Many put out of work by COVID-19 outbreak face difficulty paying rent

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thousands continue to worry about how they’re going to pay their bills, especially rent or mortgage payments, and amidst the pandemic, people are now out of work and are nervous about the long term.

Across the Queen City, FOX 46 has heard stories of rent issues amid the COVID-19 outbreak, especially for those who have been laid off and are having trouble paying. 
    
One man FOX 46 spoke with Thursday, didn’t want to be identified, but being on a straight commission job, he went from making six figures to absolutely nothing. He’s like many across the Charlotte-area right now facing a coming dilemma.

“We always save money for a rainy day, like this time, but that money that I’ve saved, how long will it cover me?”

Rent is usually due this time of the month at many apartments and rental properties, but with so many on the unemployment line, they’re asking questions they never thought they had to ask.

“What a tenant can count on at this point in time is that his or her rent won’t result in a lawsuit that’s filed to get him or her out of the property,” said Sharon Dove, who works with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.  

That is, at least until later on this month. Dove says freezes are currently in place for many evictions and non-payment lawsuits because of the coronavirus, but they won’t last forever.

“Some of the tenants looking out to us, asking what the expectations are for April,” said Michael Bowman, with Bowman Property Management. 

Bowman has been collecting rent on the properties he manages and he says that’s due to contractual obligations with the property owners who have their own bills to pay.

“If they don’t get their money, it will result in the people I work for facing grave consequences,” he said. 

It’s a cycle no one really wants to be a part of right now, but everyone seems to understand. They just want it to end.

“It’s hard on people. We don’t know what’s going to happen.” 

The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy says they have a lot of people reaching out right now about rent issues, among many other concerns, and all of it related to the coronavirus shutdowns.
 

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