The good guys are weighing in. Last week we told you about the aggressive messaging of a Rochester landlord against the backdrop of this insidious pandemic. There are, though, more compassionate voices out there.
KIMT News 3 began looking into the local tenant/landlord dynamic earlier this month when Brenda Thomas Lipkie of Opportunity Realty LLC sent a bold white on black text message to her tenants. It was April 1st, and nobody's rent was even late. She made it clear that despite her office being closed, the rent was due. She mentioned an 8% late fee and said she would be coming to the property if rent wasn't turned in.
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She followed that missive up with a second note mentioning that the company and property owners were aware stimulus checks had been sent out. The missive said those checks were to be used for, among other things, rent.
That's not how Tom Hill, the CEO and owner of Matik Management, does business. He knows his property owners have mortgages to pay, but maintains those property owners are sympathetic toward their tenants.
"We can make payment plans," Hill said cheerfully as he stood outside his offices on a sun-splashed Tuesday morning. "There are no late fees. We want to do anything we can. Some owners are reducing rents. There are no increases etc. We're just looking for any way we can try and work through this with our tenants."
Olmsted County Housing Director Dave Dunn believes that's the way to do business. Governor Tim Walz clearly does too. He was very clear about how landlords and property managers need to operate during this difficult time.
"Evictions are suspended until further notice," Dunn said firmly. "So while we encourage everyone to pay their rent, if you can't pay your rent, talk to your landlord."
Speaking of landlords, KIMT News 3 has tried repeatedly to reach Brenda Thomas Lipkie of Opportunity Realty LLC. She has yet to return our phone calls.