Mario Salerno, a Christian landlord, decided on March 30 to waive April’s rent for all of his 200 tenants, in the hopes of giving them one less thing to worry about amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I told them not to worry, not to panic, we’re going through some very tough times with this monster disease,” according to landlord Salerno from Brooklyn, United States.
“My Catholic faith brought it upon me to make this decision. I pray every day, and when I have extra time when I’m in quarantine, I pray, and I ask the good Lord to please conquer this vicious virus.”
Salerno, 59, owns a mechanic shop, gas station, and an auto body shop as well as 80 apartments in Brooklyn. He said many of his tenants had lost their jobs, recently.
“I wanted them to have some peace of mind, not worrying about where their next income was. As a human, I felt a lot more comfortable, making sure they had food on their table, which several of them didn’t, and I felt very honoured to tell them that.”
Salerno said he’s not overly concerned about the loss of his income – and more concerned about the human lives residing under his roofs. “The financial losses are irrelevant to the value of human life, and I value people’s lives,” he said.
“At the end of my journey, when I go and meet the dear Lord and the dear master, I want to ask Him before he could ask me: ‘Was I good? How was my faith?’” he said.
Salerno posted notices on all his buildings that April’s rent would be waived. Since then, many of his tenants have approached him offering to help pump gas at his station, mop the floor of his buildings, and other forms of assistance they could make or possibly render.
Salerno said he had encouraged his tenants to take care of their neighbours first. He said some are still working and are willing to pay their rent, but he encouraged them to put their rent money toward food instead.
“We need the good Lord. He can conquer this. We need to pray,” Salerno said.