you want the economy up and running in the shortest period of time, some sort of rent delay is a good idea.

        Yeah, typical Keynesian b.s.

        In fact, it matters a great deal of how the economy starts up again, and starting it up quickly based on expropriating property owners and taxpayers, it will be worse than taking more time and letting the market work it out.

    2. where do you live? in a paragraph i will explain what happens to your neighborhood and property values if you get your wish.
      but in general landlords wil evict renters because that is what always happens. ref: 2008 recession.

  4. The person that signed the lease. End of story.

  5. “Which side are you on — people or property?” is stupid. Property doesn’t have rights; people have rights to own and control their property.

    1. Yes. They act as if landlords aren’t also people. The majority of “renters” in this country just got a big fat check from the government. That includes individuals and small businesses. If they can’t pay the rent this month, we should be asking where that money went.

      I’m guessing most landlords will work something out in the short term. It’s not like they’re going to replace their current tenant easily right now.

      1. Landlords are evil, greedy capitalists who should be guillotined for not providing free housing to everyone, in any event. Why take your foot off the gas now, of all times?

        1. Hell, I grab my tenants by the ankles, turn ’em upside down and shake ’em to see if there’s any change in those pockets!

    2. “”“Which side are you on — people or property?” is stupid.””

      No one other than themselves say progressives are smart.

  6. You should pay your rent, or move. Unless you’re a douchebag socialist asshole, in which case jump off the next tall building you see.

  7. Arnold King, I think, had the best proposal, if you insist on a statist “solution”: every single checking account, whether personal or Amazon, gets a federally-backed line of credit based on deposits during January and February. Whatever credit you invoke is owed to the IRS over the next year or two or three.

    Leaves the decision as to who gets assistance entirely up to individuals. Everything has to be paid back, exactly the same as with the $2.3T crony handout which was recently passed, but by the individual borrower instead of all taxpayers. No complicated central planning to decide who gets how much. No crony payouts. No quibbling about essential and non-essential or who is more deserving.

  8. Some are saying they are ever going to pay rent again. i don’t know wha they think will happen or how even a landlord can maintain property. property owners aren’t property owners because they are rich.

    1. Opportunists abound in a crisis. These are probably the same people that AOC thinks should not go back to work either.

      1. Yes, “work” and “paying” and “money” are just capitalist oppressor constructs. In the Green Deal future, shit will just appear when you want it.

        1. It’s all a spook man.

  9. I may be over simplifying but my guess is the payer should be whoever signed the lease saying they will pay the agreed upon rent. Unless the property owner is a clinger then don’t pay them

    1. Bitter, bitter clingers.

    2. But how do we know if our landlord is a clinger? The property managers won’t tell us! This is so confusing! Should we just assume the worst?

      Rhetorical question. Haha.

  10. “…’I actually think that’s right,’ he tells Reason, agreeing that rent and mortgage forgiveness will ultimately end up being eaten by lenders who could suffer liquidity problems.

    But that’s preferable to leaving renters to their own devices, he argues, given that financial institutions are in a good position to get federal bailouts.”

    So, it will not _ultimately_ end up being eaten by lenders. It will _ultimately_ end up being eaten by taxpayers. Those of us who were silly enough to have squirreled away some savings or — gasp — invested in a rental property are the suckers.

    1. What is stupid about this stance is that he ignores how you get to the point where the Bank is asking for a bailout. The renter couldn’t pay so…somehow the law is changed so that he is off the hook. And now the land lord can’t pay so….somehow the law is changed so he is off the hook. And now the Bank is stuck with the bill, because THEY are the one with the clout….to get the law changed so that they are off the hook? How did we get to this point of legal buck-passing if the landlord and renters didn’t have any say in Washington?

      Here is actually what is going to happen. The Renters are going to get bailed out with laws keeping them from being kicked to the curb. The Banks are going to lobby and get protected. And the Land lords, as normal will take it in the shorts.

    2. “Those of us who were silly enough to have squirreled away some savings or — gasp — invested in a rental property are the suckers.”

      If you’re looking to take money from some people to give to others, your first choice isn’t going to be those who have none, amirte?

    3. you mean we are to worry about banks who get bailed out everytime or people becoming homeless who never get nothing. or maybe $1200 or maybe not $1200.

      massive evictions means price of rents drops but landlord will then insist govt. bail them out, like everytime before.

      1. When exactly did landlords ever get bailed out?

  11. ‘”Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith has argued that that’s ultimately OK, given that landlords have earned outsized returns on their properties compared to the risks they’ve taken on. “Letting landlords take a hit from coronavirus, as long as it doesn’t hurt banks, could therefore be the optimal policy,” he writes in a recent column. “It would represent a rare loss for a class of wealthy people who are used to not taking losses.”‘

    A “rare loss?” On the average, over the years, after all expenses, I make about 5% clear profit on my two rentals. Hell, last year, with both houses empty for a couple of months, I spent about ten grand on new paint, new carpets, etc. I took a actual loss last year. “Wealthy?” Yeah, right. .

    1. Yeah, that paragraph really stood out to me.

      I usually try to refrain from personal attacks, but that Noah Smith fella… what an asshole.

    2. When I moved 10 years ago, the real estate market was in the toilet and I owed $20k more than I could sell the house for, so I decided to rent it out and see how things went. The rental income was about $100/month less than the mortgage payment, but it was easier to deal with that than to take out a loan to sell the place. Situations change, and 8 years later, I moved back. In all the time I was away, my rental house never generated a penny of profit for me.

      Noah Smith can go fuck himself.

    3. Fuck Noah Smith. He should take more risks and losses.

    4. A broader generalization is rarely made.

    5. Yeah, most people have no idea how the economics of renting work. Unless and until you own the property outright, or at least have a significant enough equity stake and have refinanced, you are lucky if the rent pays the mortgage, taxes, and maintenance. Most of that big fat rent check generally goes right to the bank for the mortgage. Granted the landlord is building equity every month, but that is a slow process, just like paying a mortgage on a home in which you live. It certainly doesn’t mean landlords have a pile of liquid assets they are sitting on that can easily buy food and pay that mortgage when rent checks aren’t coming in. And to say there is no risk is silly; when a property sits vacant for even a month or two, that puts you in the hole cash-wise real quick when you are lucky to clear a few percent over your expenses every month when the place IS rented. Sure, after years and years of owing a rental property and paying the mortgage with rental income, eventually you pay it off and now you get to keep a big chunk of that rent check. It’s like a retirement account where you put in for years, taking the financial risk of buying a property and hoping you can keep it rented, maintaining it, dealing with pain in the ass renters, then reap the big benefits later on (if everything goes right). But to get to that point, it either has been a long, disciplined road, or you had lots of money to begin with.

    6. as a landlord , what do you propose?

      1. “as a landlord , what do you propose?”
        So far, neither of my renters are victims of the shut-down. One is retired, and the other is a mid-level manager.

        What would I do if one of them needed a bail out? Pretty simple, actually: finding a new tenant costs me thousands of dollars. It makes a lot more sense to lower the rent, for the short term, to a point where it doesn’t hurt as bad, rather than to evict someone. Note: since both my houses are paid off, I have a lot more latitude in this than many landlords.

  12. The solution is simple. The government ordered my business closed. The government is then fully responsible for my employees’ pay. The government should be paying everyone’s rent and mortgage that they have instructed may not work. I can make my rent because I am an “essential” employee (And I use that term in the absolute loosest of all definitions). Government has no issue destroying what ever they choose, but have a real issue paying the cost of their decisions.

    1. EXACTLY. The fifth amendment isn’t just about being able to shut up in court. It also protects your property from seizure without compensation.

      1. A seizure or a taking is something individualized. The government takes your property, say for building a bridge.

        What has happened here is that the government changed regulations in a way that eliminated half the jobs in the country. That’s not a “seizure” or a “taking”, it’s a regulation (albeit a stupid one). The response to that is not for you to receive monetary transfers via the government, the only feasible response is for people whose jobs were destroyed to find other jobs, jobs they can perform under these (stupid) governmental restrictions.

    2. Absolutely, as long as the government can do it without taxing anybody or adding to the debt my kids will need to deal with someday.

    3. The solution is simple. The government ordered my business closed. The government is then fully responsible for my employees’ pay.

      “The government” doesn’t have any money and “the government” doesn’t produce anything.

      The government didn’t single out your business for special treatment; that would be a taking, this is different.

      The government changed market rules so that some businesses are not feasible right now. Governments do that all the time, and that’s not a reason to redistribute money or to pay people for not working.

      Your business is toast right now and your employees can’t work in it. They should find another job, one they can carry out under COVID-19 restrictions. So should you. It sucks, but it is what it is.

  13. I take exception to referring to landlords as ‘unscrupulous.’ Did anyone refer to tenants who can pay but don’t as ‘unscrupulous?’ In EVERY case, people want what they believe they have coming to them, whether they are tenants, landlords or banks.

    And Noah Smith is an ideological idiot, believing it is landlords that should take the hit. Let the market work it out. If landlords lose as a result, that’s just the way it goes. But giving tenants the break of not paying but letting banks get bailouts and screw the landlord is ridiculous.

    1. Are landlords in rent controlled areas unscrupulous? I would like to see Mr. Smith show us the kind of margins the typical landlord, rent-controlled areas or otherwise make.

      It’s not much after maintenance, local taxes, tenant damage, property management in many cases, insurance, etc.

  14. You know, it’s almost as if throwing 1/3 of the population out of work-overnight- was not a great idea.

    1. Gee, the local poobahs (who demanded the closure of all thise businesses) are now whining about the loss of tax revenues!

      1. It’s bailouts all the way down.

  15. Smith is either disingenuous or outright lying. If there are “outsized returns” available to landlords, what is he doing writing for Bloomberg? Why wasn’t he cashing in on the “outsized returns” that he now sees?

  16. Somewhat OT, but hey, it looks like even the chickens are getting tired of the lock-down:

    “BOLO: The Walker Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in connection with an incident occurring Friday in Walker. At approximately 4 pm, Walker Police were dispatched to a bank on Walker South Road in response to a complaint of an aggressive chicken. Although police reached the bank with a couple of minutes of the call, the chicken apparently anticipated the imminent arrival of law enforcement and fled on foot from the scene. According to the complaint, the…

  17. i am a landlord. i am also a roofer. until today y’all didn’t know that roofers are the hyper elite so thank you noah smith for outing me. you dullard. i am in california. the homes i own were purchased with the sweat that filled my boots in hopes that someday i might get down off the roof and end a day not black as a coal miners ass and stinking like a camels nutsack. my returns are far from outsized and in some cases are feeble (occasionally negative) depending on what goes kablammo in a month. so far i am good with my tenants who all know they owe me the rent but i am wide open to plans that get me paid even if not today. they need only call to alert me they have an income hiccup and we will find a solution. BUT… if they do decide to get squirrelly they can be ASSURED i will put up with the bull-shite ONLY for as long as the law requires and then i will toss ’em when it is convenient for me (and maybe even at christmas if they make themselves a big enouigh nuisance) and then i’ll chase ’em for back rents, damages, fees and court costs.

    you dimwits can strike all you want …i will not be your daddy. i will not pay for your housing any more than i’ll pay for your cell phone or groceries. listen up good you mooches…IF YOU STIFF ME…I WILL RUIN YOU. i will also change my landlording habits going ahead. i have tenants that haven’t had their rent raised in 5-6 years. going ahead i will be raising rents EVERY year and also imposing late fees which i have been exceedingly lenient on. no mas, mi amigos! this landlord just got greedy.

    one last thing, noah, if you ever want to give roofing a try swing by and i GUARANTEE i will cripple you before 10a.m. and you won’t be able to move the next day. arrogance and ignorance…together at last

    1. Just the idea of getting Noah Smith on a third story roof is kinda intriguing. And then he can experience some risk and loss.

      1. ps. I did enough roofing and other work with my carpenter dad and uncle to convince me that a white collar career was worth the school grind. Thanks, dad.

        1. agreed. but the money is great and i really like the guys i work with. i pay them very well and they split their guts for me. that said i still get up there at age 60. fortunately, it’s not the only leg on my income empire but it is a solid one that amazon will never oust me from. as far as a third story…i can destroy him on a 1 story flat roof just as fast and w/o risk of falls. just good old back breaking work for a soft man with soft hands and a lefties skewed view of how money gets earned. no risk or loss…just a sore little guy that may have never worked a day in his life. I GUARANTEE HE WON’T BE ABLE TO FINISH THE DAY AND WON’T BE ABLE TO MOVE THE NEXT DAY W/O MEDS.

          all my shacks are paid for so even if my folks don’t pony up (so far they are all acting like the honorable folks i thought they were) it will be more annoying than ruinous but they WILL end up paying me and i WILL destroy them. if they don’t share my last name they don’t reap the benies of being one of mine

    2. so what do you propose? if you and everyone landlord in your n’hood evict every delinquent renter won’t your rent go down?

  18. Crazy idea everyone go back to work and we deal with whatever happens with the virus.

  19. Who Should Pay the Rent During a Pandemic? Whoever signed the contract. Silly goose.

    1. a wild idea EWM…paying ones own bar tab.

      hey rent strikers… if the water heater goes kablammo am i expected to keep my end of the bargain? what’s next cable bill strikes? cell phone bill strikes? why not strike the tab on the next order of take-out you order? strike the car note…see how long it takes for them to come repo the jalopy. dunces!

  20. Paying the rent? As we all know 7×13 = 28

    From the great Lou Costello.

  21. What happens if federal bailouts aren’t enough to save banks and lenders and they start to go under? 2008 wasn’t that long ago.

    The amount of rent not being paid might be enough for a small nation’s GDP. Any federal bailout will be one giant band aid on a gaping wound. And paying rent will be issue for the foreseeable future as more brick and mortal businesses go under. People won’t have 3,4 years to learn how to code to survive.

    Reopen most of the economy, and then landlords can work out some kind of payment plan with renters and businesses so they can pay the rent they owe over a period of time. Federal assistance get prop up landlords in the short term. Without restarting the economy, there will be no true solution.

  22. This is a very serious issue, and it should be handled carefully in every home Home

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  24. Better to ask “Who should pay the rent when the federal and state governments shut down the entire economy for no good reason?”

    The answer is the same, of course; the renter.

  25. Even if you believe that the government should step in and cancel rent and mortgage now, when do they stop? My wife and I are both still working remotely but our industry has been hit very hard. She will probably lose her job sometime this summer and I could be facing a 20% or more pay cut. Will our mortgage payments be cancelled this fall? Next January?

    I don’t think that our situation is unusual. A lot of firms did their best to keep people on payroll. After all, we were initially told that things would be shut down for just a few weeks to flatten the curve. Now that we’re pushing two months with no end in sight, those same firms are taking stock of their long-term prospects and making plans for large layoffs and pay cuts.

    I think that the second wave of job losses could be bigger than the first. Surely these rent-strike leaders don’t think we can just cancel rent and mortgages for the next two, three, or more years. Are they that ignorant of how economies work?

  26. “It would represent a rare loss for a class of wealthy people who are used to not taking losses.”

    Ah, if we can’t tax the rich, we’ll just make them take the loss. Quote brilliant, actually. Progressives won’t count that as a proper tax and will still demand the rich be taxed. After all, why can the rich take the losses *and* be taxed more, as long as they have money to take?

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