Landlords and property management companies are actively working on rent deferral agreements with tenants impacted COVID-19 after Governor Gary Herbert issued a moratorium on evictions Wednesday.
The moratorium applies to renters who lost their job or wages due to COVID-19, ended up in self-isolation or quarantine, or contracted COVID-19.
Shortly after the Governor's announcement, Property Management Systems, LLC in Salt Lake City already had the paperwork drawn up for tenants to fill out and sign.
They said they'd been working with a legal team ahead of the announcement.
"It's a deferral agreement-- deferral, not waiver," leasing manager Lorie Sweeney said, holding the 2-page agreement. "It does list that this is due to COVID-19."
She said tenants already began calling them three weeks ago, worried about rent.
"When the restaurants started shutting down, we started getting tenants in the entertainment, in the hospitality, in the restaurant industry, who started seeing their paychecks stop," she explained. "They started panicking then. So, we've already been working with them."
With many rents across Utah due the first of the month, Governor Herbert gave his assurance on April 1, that tenants impacted by COVID-19 wouldn't be evicted.
He said he was issuing, "a 45-day extension. It's on any kind of eviction."
Sweeney said landlords have also been calling them, wondering what their options are. She said some have decided to go ahead and waive rent, but not every landlord is able to do that.
"Some of them have the money where they can ride this out pretty easily," She said. "But a lot of landlords are living paycheck to paycheck as well, and their rent is considered their paycheck."
Sweeney said landlords also still have to pay for emergencies, repairs, maintenance and utilities.
She said some mortgage companies are offering deferred loan payments.
Sweeney placed emphasis on the word "deferment."
Rent due in April will still be due come May 15. Though, Sweeney explained that Property Management Systems won't require the payment all at once.
"The tenants will have an agreement, they'll know what their payment plan is. They're not going to have a balloon payment on the 15th of May so that all of a sudden they're going to have to pay April, May and June is coming up in two weeks," she explained. "We don't want that to happen either, because that's not helpful for anybody."
Sweeney recommended that tenants pay as much of their rent as they can, even if they can't pay the full amount-- that way they don't end up having to pay the money further down the line.
She said so far, about 10 percent of their tenants have reached out due to COVID-19.