Residents struggle with rent payments amid economic impacts caused by coronavirus pandemic

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - On Wednesday rents are due and several people may be struggling to come up with the money, after losing income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Several groups are calling on North Dakota’s governor to do more for tenants.

Yet, one landlord in Fargo said he’s doing all he can to help them but he’s concerned about his bills.

“There's a mentality about how landlords have all this money. I'm no different than a small cafe owner,” Ty Triebenbach, who owns Finding Normal Apartments, said.

The building is located near downtown Fargo on 920 Sixth Ave N.

Triebenbach said he managed the building for several years before buying it from his partner last October.

It has 60 studio apartments and he said at least 10 tenants told him they’ll need help with rent payments.

“Make sure if you lose your job come talk to me. Let's set payment arrangements. Let's get through this together,” Triebenbach said.

Triebenbach said he’s already waived late fees.

“I'm waiving late fees until this is over. For sure in April, possibly May,” Triebenbach said.

While he’s willing to extend a helping hand to his tenants during these uncertain times, he said he still has bills to pay.

“I have an electric bill, I have a mortgage payment, I have insurance,” Triebenbach said.

He’s also against any government order that would halt evictions.

North Dakota’s supreme court already suspended most eviction hearings, as nearly 20,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits in March in the state.

“Our hope is that those unemployment benefits spring to life as fast as possible, because everyday someone is out of work, there's something that's unpaid for,” Dane Dekrey, advocacy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota, said.

The ACLU is one of the groups calling on Republican Governor Doug Burgum to halt all COVID-19 related evictions and require landlords to waive late fees.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we're hoping the governor is working fast with his folks,” Dekrey said.

Governor Burgum has yet to issue those housing related orders.