Mario Salerno isn’t the only good landlord in the city of New York, but he’s quickly becoming one of the most well-known.
Salerno waived rents for all 80 tenants in all 18 of his apartment buildings — no questions asked — to ease the financial pressure felt by many in the age of coronavirus, according to the New York Times.
Residents found signs from Salerno posted near their buildings’ front doors informing them that he wouldn’t take any rent for the month and imploring them to “stay safe, help your neighbors [and] wash your hands!!!”
April rent appears to be the expense causing the most anxiety among New Yorkers that rent. Tenant organizers across the country are planning a national rent strike, but it’s unclear how many renters will take part.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris has proposed a bill to forgive rents and multifamily mortgage payments for 90 days.
Although New York State instituted a 90-day ban on evictions, Governor Andrew Cuomo made it clear this week he had no plans to waive rent payments.
Salerno’s rent cancelation may cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in income — an expense not all landlords can afford.
The 59-year-old is a lifelong Brooklynite who got into the multifamily business after building up a sizable portfolio of vacant lots around his family’s Williamsburg auto shop, which he runs on a day-to-day basis.
He purchased the lots to store cars that hadn’t yet been repaired, but started to develop them with multifamily buildings in the late 1990s, according to the Times. [NYT] – Dennis Lynch