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Tenants, landlords in tough situation as May rent looms

Posted at 5:32 PM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 09:22:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For many people in the Kansas City metro, another rent payment is looming and with many out of work, making that payment proves to be even harder.

Unemployment is skyrocketing in both Kansas and Missouri as thousands are without a job due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One of those people is Brandy Granados in Kansas City, Missouri. She wonders how she’ll pay May’s rent.

"I was able to pay April and March rent with my stimulus, but I have no clue where May is coming from," Granados said.

She lost her job as a temporary worker at UPS and doesn't qualify for unemployment. And she already knows what it’s like to not have a place to stay.

"I had a horrible slumlord last year, and I ended up homeless over the summer and while we were homeless, everything in our storage unit got lost through a fire,” Granados said.

She’s trying to work her payments out with her landlord, who understands her situation.

On the flip side, landlords also are trying to make ends meet. Stacey Johnson-Cosby, president of the KC Regional Housing Alliance (KCRHA), said the costs for landlords don't stop.

“Regardless of [what] the situation is on the ground, we will always have ongoing maintenance and taxes and insurance and debts for the property to maintain it anyway,” Johnson-Cosby said.

Most landlords, according to Johnson-Cosby, can work out an arrangement with tenants if they can’t pay right away.

"We’re asking that they just reach out to their landlord, that the tenants reach the landlords and let them know, 'Hey I’m not going to make my full rent payment it might not make it on time’,” Johnson-Cosby said.

The struggle is felt on both sides, as they need each other to get through this pandemic.

"We’re all in this boat together" Johnson-Cosby said. "We need the tenants as much as they need us."

KCRHA encouraged those who have lost jobs or income, including those who are self- employed or independent contractors, to file for expanded unemployment insurance benefits through the CARES Act, which can potentially add another $600 per week to the payment, resulting in potential payments of approximately $1,000 per week.

KCRHA also recommend utilizing the United Way of Greater KC, which is a referral source for many agencies in most emergency situations.