Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today sent an open letter to Lincoln rental property owners and managers urging them to waive or suspend all evictions based on nonpayment of rent due to circumstances caused by COVID-19 until the pandemic subsides and emergency health measures have been lifted. She also urged landlords to work with their tenants to waive late fees and to devise reasonable payment plans.
"I want to recognize how many of these local property owners and managers are already reaching out proactively to tenants and to their lending institutions to try to find solutions and make the best of a very difficult situation," said Mayor Gaylor Baird. "We are calling upon others in this industry to follow their lead. I also ask tenants to communicate with landlords about any financial difficulties they are facing as soon as possible. Property managers, owners and tenants all are facing economic uncertainty, and open communication will ensure better outcomes for everyone involved."
Gaylor Baird noted that Nebraska residents filed 15,668 initial unemployment insurance claims during the week of March 15 through 21st, an increase of over 1,800 percent above the previous week. She also said 68 eviction cases remain on the docket in Lancaster County Court through April 10.
"Any eviction action taken during this pandemic exacerbates the economic hardships already being felt in Lincoln," she said. "Worse still, the displacement of tenants poses a public health threat to our community at a time when we are encouraging everyone to stay home and practice social distancing. We must do all we can to make sure that every Lincoln resident remains safe, healthy, and housed during this challenging time."
The open letter is a follow-up to the executive order Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issued March 25 intended to defer eviction trials for nonpayment of rent until May 31st when the cause of nonpayment has to do with COVID-19. The federal government is also taking steps to keep people housed during the pandemic through a temporary pause on foreclosures and evictions on certain federally subsidized properties.
More information as well as resources for residents and businesses can be found at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov.