Can a Landlord Inspect a Rental Unit During the Coronavirus Crisis?
Landlords and Tenants Should Communicate Compassionately With One Another to Work Out Special Arrangements For Rent Payment, Among Other Things, During the Covid19 Crisis While Being Diligent to Document Any Special Arrangements In a Way That Preserves and Protects Mutual Rights.
A Helpful Guide For How to Address Various Legal Issues Affecting Residential Tenancies Due to Covid-19
The coronavirus and Covid19 Crisis bring unprecedented health, safety, and legal concerns to the forefront in many areas and the landlord and tenant relationship is without exception. Legal issues such as delayed payment of rent due to the sudden lay off of hundreds of thousands of people who are now financially struggling as well as landlords who are equally affected is currently a very troubling issue. Additionally, whether a landlord should refrain from performing inspections or showings out of respect and consideration for the health and safety fears of tenants raises legal issues without a clear answer. Furthermore, the need for extra-special attention to sterilization of common areas and the duty of a landlord to provide premises raises the bar on the responsibility for performance of maintenance as required of the landlord.
Special Concerns Involving Covid-19
In many ways, Covid-19 poses as a Catch-22 by raising many difficult business management questions that may give rise to legal troubles including, among other issues:
- Whether a landlord should negotiate an affordable rent payment plan;
- Whether a tenant should make best efforts to avoid accruing rent arrears;
- Whether a landlord should issue an N4 - Non-Payment of Rent form to create paper trail; and
- Whether a landlord is responsible for extra-special maintenance services within common areas;
- Whether showings of tenanted units should be halted due to distancing and isolation needs.
These are just a few of the issues that landlords and tenants are now contending with and need to cautiously and compassionately address through respectful communication.
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