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This is a question we hear from DIY Landlords all the time, and we are receiving more inquires than ever in the wake of COVID-19. Investors are becoming increasingly impacted by non-payment of rent as stay-at-home orders are extending, eviction bans remain active, and unemployment continues to mount.
Let’s cover some of the basics that every landlord needs to be able to navigate if their monthly rent stops coming.
1. Communicate with your tenant
Once you know what your tenant’s exact financial situation is, you’ll be able to come to a resolution. This helps you to establish the reason for non-payment, and gives you the ability to decide on how to move forward. Ask the important questions, but don’t forget that tone is important.
2. Document your correspondence
Always document. Tenant changes, concessions, addendums, etc. should always be recorded. Documentation is even more sound if e-signatures are obtained from both parties on any documentation.
3. Know the latest federal and local legislature
It is imperative that you are following both federal and local updates. For example, we know that Florida Executive Order 20-94 suspending evictions for 45 days is scheduled to end May 17th unless extended. Landlords should be following these updates closely.
4. Execute a realistic plan to get back on track
Once you have successfully documented your communication with your tenant, you can begin to formulate a plan of action. For example, if you’ve found out that your tenant’s hours are temporarily cut, but are expected to resume once stay-at-home orders are lifted, you may decide to allow reduced payments for a short period of time, followed by resumption of normal rent payment and added installments until rent is brought up to date. If the tenants indicate that they are likely to be unable to pay for an extended period, remember evictions are currently halted. You will need to weigh the decision on if it is best to let them break the lease and try to re-market the home. You must think strategically and remember to be compassionate.
5. Consult a professional property manager
You should always consult a professional property manager and lawyer to ensure all forms and courses of action are legally sound. Property Management companies involved in the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) will be the leaders of information and action plans during this time. If you are a DIY Landlord, and you still aren’t sure which steps you need to take to protect yourself when your tenant has not paid their rent, we are here to help. You can call or text us anytime at 904.830.4157 or email me at Kris@greenriverpm.com.