Though we are only a few months into weathering the coronavirus pandemic, it has effectively changed life as we know it. Below are some tips that can help you maintain a positive landlord-tenant relationship during these tough times.
First things first: remember that, to your tenants, you are in a leadership position. You control one of the most important aspects of their lives—their housing—and that means that, like it or not, you are a voice in their community that they will turn to for guidance and reassurance. Keeping this frame of mind will help you stop thinking of yourself as a victim on a sinking ship, and start thinking of yourself as a leader guiding the way through a dark tunnel. While you don’t have more answers than anyone else does, you can corral the troops, so to speak.
If you have not already done so, send an email to your tenants alerting them to the measures and precautions you are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should also use this as an opportunity to assuage fears, open the lines of communication, and address tenant concerns. Let your tenants know that, though you have not yet finalized a plan for addressing rental defaults, they will not be kicked out onto the street overnight if they cannot make rental payments. If citizens start to think they might lose everything very quickly, it could result in mass hysteria, which will only negatively impact you (and everyone else in your community) even further.
As we stated above, there is no one blanket way to address the financial impact of the pandemic. The actions you take will depend on your city and state ordinances, personal feelings, budget, current tenant relationship, and estimation of the future. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and that every other property owner in your city is facing the same questions. Reach out to local housing committees and state housing boards to discuss your options regarding funding and rent collection. You might work with local and federal government agencies to help your tenants find aid; work out a repayment plan once the crisis is past; waive late fees; or take some other course of action.
Without knowing you personally, can’t tell you how to manage your financial situation amidst this crisis. But what we can tell you from our experience in property management is that good tenants are worth their weight in gold. If you have tenants who are pleasant to interact with, timely with rent payments, respectful of your property, and respectful of their neighbors, it might be financially worth more in the long run to keep them than to replace them. “Good tenants” are actually saving you a lot of money in property damage repair, pest extermination costs, cleaning and trash pickup, and more; whilst bad tenants can often be an endless hole of frustration and lost revenue. For these reasons, sending out a panicked letter stating that you expect your rental payments come hell or high water might damage your long-term profitability more than it helps it.
Barker Realty, Inc. is a full-service real estate brokerage firm with more than thirty years of Raleigh NC property management experience. To set up a consultation appointment with one of our skilled representatives, click here.
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