Tenants are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic (with some struggling even before the pandemic hit us). But landlords are also not safe from the pandemic. They have to struggle with their loans, mortgages, and expenses incurred by the apartment complexes. While the government released stipends, stimulus checks, and aid packages to help their citizens, the only thing this did was to halt the evictions. The problem remains: how can they afford their rent in the future?
And then, there’s another problem: landlords are also victims of the pandemic. They also lost income while they were still paying their apartment building loans and taxes. Although the government is also trying to help small business owners and even landlords so that they can survive, the pandemic was brutal to everyone concerned. But although landlords had it bad, imagine how much worse the situation is on the tenants who are barely getting by?
Talk with the Tenants
How would you know what your tenants are facing if you don’t talk to them about it? Find out what situations your tenants are in. What can they offer you in exchange for their rent? Can you use the deposit and advance that they paid when they first moved in? Are they agreeable to that? What other concessions can you provide so that you can ease their burden?
Of course, you have to protect your interests, too. Ask them when they think they can pay their rent. Perhaps, you can even offer to lower their rate for the time being so you can help them make ends meet. For example, instead of the usually $1,500 a month in rental fees, you can lower it down to $1,200 until they get back on their feet.
Find Out What Options Are Available
Everyone will have different pressure points and buffers. For example, find out what policies are included in your insurance that can cover your situation right now. How about the concessions that your bank is offering in terms of loan repayments? Ask your tenants to do the same. This way, you can find out what options you both can take that will be a win-win situation for you or at least a semblance of a win-win situation. Both of you will lose a significant amount of income because of the pandemic.
Hire an Agent to Handle the Problem
If you are not a savvy negotiator, perhaps you need to hire an apartment manager or a letting agent to handle all communications with the tenants. However, to ensure that the tenants are not being harassed to pay their rent, tell the agent to clear all decisions with you first. While you want to get paid, you also don’t want to evict tenants nor push them to do bad things to pay their rent. If some of your tenants have been with you for a long time, then that’s a good reason to be more lenient toward them.
Offer to Help Your Tenants
The pandemic brought out the best in people. Nurses care for COVID-19 patients alone in their rooms, and neighbors share food with those who lost their jobs. Friends let each other borrow money, and business owners refuse to take the easy way out to continue employing their workers.
If you can afford it, offer to help them out by deferring their rent payments for a couple of weeks. You can also not impose penalties anymore whenever they pay late. As long as they try to pay their rent, that’s a good enough concession for landlords, especially during this time.
Share Your Experiences and Opportunities
What have you done in the past 18 months that helped you survive the pandemic? Maybe you can share that with your tenants. Did you apply for a remortgage? Will that help their current status? If they are also running a small business, you can give them tips on how to handle their finances and taxes amid the pandemic. Many smaller companies don’t know how to maximize their tax deductions. Perhaps, you can give them an idea of how to get more bang out of their hard-earned money.
It’s a tough time for everyone, but it’s also the best time to be the best version of yourself for others. If you have the power to help others, then why not take the chance? Simply deferring the rent payment for a month will give your tenants such a respite. It will make such a huge difference in their lives. Imagine that by just tightening your belt for a month, you would have given a family or two a good night’s sleep.