AZ hairstylists, salon business owners struggle to pay rent due to COVID-19

Business is slow at the Beauty District in Phoenix. On a typical Saturday, the building of salon suites would be packed. But coronavirus is turning clients away, and hairdressers are now forced to make tough decisions.

“The growing numbers of people that are infected in Arizona scares us on a daily basis,” said hairstylist Bernardo Lamos.

Lamos is taking the risk. He is continuing to take clients to help pay for bills. He said hairdressers at The Beauty District must still pay for rent space, even if they aren’t working amid coronavirus.

“My wife and kids are at home, and I am telling them that we have to be quarantined at home, yet I am still coming out here and being around people,” said Lamos.

On the flip side, Phoenix salon owner Brady McKay said he isn’t charging his employees for rent. But he leases the salon building, and the bills are stacking up.

“As of right now, their safety is important to me. So, I am deferring rent to make sure that they are okay, which puts the burden on me,” said McKay.

This week, Gov. Doug Ducey delayed evictions for residential residents. Now, Lamos and Mckay are calling on him to extend those protections to businesses too.

According to Benjamin Gottlib, a local real estate attorney, business owners who lease or people who rent workspaces should look at their lease agreement closely. He said if there’s a “force majeure clause” in the document, it could allow tenants to leave the lease.

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