Landlords & Tenants See Financial Struggle During Eviction Process
Regardless of whether someone is a landlord or tenant, both sides have expressed severe financial burdens during the pandemic.
The current debate over evictions has made the economic concerns even greater.
For landlords, it's a matter of not receiving the rent money they may need to pay bills. Such is the case with Rebecca Faulkner, who owns a few rental properties.
One tenant, however, has failed to pay rent since February, she says. And it's costing her a significant amount of much needed revenue.
"[The tenant] owes me $5,000", said Faulkner. "Our taxes will be due, and we don't have any income from the farm to pay them. That's how it's affected us".
The financial burden is a big worry for Faulkner. But the unit she isn't getting rent from was supposed to go to a greater family cause.
"Our granddaughter and her husband and their three children had just completed six years in the Navy", Faulkner said. "We need [the tenants] house to live in".
And both landlords and tenants say that financially, there seems to be misconceptions about the other.
"Most landlords are not these multi-millionarre, retire early type people", said Adam Williams, Attorney and Spokesperson for the Northwest Pennsylvania Apartment Association. "They're mom's and pops, who think that this is a nice way to save for retirement. That, or try to find a way to build some wealth. They may only have a couple of units".
Sarah Muck, an Erie County Resident, however, feels that some landlords believe all tenants clearly have the money to pay for rent, but choose not to. In her mind, this is not always the case.
"People talk about unemployment, but there are still people who haven't even gotten unemployment yet", she said. "I don't know anybody that rents that has that kind of money in a savings account. I don't. Why would you rent then, if you have that kind of money"?
Muck also says tenants have had a financial burden during the pandemic. She and other friends have had difficulty paying rent or mortgage during COVID-19.
Charity Johnson is one of those people. Between grocery, utility, and gas expenses, she is having trouble being able to save for anything else, including rent.
"$600 a month in income? I can't do it", Johnson said. "My rent is $515, my gas and electric a combined $125. Even without other bills like a phone bill, I'm already over my total".
Ultimately, Faulkner is hoping for more landlord rights, something she says isn't the case right now. She says her other tenants pay regularly, but the pandemic should not be an excuse for renters to not pay their monthly fees.
"There should be some form of allowance for us people that are not involved in the virus at all", said Faulkner. "We simply just need our renter out".
This story is being written in conjunction with our special report, "Evictions: The Concern in Erie". This series is being supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.