Tips for Landlords During COVID-19
Written By: Ashley Sutphin
Sunday, August 9, 2020
The CARES Act also established a federal eviction moratorium, but now thats come to an end, for the time being, leaving around 40 of renters in America at risk of losing their homes.
Eviction notices can now legally go forward, but as a landlord, you probably realize the situation isnt cut and dry.
What can you do as a landlord to help your renters, even if youre worried about how to pay your own bills?
Know Local Regulations
If youre a landlord, you may already be aware of what your local regulations are under normal circumstances as far as evictions, but theyve likely changed in recent months.
In California, for example, more than 80 local governments have put temporary holds on evictions beyond what the federal government had in place.
Your state or city should have information on their website.
With that being said, even if you can evict a tenant that doesnt necessarily mean you should for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that it could be nearly impossible to find a new renter right now.
Regardless of the specifics of your situation, empower yourself with knowledge as a landlord during this time.
Communicate Transparently with Tenants
Many tenants are facing serious stress and uncertainty right now, and the idea of being evicted is only going to add to that.
Of course, they may not be thinking that as a landlord, youre facing the same things.
Try to communicate as much as you can with your tenants now and as long as were in the pandemic.
Let your tenants know what youre thinking, what your plans are, and also let them know they arent alone during this time.
If you have several tenants or more, consider communicating by setting up an online portal.
If a tenant is telling you they cant pay your rent, you may need to verify what theyre saying. This can be uncomfortable, but if a tenant is simply nervous about the future but still has their job, then they have a responsibility to pay their rent.
By verifying information, you will send a message to your tenants that while youre willing to work with them, you also take rent collection seriously. There has to be a balance between compassion and potentially being taken advantage of.
There may be local laws dictating what you can and cant ask of tenants right now, so again, youll need to check in on local laws and regulations.
Work with Your Tenants
If your tenants truly are facing financial challenges, the best thing you can do is work with them.
You might talk to them about partial payments, for example. One option would be to prorate how much they owe over a certain period and then add that to their monthly rent when things normalize.
If your city allows it, you may be able to work out some other type of payment plan as well. In some cities in the U.S., you can ask tenants to sign payment plans, so youll have to check that first.
Talk to Your Lender
Finally, if your tenants are having financial problems, then you as a landlord may be as well. Just as there has been >
Contact your lender, and when you do, be prepared to show them how much rent youre losing and also outline your monthly expenses.
If youre honest and proactive, theyre more likely to work with you to lower monthly payments or help you find another solution to avoid default.
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