Landlords stuck in COVID-19 crossfire

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Businesses across the Valley are struggling to get back on their feet after the COVID-19 pandemic closed their doors, and so are landowners who are grappling with mortgages.

“Money roll went to zero and we’ve been shut down since the beginning,” said JJ Luna.

He co-owns Tyler Park Plaza in Harlingen. All three businesses were impacted by the pandemic.

“These are businesses that have a lot of contact with people,” he said.

A beauty salon, gym and a printing company are all closed and the property owner said bills are still piling up.

He hasn’t charged the renters since the pandemic began.

“How can I take money if there’s no money coming in. I can’t do this for long of course,” he said.

The federal government hasn’t helped much. The owners of the plaza didn’t get a loan. Each individual business in the plaza had to apply for their own paycheck protection loan.

“Then they can pay me back with that,” he said.

In Texas, the governor has allowed for salons to reopen and gyms are on their way to unlocking their doors. Luna wants businesses to take their time and reopen when they feel safe.

“I mean it hasn’t gone away. It’s calmed down a little bit if people don’t keep on taking it serious it’s going to be a lot more people infected and we’re going to fall right back into the same thing again,” he said.

The owners also say once the businesses are back on their feet, he’ll work with the clients on repayment options for the months he hasn’t charged them.

Luna adds he is selling the property. He tells us it’s has nothing to do with the pandemic, he’s ready to move on to another business venture.

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