By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the coronavirus outbreak leaving people out of work, many are wondering how they will pay their mortgage and rent next week. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a plea for compassion from landlords on Saturday.

“To every landlord, now is the time to show some compassion,” Murphy said.

Murphy signed an executive order forbidding landlords from kicking people out of their apartments for the next 90 days if they can’t pay the rent.

Murphy also instated a 90-day grace period for homeowners paying their mortgage.

Foreclosures and eviction proceedings have also been put on hold for the next 60 days.

“Put together a 90-day grace period and a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions means many New Jersey families can breathe easier,” Murphy said. “Keep their heads above water and have a place that they can continue to call home.”

“I don’t think anybody expected this. It’s like living out of a movie,” renter Ashle Sheftic said.

Sheftic works as a consultant and is renting in Philadelphia’s Washington Square West neighborhood. She says her landlord is working with tenants who can’t pay.

“There’s the option of a payment plan if necessary. I think that’s something that was communicated to us,” Sheftic said.

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court also halted evictions and foreclosures until at least April 3.

Brian Jackson owns and rents out multiple units in Philadephia.

Jackson says four of his tenants were laid off due to the coronavirus. He’s waiting to see what happens.

“It’s a big potential problem for the idea that maybe 50% won’t be able to pay, 80%. Who knows, 100%?” Jackson said.


Jackson is a member of HAPCO Philadelphia, the largest landlord association in the city. They are now working with renters who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you find yourself on hard times and are unable to pay your rent, there are a few things you can do and it all starts with opening up the lines of communication.

“The one thing I never understood is why some landlords stay distant,” Jackson said. “That can be a huge problem in this time, so if you’re not familiar with your tenants’ situation, you better get family very soon.”

HAPCO recommends talking to your landlord before rent is due and taking advantage of unemployment benefits.