Today I’d like to pass on something I have shared in our local REIA group with regards to working with your tenants during this time of crisis, especially if they have recently become unemployed or furloughed.
If you have rentals and have not done so already, it might be a good idea to reach out to your tenants and check in with them. Due to various business shut-downs, lock-down, and stay-at-home measures, they may have become unemployed. Depending on their financial situation, it may make it difficult for them to pay their rent.
Below is a copy of what we sent out to tenants:
How are you? We hope you and your family are staying healthy and getting by at the moment. While I don’t know exactly how the coronavirus situation has impacted you, I’m sure it has not been easy. Personally, my family and I are going a bit stir-crazy, but are taking the down time to ride our bikes and totally redo our landscaping, (who needs the gym, right?)
I imagine you are spending more time more time at home than usual, given the current circumstances. Maintenance people are tough to schedule right now due to safety concerns, but please do not hesitate to reach out if there are any maintenance issues so we can make your your extended time at home more comfortable.
If you have any other needs or issues, again, do not hesitate to contact us.Below is a link to a list of resources that may be helpful during this trying time:
Louisiana Family Resources
Clint C. GallianoJJRA, LLC
Since we currently cannot conduct eviction proceedings, (and to be honest, this is not the time to be evicting people unless you were already planning or in the process, more on that in a bit), I think it would be best to work with your tenant to see what they can pay, and accept that with the understanding that the balance is still owed. You can work out a repayment schedule over, say, 10 months or so, starting in May. This gives the current craziness time to settle down and should make the payments small enough so that it does not wreck their budget. This assumes your tenant is staying with you long-term.
Additionally, you should get this repayment agreement written up as an addendum to your lease. This will provide a paper trail of it.
***DISCLAIMER*** I am not an attorney and I do not play one on the internet. Please consult your attorney for proper legal phrasing.
Now, if you were already in the process of evicting someone or preparing to, one option you can try is “Cash for Keys”. This is obviously not without cost, but could possibly give you a quicker resolution than waiting to evict them. The way cash for keys works is that you offer the tenant you want to leave a lumps sum dollar value to vacate the property, leaving it in undamaged clean condition, within a certain number of days. You frame it to them as something to help them find a home that better suits them. And, unless there is already a lot of damage to the property, give them back their full deposit to expedite the process. This will help to keep them from damaging the property before leaving.
How are y’all real estate businesses doing?