News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – With many landlords and tenants continuing to feel the financial effects of the COVID-19 virus, Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban thanked those landlords that have showed compassion during these unprecedented times – while reminding tenants facing financial hardship to pay what they can – and encouraging those that can pay their rent to honour their obligations.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to those landlords and tenants who willingly implemented the voluntary COVID-19 rental relief guidelines. Many landlords showed compassion and shared sacrifice by assisting tenants experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“Bermuda, and indeed the world, is still navigating unchartered waters five months on. As Bermuda moves forward, we have to acknowledge that our small Island is not yet back to our economic norm, as many of our residents have yet to experience full employment. To get through this very difficult time, we have to pull together as a community and offer help where we can – which may mean doing without something that is not a necessity in order to help someone in true need.”
Minister Roban continued: “As Minister for Home Affairs, I am asking landlords to extend their rental addendum agreements for another 90 days. To those landlords that did not participate in this initiative, I ask you to reconsider your stand on this matter and offer relief to those tenants that are still unemployed at this time.
“The guidelines can be found at coronavirus.gov.bm and https://www.gov.bm/sites/default/files/COVID-19-Rent-Relief.pdf.
“On the other hand, I wish to make it clear to tenants – if you have been given a reprieve under the guidelines, please show your gratitude by paying what you can and respecting the landlord’s property. It should also be noted that tenants who have the ability to pay their rent should continue to do so, in accordance with their current rental agreement.”
As a reminder, landlords are asked to:
•realistically assess their own financial situation and obligations as to how they can assist their tenant.
•talk with each tenant individually (if renting to more than one tenant) and assess each tenant’s situation on a case by case basis.
•take into account the current ability of their tenant to pay and the history of that tenant’s record.
Landlords are also asked to have compassion for tenants who:
•do not have family support on the island.
•are not eligible for Financial Assistance, but may be able to claim unemployment benefits.
Any changes to a lease must be documented and acknowledged by both parties on the agreement reached – including whether any reduction in rent is temporary, or if the rent reduction is to be deferred to a later time, when the tenant may have more of an ability to pay.
In addition, any agreement reached to amend payment terms should be reviewed on a monthly basis, valid for up to 90 days.