How Landlords and Tenants Can Support Each Other During Coronavirus Struggles

Real estate agent giving home keys after a sale

There’s a lot of uncertainty and anxiety currently lingering throughout the world due to the coronavirus pandemic. Never in our lifetimes have we seen a disease that has brought the entire world to such a standstill. Because of the unprecedented crisis we’re facing, it’s normal that there have been repercussions felt within the economy.

These repercussions have put strain on many demographics and industries, one of them being landlords, who depend on their rental income for their livelihood. They may now find that they have tenants in financial difficulties because of the changing economic landscape. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how both landlords and tenants can support one another during the current crisis.

The Current State of Housing During COVID-19

First, let’s take a look at the current situation. The impacts of the pandemic have been far greater than just the medical implications. It’s possible that you have a tenant who has lost their job or had their income paused because of the lockdown. This will have ripple effects that impact landlords, who, of course, have their own bills to pay.

To ensure that the situation isn’t exacerbated, local and federal US governments have put measures in place to protect those who are struggling financially. For instance, in California and many other states, there is an eviction moratorium that prevents the eviction of tenants until at least May 31, and the federal CARES Act has also put a national pause on evictions.

While this is a tense period, it’s important that everyone act in a compassionate manner and help each other out. This goes for both tenants and landlords, even though they may have conflicting objectives. 

What Landlords Can Do

Landlords have options for staying financially stable while also offering leniency to tenants. The key is communicating. Ask your tenants how they’re doing, what their financial situation is, and if they will be able to have some or all of the rent payment ready on time. When possible, consider offering an extended payment plan, for renters to pay a reduced rate right now with payments set up to reimburse the full amount over the coming months.

As part of the stimulus package that was announced by the federal government, tenants will have a period to pay back rent owed without being evicted anyway, but it’s a good idea for you to get involved—not to meddle, but to hear your tenants’ situations and offer help.

Tenants who are unable to pay rent due to circumstances caused by COVID-19 are required to give written notice. If you work out payment plans between yourself and renters, it’s a good idea to get this in writing too in order to stay organized. If you have a property manager, they can help you to issue updated policies to your tenants as and when things change.

What Tenants Can Do

If you’re a tenant with concerns, then the first thing to do is understand the regulations in place and know your rights. Knowing what you need to do if you can’t pay rent (mainly giving written notice) will help you to move forward with the situation.

The next thing you should do is approach your landlord. It’s best to be sympathetic to their needs as well as your own. If you communicate respectfully and compassionately, then you’ll find that you’re able to come to an agreement that suits all parties.

For Everyone

There’s no easy solution to the situation we’re all facing. But treating one another with consideration will go a long way, especially when frustration and worry are running high.

A final resource both individuals and businesses can take advantage of is the outpouring of loans being offered to provide financial relief, some of which you can find here. Federal and state loans, increased unemployment payments, and other resources are available for those seeking financial relief.