Hyman apologizes for letter sent to tenants
Lehigh Valley developer Nat Hyman has apologized for a letter sent March 23 threatening his tenants with eviction if they do not pay their rent.
According to an anonymous email sent to The Press Monday evening, the letter to tenants reads, in part, as follows:
“We understand that these are difficult times and some of you may have lost your jobs and/or be on unemployment. Despite these circumstances, you are required to pay your rent on time.
“While this may sound like we are being uncaring, please keep in mind that all our expenses, including bank mortgages, taxes, insurance, etc. continue to be due and payable on time ...
“ ... If you are not able to pay your rent in full, please contact the office and we will arrange a date for you to move out of your apartment.
“It is very offensive to us when tenants continue to pay for nonessential service, like cable service, but do not pay their rent in full for the essential service of shelter.
Accordingly, if your rent is not received by April 5, your cable service will be disconnected by us ...
“ ... Accordingly, we are well within our legal rights to disconnect the cable.”
Hyman via an email to The Press on March 24 wrote, “I’ve been negotiating with our lenders for the past two weeks to try to defer some of our payments. Thus far, I have been unsuccessful.
“In a staff meeting, I told one of my managers to inform the tenants we understand the hardships we all face, but for all the tenants who can pay their rent, we still expect payment on time. That manager then sent out a memo with our standard payment policy adding an opening paragraph about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I did not read the memo before it went out but as I have repeatedly said, I take full responsibility for it because I did tell her to contact the tenants.”
After learning about the letter, Hyman issued an apology to Hyman Property tenants and Allentonians.
The apology reads as follows:
“Let me start by apologizing to you all. I have been informed that my company sent out a very insensitive letter regarding rent and tenant policy.
“I take full responsibility as I am responsible for my company and everyone in it. This letter does not reflect me or my company values in any way.
“I’ve spent all week trying to negotiate with the banks, but they have shown very little movement. I asked one of my managers to make sure that we get in as much rent as possible to pay the banks.
“In writing this letter, the manager should have been more sensitive but I have to own this because I am the boss.”
Hyman said the letter to all his tenants was intended to offer information and should have read:
“We are so sorry to be writing this letter as we are facing a national crisis. We understand many of you may be facing hardships and difficult times. We are currently looking for solutions and trying to work with our banks to offer relief.
“We cannot currently suspend rental payments but will not be evicting anyone during this time. We ask that if you are facing financial hardship to please contact our offices as soon as possible.
“We are looking to relieve your stress as much as possible during this time.
“We hope that you and your families are all safe and healthy. Reminder that rent is due April 1, please feel free to reach out to our offices as soon as you can if you need any assistance.”
The Press asked Hyman if he had made any policy changes to rent due dates due to COVID-19.
“Our tenant policy was and continues to be that if anyone has been laid off or furloughed during this crisis, they should show us proof of that and that they have applied for unemployment and we will be happy to work with them to get them through this crisis,” Hyman replied.