‘Just make sure you have food on the table and take care of your loved ones’: New York City landlord waives rent for 200 tenants at his 80 apartments amid coronavirus pandemic
- Mario Salerno has offered all tenants at his Williamsburg apartment buildings a waiver on rent for the month of April due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Two-bedroom apartments in the neighborhood rent for around $2,800 a month, meaning Salerno stands to lose $224,000 if all tenants take up his offer
- So far, 30% of Salerno’s 200 tenants say they will be unable to make payment after losing their jobs amid the COVID-19 outbreak
- Salerno says he isn’t worried about losing out on the money, saying his main concern is for the health of the community and the well-being of his renters
Mario Salerno, who owns 80 apartments in the Williamsburg neighborhood, has told his tenants not to worry if they are unable to make rent for the month of April
A Brooklyn landlord has helped ease anxiety for 200 tenants amid the coronavirus pandemic by waiving their rents for the month of April.
Mario Salerno, who owns 80 apartments in the Williamsburg neighborhood, left notes for all his renters late last week telling them not to worry if they were unable to come up with cash.
Salerno’s generosity was welcome news for many of them who have found themselves out of work and short of money amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
‘I told them just relax, don’t panic, it’s gonna work out,’ the 59-year-old landlord said in an interview with Gothamist over the weekend.
He further told his tenants: ‘Just make sure you have food on the table and take care of your loved ones, your family… As for me, God is good to me. I’m successful’.
The average cost of a two-bedroom rental in the area is $2,800 a month – meaning that Salerno stands to lose around $224,000 if all tenants take up his offer of the waiver.
He told Gothamist that, so far, around 30 per cent of his renters have done so.
Salerno owns several apartment blocks in the trendy neighborhood of Williamsburg. Two bedroom apartments lease for around $2,800 a month
One of them, a 29-year-old retail worker, told Gothamist that she was unable to make the monthly payment after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state.
‘I’m paycheck to paycheck so it was this huge act of generosity that I wasn’t expecting,’ she stated.
The tenant said she felt ‘a wave of relief’ when she spotted the note from Salerno in her lobby last week.
Another renter, a 28-year-old personal injury lawyer, has been furloughed from his firm due to the COVID-19 outbreak and has also taken Salerno up on the waiver.
Salerno (left) was born and raised in Williamsburg, and owns a neighborhood gas station that has been in his family since the 1950s
He told The New York Times that the waiver ‘alleviated a huge amount of stress that I have been having with the unemployment system in the state’.
Salerno was born and raised in Williamsburg, and owns a neighborhood gas station that has been in his family since the 1950s.
He says that many of his tenants have offered to help out at his station in order to repay him – but he has told them that it is unnecessary.
‘My main concern is for everyone’s health,’ he told Gothamist.
New York City remains the US epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 74,000 residents testing positive to the highly-contagious virus. More than 4,000 have died.
Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo has extended the closure of all non-essential businesses until the end of April, meaning that many workers will spend the rest of the month without being paid.
Two-third of all New York City’s 8.6 million residents are renters and, according to a recent report, up to 40 per cent may be unable to meet their payments in April.
New York state has issued a 90-day moratorium on rental evictions.
New York City remains the US epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 74,000 residents testing positive to the highly-contagious virus. More than 4,000 have died
Williamsburg (pictured) is located across the river from Manhattan