Hard-pressed renters affected by coronavirus look for housing help

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DENVER (KDVR) — The coronavirus pandemic has caused many Coloradans to lose hours at work or even their jobs –  but yet in two weeks, the rent is still due.

FOX31 is getting answers about the steps renters should take during these uncertain times.

In the Denver metro area, one in three households rent their residence. People are feeling the economic shock of this virus. Many tenants want to see a rent break, but is that realistic?

“I have $100 in my account,” tenant Farrah Grayson said.

Grayson rents a home in Denver. She works for Uber, and because of concern over the spread of COVID-19, she said the demand for ride-share drivers has plummeted.

“I also have to decide if I put us at exposure risk by working,” Grayson said.

With her job on the line, Grayson, like many others, is worried about paying her rent, car payment, and bills while still putting food on the table for her family.

“We have tapped out every single credit card,” Grayson said.

Teo Nicolais with the Apartment Association of Metro Denver said renters facing financial hardship should first and foremost communicate with their landlord and ask if payments can be delayed.

“Certainly I know a lot of landlords are agreeing to installment payments or delays in payments but it’s important to remember that just as renters are on the phone with their landlords, landlords are on the phone with their lenders – because those mortgage payments are still due,” Nicolais said.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced his administration would suspend foreclosures and evictions until at least until the end of next month, but Denver’s Apartment Association said renters should be mindful of the situation.

“Even if there is a moratorium on evictions it’s important to realize that not paying rent will damage a renters future in terms of their ability to rent apartments,” Denver’s Apartment Association said.

As uncertainty mounts for Grayson, she plans to talk with her landlord to ask for delayed payments.

“You do have to take a step at a time and a moment at a time,” Grayson said.

Nicolais said the sooner the conversations can happen between renters facing financial hardship and their landlord, the more likely everyone can find a solution.

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