What can Landlords and Property Managers do during the Coronavirus to help tenants
Most of us are currently living in unprecedented times. The Coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm and is affecting us in many ways. The state and federal government are taking steps to prevent the virus from spreading exponentially. It has been declared a national emergency. This pandemic is already affecting tenants. Many of them aren’t able to work and are already experiencing financial distress. There are a few things landlords and property managers can do to help tenants at this time.
Be Flexible With Rent Payments
It would be morally wrong and possibly even dangerous to evict tenants who can’t pay rent during this pandemic. We don’t want any more displaced people in the world. The virus will definitely spread faster if people are misplaced. If they are able to live with family members or friends, they will not be able to practice social distancing and isolation. Churches and many alternate housing residences aren’t even open. Landlords and property managers should be flexible with their tenants at this time. Some landlords are taking it upon themselves to offer leniency to their tenants. A couple states, California and New York, have already mandated flexibility and have passed laws that state landlords and property managers cannot file for eviction because of non-payment of rent right now. In addition, many courthouses are closed anyhow.
Don’t Schedule Preventative Maintenance Work Unless Absolutely Necessary
Many landlords and property managers schedule preventative maintenance for their rental properties in the spring. Landscaping cleanup and lawn services are one example. Some landlords and property managers have the furnaces and air conditioners in the properties cleaned and checked. We are supposed to be practicing social distancing and isolation. Landlords should not be scheduling this work to be done right now.
Honor Tenant’s Requests For No Showings
If your property or the property you manage is for rent right now, and there are tenants living in the property, you should be accommodating if the tenants request that there be no showings during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, if the property is occupied, you should voluntarily put the properties on a temporarily no showing status. Again, we are all supposed to be practicing social distancing and isolation. Tenants shouldn’t be required to have other agents and prospective tenants looking at the property they are living in at this time.
Help Tenants Seek Financial Assistance
Landlords and property managers should offer their tenants avenues in which to seek financial help so they can continue to pay rent or partial rent. They can provide them with information on applying for unemployment and other government aid, grants and the like. Utility companies have programs available to those who can’t pay their bills. Churches may have financial assistance available. Landlords and property managers can point their tenants in the direction of food banks and schools that are providing meals.
It’s understandable that property owners have to pay property taxes, mortgage payments and homeowner’s association dues. It’s just a matter of time that there will be financial assistance extended to property owners, as well. These are uncertain times for sure. It’s time to pull together and help each other. People need to be flexible, creative and lenient in instances where there is great financial stress. We will get through this.