Commercial landlords face no rent payments in April

Coronavirus

One landlord suggests a 'mortgage holiday'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When Gov. Kate Brown ordered non-essential businesses to close and limited eateries to take-out or delivery only, workers were laid off as employers lost their source of revenue.

But commercial rent is still due on the 1st of the month. That’s why restaurant owners have asked for a halt on commercial evictions.

“It is a rare instance where a restaurant owns the building that they are in, so we are all having to independently negotiate with our landlords to understand: are we going to have to pay rent? Is there going to be any sort of abatement? What are these issues going to look like?” explained Sean O’Connor of Kex Restaurant.

The flip side of that are the building owners.

Brad Smith, who is a commercial landlord in the Portland area, told KOIN 6 News what he thinks is needed for those facing mortgage payments without rental income.

“It seems like a practice the banks could put in place right now, by having a mortgage holiday, loan freeze to address this quickly,” Smith said. “It would have a lot of benefit.”

Smith said each of his businesses in his Southeast Portland commercial building have understandably asked to skip April’s rent payment. He wants to work with them to keep them going long term.

While some banks are already offering mortgage holidays, he’s hoping for a wider policy that will get landlords longer term relief without it affecting their credit.

The Portland Housing Bureau offers this advice:

For Homeowners:
If you can demonstrate a substantial loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic you may be able to defer your mortgage payments. Mortgage payments are not being forgiven, you will still be obligated to repay missed payments.

For loans backed by the Federal Government, Federal Agencies have enacted suspensions or deferrals on mortgage payments. Two-thirds of all mortgages in the United States are backed by the Federal Government. Contact your mortgage servicer to determine whether or not your loan is backed by the Federal Government and to understand additional eligibility requirements. See these resources for more information:
Fannie Mae
Freddie Mac
Federal Housing Finance Agency

If your mortgage is not backed by the Federal Government, you may still be eligible to defer mortgage payments. Many banks and mortgage servicers are enacting their own deferment programs – call your mortgage servicer for more information. Other resources on actions by banks in Oregon can be found at Oregon Bankers coronavirus response

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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