Murphy, you have put landlords at an additional loss

Murphy, you have put landlords at an additional loss


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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday, May 7, 2020, an extension of an order that bans landlords from evicting any tenants for not paying rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Dear Gov. Murphy,

We have been landlords for 50 years of a legal, three-family home in a residential neighborhood.  I could write a book about our many experiences over the years — most of them good memories. I have ex-tenants who stay in contact with emails, Christmas cards, letters etc.  But you need to know that we have had some not-so-memorable tenants over the years. I have gladly returned security deposits in 98% of all tenant vacancies. The few accounts I needed to deduct for any damages is few and far between. 

You have now allowed tenants to use their security accounts as rent payments during this COVID-19 crisis. On the surface, it sounds like a good idea but you have put the landlords at an additional loss. If damage has been done to a unit other than normal wear and tear we have no recourse now to repair the damage. We always hope, and mostly have, a pleasant good-bye to our tenants as they move on. Our only recourse is security money if any real damage is done to the unit. You may say we can take them to court, but lawyer’s fees usually are more costly then the month-and-a-half in a security account. Tenants also are aware that if they do not take care in their living space their security money could be used — they do not have that concern now unless you reverse this order in the near future. It will also take some time to replace the accounts, if even possible, in the near future. 

More: Coronavirus NJ: Landlords and tenants must find common ground | Brogan

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Whoever came up with this idea has never rented a property or they would have realized the ramifications it entails and the hardship for landlords throughout the state.

Many of us are not “slum lords” who rack in the money with no care for their property or the people who live there. We are state inspected every five years and always praised for the condition of our property. We care about our tenants but we also have bills to pay and property to maintain. You have put us at a great disadvantage in a state where the law already favors renters. Please consider reversing this mandate at your earliest convenience. I am not sure how much longer we can continue to be landlords as we age. You have made selling the property a necessary option.

Barbara Pflug

Hazlet Twp.

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