'Do I have to sell?': Landlords in need of assistance as tenants unable to pay rent due to COVID-19

Posted at 10:13 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 00:45:47-04

DENVER -- Landlord Rocky Hoery is living with a dilemma. He won't evict his renter, who he says hasn't paid rent for months after she lost her job because of COVID-19.

"She’s a good renter. She’s a single mother, I’m not gonna throw her out," Hoery said.

However, each month, the bank still wants their money.

"I still have a mortgage on it, I still pay taxes. I pay insurance, I pay upkeep," Hoery said of his property expenses.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Hoery says he's owed more than $6,000 in unpaid rent and utilities.

"My renter, I understand they can’t pay rent right now. She’s a bartender and cleans houses. She lost her bartending job and cleaning houses that went away because most people are staying home," Hoery said.

While there's plenty of assistance for renters, the programs for landlords are few and far between.

To help property owners, the state recently started the Property Owner Preservation (POP) Program.

With POP, landlords can apply for assistance only on behalf of multiple tenants. To qualify, tenants must have missed rent because of financial loss from COVID-19, rent must be below the POP maximum which can range between about $1,000 to just over $2,000, and the property itself also cannot be in foreclosure.

Others have tried the mortgage modification route, allowing property owners to skip months of payments and begin paying as agreed upon from their lender.

"I talk to my mortgage people, they said, 'OK, we can suspend the payment for three months but after three months we need a balloon payment.' So I don’t see any advantage to that at all," Hoery said of his decision not to use mortgage modification.

This leaves the 72-year-old retired property owner to wonder and worry as he blows through his savings just to get to the next month.

"We’re not evil people [landlords], we are not rich people. Social Security is not a retirement, it’s a supplement. It’s up to people to build their own retirements and that’s what I was doing with this house," Hoery tells Denver7.