If you are struggling to pay rent, I recommend being proactive. Understanding that I cannot give you legal advice without knowing more about your particular situation and reviewing your lease, here are some tips:
1. Be Proactive- reach out to your landlord and explain the situation, preferably before the 1st of the month.
2. Discuss Payment– could you handle a payment plan? Could you make partial payment? Perhaps they would be willing to exchange some work at the premises during your new found free time. Obviously, complete forgiveness of your rent is less likely and probably shouldn’t be the goal (kudos to any landlords generous enough to extend forgiveness).
3. If you are unable to reach your landlord, document that you have reached out to let them know.
4. If you are unable to reach an agreement, review your lease or contact an attorney.
Many municipal courts are not hearing eviction cases right now anyways. An eviction would obviously displace people and bring unnecessary contact at an already difficult time. By being proactive and working toward a solution, you probably resolve the issue on good terms. Worst case scenario, your landlord will have to explain to an angry magistrate why they needed to evict someone doing everything that they could during a statewide shutdown.
Post Script– To any landlords, the same advice should be heeded. Understand your legal rights in light of the situation. Know the jurisdiction that you are in. Documenting and getting an agreement IN WRITING (which should be required to modify your lease) will go a long way. I understand that you have a business to run, but now is not the time to risk bad optics with the court.