Landlord says he won't collect rent in response to the coronavirus outbreak

Nathan Nichols says he wanted to "ease a little bit" of stress among his tenants.
/ Source: TODAY
By Rachel Paula Abrahamson

One landlord is not collecting rent in April because of the coronavirus — and he’s encouraging others to do the same.

Nathan Nichols owns two units in Portland, Maine, and both are occupied by hourly workers. One of the apartments is home to a couple with a young child.

“My sister is in the service industry and she was getting stressed out about the income she was going to lose,” Nichols told TODAY. “I knew my renters were feeling the same way. I wanted to ease a little bit of that. I know how damaging it can be for a kid to live through this kind of stress."

Nathan Nichols and his sister, Emily Nichols, who works in the service industry. Courtesy of Nathan Nichols

In a post that has gone viral on Facebook with more than 23,000 shares, Nichols urged other landlords to “take a serious look” at their own situation and consider giving “some rent relief.”

The computer programmer has since been inundated with messages from strangers who are out of work because of the coronavirus.

“Everyone's on edge right now,” Nichols revealed. “A lot of people are like ‘Can I be your tenant?’ They’re just a few paychecks away from big trouble. Some have reached out asking if I have more apartments to spare.”

Praise continues to pour in for Nichols with several Facebook commenters calling him a “hero.”

“So many people (including myself) were told that our jobs have shut down for 2 weeks maybe even longer and right now we have no money - it’s scary. So this simple act of kindness is truly amazing. God bless you!” wrote one person.

“Thank you for being so generous. We can all learn from you,” added another.

Nichols' tenants continue to express their gratitude.

One of them recently sent him a text that read in part, “I realize you’re taking a hit for us, and that means so much.”