Apr 21, 2020 MicroBilt News
Managing rental properties can be stressful enough for landlords living nearby, but those running properties in different locations typically face additional challenges during “normal” times. Managing out-of-town rentals during a pandemic multiplies these difficulties.
Reaching out to tenants
The COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time for everyone as we tread through uncharted territory. A good first step for landlords to take is to reach out to tenants. Many of them probably have concerns and questions surrounding the coronavirus and aren't sure where to turn. Send out a friendly newsletter or email.
- Outline what tenants should do if they’re showing virus symptoms or have been exposed.
- Share contact information for key personnel tenants can reach out to in the event of a problem or other urgency.
- Inform them of any changes in state or local law regarding curfews and shelter in place mandates.
- Reassure tenants of the steps being taken to disinfect common areas.
- Explain to tenants how they can pay their rent with no personal contact (landlords without an online method to collect rent payments should set this up ASAP).
- Discuss options for tenants with expiring leases.
Communication during this difficult time is vital to the tenant-landlord relationship. This not only helps everyone get through the current health crisis but helps build a stronger relationship and level of trust going forward.
Understanding tenant rights
Most landlords don’t have a playbook on what to do in a pandemic like the one we’re currently experiencing. Learn what provisions have been passed in the CARES (Corona, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act that apply to rental agreements and keep abreast of any potential future changes.
Some areas of the landlord-tenant agreements are still in flux and without clear guidance at this time. The best action to take is to research your local and state laws that apply to quarantines, evictions, and any type of emergency funding tenants can gain access to and be able to pay rent.
Learning landlord rights
If tenants aren’t paying rent, see what options are available for financial relief to keep your business operational. Landlords who run independently or as a small business may be eligible to obtain a small business loan, request mortgage forbearance, or withdraw money from a retirement account to pay expenses due to loss rental income due to the COVID-19 crisis. Landlords may also be eligible for special tax benefits next tax year, be sure to see which ones apply to you.
Absent landlords often use credit checks and background screenings to ensure they are contracting with good tenants under normal circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an entirely new set of issues for both landlords and tenants. Unfortunately, many coronavirus scams are popping up by the day and, as the economy begins to reopen, landlords will need to know how to filter out the scammers from the legitimately interested tenants.
If you want to know more about the best tenant screening tools to use, Microbilt is here to help. It’s our goal to aid our customers in making the best decisions for their businesses. To learn more about our services and tools, contact us today.