D.C. Organizations Offer Suggestions to Landlords with Tenants Impacted by the Shutdown
By Aastha Uprety
January 25, 2019
Federal government workers missed their second paycheck this week amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The shutdown, which has now gone on for 35 days, has made it difficult for people to support themselves and their families, from putting food on the table to paying bills. In response, four D.C. organizations are encouraging landlords to show flexibility and compassion toward tenants who may not be able to pay rent.
DC Jobs with Justice, the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), and local unions SEIU 32BJ and UNITE HERE 23 published a letter to landlords with tenants impacted by the shutdown, asking them to consider waiving late fees for rent payments and working with tenants to develop payment plans 30 days after the government shutdown ends. The letter also urges landlords to be aware of the different forms of documentation that federal workers and contractors have of their employment status.
Also in response to the shutdown, the D.C. Council passed emergency legislation this week requiring landlords to give tenants who are federal workers, federal contractors, or household members of such workers a 30-day grace period after the government reopens before pursuing unpaid rent. Federal workers who live in D.C. are far from the only individuals affected by the shutdown–hotel employees, cab drivers, and restaurant workers in downtown D.C. may also suffer from the past month’s loss of customers and decline in profits and tips. Tenants across the country, regardless of their employment, may be impacted by the far-reaching consequences of the shutdown. This also puts housing providers in tough positions, but mass evictions will no doubt impede a speedy recovery.
The housing instability that many are experiencing due to the shutdown could escalate to evictions which have major, disastrous consequences on the lives of people who experience them. In light of this, these local organizations urge landlords and property owners to establish procedures that help everybody recover from the government shutdown as effectively as possible.