A kind and generous New York City landlord is providing needed relief for his 200 tenants during the COVID-19 crisis by waiving their rent for the month of April, citing his Catholic faith as a major motivation for doing so.
"I told them not to worry, not to panic. We're going through some very tough times with this monster disease. I would waive all the rent through the month of April," Mario Salerno told reporter Colm Flynn in a video for EWTN.
According to NBC News, Salerno, 59, owns about 80 apartments across Brooklyn. After speaking with some of his tenants, he realized many of them were facing economic hardship from lost jobs and were struggling to feed their families.
"I had a lot of my tenants losing their jobs. I wanted them to have some peace of mind making sure that they had food on their table, which several of them didn't."
Salerno posted a sign on the front doors of his buildings announcing, "Due to the recent pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19 affecting all of us, please note I am waiving rent for the month for April. Stay safe, help your neighbors, and wash your hands!"
Asked about the personal financial cost he faces by waiving rent, Salerno said the issue was "irrelevant to the value of a human life." He also explained how his strong Catholic faith motivated him to help his tenants.
"My Catholic faith brought it upon me to make this decision," he explained. "I pray and I ask the good Lord to please conquer this vicious virus."
Salerno isn't the only landlord who has been motivated to help those in need. Nathan Nichols, a landlord from Portland, Maine, also told his tenants he would not be collecting rent in April.
"COVID19 is going to cause serious financial hardship for service and hourly workers around the country. I own a two unit in South Portland and all of my tenants are in this category. Because I have the good fortune and of being able to afford it and the privilege of being in the owner class, I just let them know I would not be collecting rent in April. I ask any other landlords out there to take a serious look at your own situation and consider giving your tenants some rent relief as well," Nichols wrote in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.