Commercial property owner charges tenants just $1 for April rent amid pandemic

Posted at 11:29 AM, Apr 03, 2020

ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- As businesses struggle to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, a commercial property owner in Michigan is only charging tenants $1 for April's rent.

Bill Harrison said he notified his renters via email in March.

"I sent a message to my tenants saying for April rent just send me a check for $1," Harrison said. "When I cash that check that's assurance to you that I have accepted a dollar as payment. We are going to take it a month at a time."

The longtime property owner has three tenants located in downtown Royal Oak on Washington Avenue.

"It was nice of them to reply," said a humble Harrison. "I would say, I do what I think is right and if people don't like that that's their problem, not mine."

He didn't go into detail how the rent reduction would impact his bottom line. Sean Kammer with the Downtown Development Authority said the generous offer is a game changer.

"I think it will give [business owners] some hope and help them hang on through this crisis," Kammer said.

He and Todd Fenton with the city's economic development team are working around the clock to provide relief for small businesses.

"We're administering an Oakland County stabilization fund," Fenton said. "It's a $3 million fund that we are accepting applications right now.

For more info on small business grants in Oakland County, visit

"When they do get open, business is going to be slow and we will have to be compassionate then as well," Harrison said.

Some of his renters have been located in his buildings for more than a decade. They're still responsible for utilities.

This story was originally published by Rudy Harper at WXYZ.