Landlords offered financial lifeline as renters fail to make monthly payments

Some help for struggling landlords in Arizona is on the way in the form of a fund set up by the state as renters continue having trouble making monthly rent payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the Rental Property Owner Preservation Fund was launched on Aug. 5, applications have been pouring in.

"Preliminary numbers came in at 300 applications so far and that process has been open for less than a week," explained Courtney Gilstrap Levinus with the Arizona Multihousing Association.

The fund is for landlords who are struggling to pay mortgages because they haven’t been receiving full rent if any from tenants.

Chris Hughes runs AZ Invest, a rent-to-own program for more than 200 families. He says rent payments aren't flowing like they once were and he’s happy the state is throwing rental property owners a lifeline.

"Very relieved, yes. That's great news because rents are down 10 to 15%," Hughes explained.

Levinus says the $5 million fund helps, but landlords are losing tens of millions of dollars.

"I know several of our members have applied for the maximum amount of $50 thousand and that's still a drop in the bucket," she said.

People aren’t always fond of a landlord’s plight, but if they can't make mortgage payments because they aren’t receiving rent, the bank takes the property back and everybody loses.