The coronavirus pandemic has affected the livelihoods of thousands of people all over the country. Because of the rising number of cases, the government has ordered a shutdown of non-essential establishments. With no revenue coming in, numerous businesses, especially the small ones, have taken a financial hit. Many private individuals have already have lost their jobs, missed a rental payment and they’re worried about where to get the money to afford their other necessities.
To his tenants, this New York City landlord is heaven-sent. Mario Salerno owns roughly 80 apartments across Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Knowing that many of his residents are struggling financially due to the loss of their jobs, this man waived rent for April, giving 200 of his tenants one less thing to worry about.
“I want everybody to be healthy. That’s the whole thing,” he told NBC New York.
Mario decided to take action after some of his tenants told him they were worried about making rental payments. Some of them have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak. So, on March 30, he posted a notice on the front doors of all his properties, stating, “Due to the recent pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19 affecting all of us, please note I am waiving rent for the month for April.”
Mario was born in Williamsburg on Metropolitan Avenue. He inherited his father’s gas station and has become a well-known figure in his community.
Kaitlyn Guteski, one of his tenants, said she’s been out of a job since she was ordered to halt the operations of her hair salon. She had nothing but kind words to say about Mario.
“He’s Superman. He’s a wonderful man,” she told NBC New York. “It’s a game-changer.”
Mario knows that like many others, he will take a big hit this month. But this doesn’t worry him.
“For me, it was more important for people’s health and worrying about who could put food on whose table,” he said. “I say don’t worry about paying me, worry about your neighbor and worry about your family.”
He’s hoping that other landlords will follow suit and not collect rental payment if they can afford to. Thankfully, many have.
Nathan Nichols, who owns two units in Portland, Maine, informed his tenants several weeks ago that he will be waiving rental payments for April. He told TODAY that his sister worked in the service industry and was stressing out about the income she was going to lose. He knew that several of his tenants were feeling the same level of anxiety.
In San Diego, California, Jeff Larabee’s 18 tenants wouldn’t have to pay rent for the next three months. He said he came to this decision after three of his tenants approached him and said they were worried about making rental payments.
We are now living in challenging times, and it gives us hope knowing that there are members of the community practicing goodwill and being a blessing to their neighbors. It’s great to see amazing people like Mario and many others who saw this pandemic not as an opportunity to earn more but a chance to help people in need.
Watch Mario’s interview with NBC New York in the video below.