On Monday afternoon, the El Paso Apartment Association (EPAA) released a statement, encouraging all residents who are in financial distress to reach out to work with their community managers prior to April 1.
“To prevent more problems for themselves later, apartment residents need to communicate with their property manager before they miss paying their rent,” said Demetrio Jimenez, Chairperson of the EPAA COVID-19 Task Force.
“Many apartment communities already have created plans on how to work with their residents in this unprecedented crisis. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for this situation and each apartment owner must decide what they are able to do, and how, to help their impacted residents. The best strategy is for managers and residents to work together to find the best solution under the circumstances. Providing a secure home for all residents is the primary goal.”
The El Paso Apartment Association is an affiliate of the Texas Apartment Association, which is encouraging members to waive late fees and consider options like payment plans, as possible, for residents affected by COVID-19.
“The apartment industry is on the frontlines of defence against COVID-19 by providing one of life’s most essential needs—shelter,” Jimenez said. “With Stay Home policies, property managers now are on the front lines supporting Texas rental residents. Though unsung and unrecognized for heroic efforts they are making with every resident now at home, apartment building managers, maintenance staff and service vendors, like others providing essential services, continue to go to work each day in spite of any risk to their own health,” he said. “The El Paso Apartment Association is grateful for the efforts of these hard-working individuals who are taking care of over 48,000 El Paso households during this challenging time.”
Jimenez noted that COVID-19 is more than just a health crisis. “While evictions for non-payment of rent are on hold due to the Texas Supreme Court’s order, which TAA helped create, the consequences of drastically reduced rental income are severe,” he said.
“Despite people’s false belief that all apartment owners have infinite financial resources, the truth is many apartment owners are at great financial risk now. They must continue to pay the mortgage to prevent eventually losing their credit or their properties, make employee payroll, and pay utilities, insurance, taxes and all other expenses of maintaining apartment units.
“We know some of our residents have been greatly affected by coronavirus and the resulting measures to ‘flatten the curve,'” he continued. “We want to work with our residents and look for ways to help they remain in their homes. At the same time, on-time rent payments are crucial to property owners being able to provide homes to renters. While Congress has taken some important actions, it’s unknown at this time how quickly any relief will come for renters, and not all the relief offered to property owners applies to all rental property owners—so there’s a lot of uncertainty. Everyone is doing their best to learn how they will be affected,” Jimenez said
The state’s hold on evictions does not mean freedom from the obligation to pay rent on time. Therefore, anyone who can pay rent, should pay rent to protect their credit and prevent eventual eviction for not meeting lease terms.
At the same time, although lease contracts remain in effect, EPAA and its members are committed to assisting residents who are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19.
EPAA also encourages all renters to review the many resources compiled by the Texas Apartment Association, available via this link.
“This is a difficult time for renters, apartment owners, managers and employees alike,” he said. “But if we work together and maintain open lines of communication, then we are much more likely to come out of this difficult time intact, so we can all return to our lives.”