Rent is due, but some affected by pandemic may have trouble paying

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s the first of the month, and for renters, that means rent is due. But for some, it may be a struggle right now.

WREG found notices showing some landlords have sent notices offering 5 percent off, while others sent a reminder that rent is due but people impacted by the pandemic can call their office for financial guidance.

That’s what Adam Rudman is doing at the Whitehaven apartment complex he owns, which he said services low-income tenants.

“We’re going to help, going to work with them,” the Winbranch Apartment Complex owner said. “We do provide option for partial payments. We gave them money off rent for March.”

But he said not all landlords are making those types of concessions.

“Most of the landlords in my area, even maintenance is not doing the job well,” Rudman said.

He also said some tenants are still choosing not to pay at all, and though he’d work with them, they’re not working with him and instead making life hard for everyone.

“They can go around the complex, do vandalism, talk with other tenants, lower the morale, community standards,” Rudman said. “It’s affecting everything we’ve built here over the past three years.”

He said this is happening because he can’t evict due to an order from the Tennessee Supreme Court that says, “Given the increasing economic issues caused by this pandemic, no court official shall take any action to effectuate an eviction, ejectment, or other displacement from a residence.”

“You cannot block the legal system,” Rudman said. “It’s our rules.”

WREG spoke with a renters’ rights attorney, who said even though he can’t evict people, if they’re breaking the law, he can call police. The expert also reminded people if they’re not paying rent, they can still be liable for failure to pay once evictions are allowed to happen again.

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