New Jersey landlord David Placek knew that most of his tenants were facing financial troubles amid the coronavirus pandemic. To ease the pressure taking ahold of them during this challenging time, he decided to waive their rents for three months. All he asks for in return is that they ‘pay it forward.’
After discussing the plan with his wife, Bridget, David initially planned to skip rent collection for two months – April and May. He shared the good news with his tenants via email on March 18.
“We hope to reduce your stress and anxiety by waiving all rent due for months of April and May. To be clear, you do not need to remit rent for these two months,” David wrote.
At the end of his email, he encouraged his tenants to “pay it forward” by supporting local businesses in Montclair and Toni’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen in the suburb.
Last week, however, he and Bridget thought of extending the offer through June, since it doesn’t seem like life would have returned to normal by then. David said the idea was to relieve some stress from their 12 tenants in Montclair, who were paying an average rent of $1,200-1,500 per month.
The plan worked. David said they’ve gotten a “good reception” from their renters, who are happy that they did this early on during an unprecedented time. David didn’t ask them what financial position they’re in – all he wanted was to be of help them.
David had struggles of his own: he’s still paying rent for a restaurant he had to close last September. Unfortunately, it looks like he wouldn’t be accorded the same consideration he gave his tenants. But even then, this modern-day hero chose to provide relief to others.
Over the next three months, David is forgoing over $50,000, but he doesn’t mind. He’s just grateful that he’s even in a position to do something like this.
“We know not every property owner can do what we’re able to do, but we are. The dollar amounts, although meaningful, are something we can live without for a few months,” he said.
Non-essential businesses were forced to shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. It caused a strain in the economy, with many people losing their jobs over the massive closures. About 35% of New Jersey residents rent their homes or apartments, according to Census data. They’re among those who are hit hardest by the economic turmoil caused by the outbreak.
Governor Phil Murphy caught wind of David’s generous act, so he gave the 39-year-old father of three a shout-out on Twitter.
“He exemplifies the spirit we need to see right now of people stepping up to make sure others can come out of this emergency stronger,” he wrote.
David felt he had to do something to lift others up during this crisis. Thankfully, he had the means and heart to take action.
“It’s hard to help, you can’t go physically do a lot of things, you probably don’t have the financial resources to write a check so what can you do?”
David hopes that this act inspires other capable people to lend a helping hand to their struggling neighbors in any way they can.
Watch David’s interview with ABC 7 in the video below.
We can do so much for our community if we adopt a pay it forward mentality like David. So if the opportunity presents itself, help a neighbor out in any way you can.