5,000 signatures reached
To: Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana
MONTANA RENT/MORTGAGE MORATORIUM (COVID-19)
We believe that an immediate moratorium on collecting rent (commercial or residential) in the State of Montana for the month of April be implemented. Any potential penalties (late fees, evictions, interest) for nonpayment should be waived, and no renter should be held to make a rent payment for the month of April at a later date, as this is an impossible debt for many renters - unemployed or employed - to take on. Interest-free forbearance on mortgages should also be implemented, and other property-related expenses incurred by landlords and building owners considered.
This moratorium and penalty waiver should continue as long as Montana businesses are mandated closed or their services minimized under COVID-19 restrictions and residents remain unemployed.
Why is this important?
In a matter of days, the State of Montana - along with the rest of the world, of course - has been hit hard with the restrictions placed on businesses in the wake of COVID-19. As we all know, businesses across the state have been forced to close outright or drastically cut provided services, leaving 13.7% of Montana workers (mt.gov, 2013) at immediate risk of unemployment. What limited financial resources these workers may have MUST be conserved for absolute essentials in this time of uncertainty. Small businesses have also been left vulnerable to permanent closure, and their financial resources must also be conserved to remain operational.
My motivation to start this petition is not selfless. I (service industry), along with nearly all of my colleagues, was laid off today (3/18/20). Whether or not this petition moves forward, I have already planned to reallocate all of my own remaining resources exclusively toward food and the most basic necessities while COVID-19 restrictions remain in tact. Paying $750 for rent when that may be all I have for said essentials -- indefinitely -- seems futile at best.
Our employers were heartbroken to be forced into laying us off. They are devastated and worried for us, and we are devastated and worried for them and for the future of our company. Our story is clearly NOT unique; likely thousands of service industry workers in Bozeman alone will be or have already been laid off, and this is just the beginning. We need rent and mortgage relief NOW.