Rent Relief for Residents of Utah

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To Utah City Mayors, County Mayors, and Governor Herbert,

Utah is a gem of the West. As a top destination for tourists, businesses, conferences, and families, and many other groups, it wouldn’t be what it is without our service, retail, arts and performing arts, and various other industries. These industries would be unable to operate without their employees who make up the state population. From large metropolitan areas in the north to rural Eastern and Southern Utah, the employees of restaurants, bars, ski resorts, convention centers, travel and tourism centers, and countless other institutions are the fulcrum of Utah's economy.

Most of these industries have been ravaged or will become ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic. As bars and restaurants close, performances cancel, businesses shutter, and commerce grinds to a halt, employees of Utah businesses have been hit incredibly hard. As a result of skyrocketing home prices, many employees of Utah businesses, particularly those in urban areas, are renters. Given the considerable shortage of affordable housing in Salt Lake metro area (which includes Ogden, Orem, and Provo), rent for many tenants is already exorbitant.

With the nationwide and worldwide economy halted, we ask that City Councils, County Councils, and the Utah legislature develop a plan to relieve residents from the burden of rent throughout the duration of the pandemic and the state has recovered economically. At the very least, we ask that evictions for non-payment or minor lease violations throughout Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, Utah Combined Statistical Area (which includes Ogden) and throughout Utah be suspended until the pandemic has ended. Collecting rent and threatening eviction for units that will be left empty makes little sense, and doing so will only deepen the impending economic depression for Utah.

We also understand that landlords have debt obligations and would not be able to operate facilities for tenants without making payments. Therefore, we also ask that you urge banks and lenders to suspend debt obligations for landlords so they may continue to accommodate residents.

Including a rent freeze, some practical solutions to rent relief include:

  • Rent vouchers
  • Offering a percentage of property tax to lenders for X amount of years if they withhold collection from Utah properties
  • Grants to apartments or rental units to alleviate the need for rent collection
  • Tax credits for low-income renters or those who have lost income throughout the duration of the pandemic
  • Graded relief - assisting smaller units with smaller margins over larger multi-unit buildings

Please help the workers and employees that make Utah one of the best places to live and visit so that they will continue to keep Utah thriving long after the pandemic has subsided. Please push for a suspension or moratorium of rent collection or other forms of rent relief at this time.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Renters and tenants of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, and the state of Utah.