Will rent be deferred in Utah during the COVID-19 crisis?

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – April first means rent or a mortgage payment for many is due.

But with the recent impacts the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the local economy, some may find it hard to pay. 

The Utah House Democratic Caucus called on Governor Herbert to temporarily prohibit eviction, late fees, and collection fees for renters and small businesses for 60 to 90 days. 

In a press conference on Wednesday, the governor issued an executive order to defer rent payments through May 15th. He also ordered landlords to stop evictions during this time.

The governor said this does not get rid tenants of the obligation, but it creates time and space for other measures to come into play.

“This is designed to help people that, through no fault of their own, have lost a job, or lost income because of the COVID-19 virus,” he said.

Related: What impact will the federal stimulus package have in Utah?

State numbers show 1 in 3 Utahns rent and nearly half of all American live paycheck to paycheck. COVID-19 could be impacting paychecks for non-essential workers or those laid off or experiencing a cut in hours. 

“I think it is important to note that this is not a ‘get-out-of-rent-free’ order from the Governor. It is simply to give some breathing room to residential tenants who are under financial stress due to the pandemic. Thank you, Governor Herbert,” Utah House Democrat Representative Brian King said.

Related: What should you do about your rent? Housing Coalition ask tenants and landlords to be understanding

Relief is coming by way of a stimulus check from Washington.

 The CARES Act was past last month and provides up to $1,200 dollars per adult and up to $500 per child. 

Lawmakers say those checks are expected mid- April, just in time to pay bills in May.

 So what about April? Well, Representative King says there is still time to act and urges folks in need to talk to their landlords or bank lenders.

The state is looking at taking options to help with COVID -19 related issues. The governor says a special session is likely in the coming weeks.

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