These are trying times for tenants and landlords. Because of the economic downturn, almost 40 million Americans have lost their jobs, and the unemployment claims continue to surge. Meanwhile, many Americans who haven’t lost jobs have lost a significant portion of their income. As of September 5, 26 million Americans have required some form of benefits from the government.
This crisis has had a severe impact on the rental market. Tenants are struggling to pay rent. And without rental checks, landlords are struggling to pay their mortgages, as well as other business costs like taxes, maintenance, upkeep, and more.
As a landlord, you’re in a dilemma. On the one hand, you understand the extraordinary difficulties your renters face. On the other, you must meet your operational expenses or risk losing your rental property business.
At Summit A*R, we’re considered commercial and residential tenant collection specialists and have countless rent recovery success stories across the United States. We’re here to offer some advice to landlords who are dealing with this COVID-19 economic crisis.
Remember to Communicate
Start from a place of compassion. Your renters don’t want to lose their homes. If they’re unable to pay rent because of the pandemic, ask them to give proper notice. In many cities, it’s the law. Please work with renters who can’t pay the total rent to develop a payment plan based on their income loss.
For instance, if they lost half their income, then offer a reduction until they’ve recovered. After all, some rental income is better than no rental income. However, check with your municipality before making this an official legal agreement. In some cities, it’s illegal to ask a tenant to sign a payment plan.
Learn Local Laws
As a landlord, you must be aware of all laws that apply to your rental property business. Usually, most regulations are found on state or city websites. Arm yourself with information before you take any action. For instance, many states have issued temporary bans on evictions.
Even if you evict, you won’t replace a tenant quickly in the current economic climate. Only put eviction on the table as a final resort. Give every concession possible to good tenants who have a history of timely rental payments.
Verify If You Can
While most renters are genuinely facing a nightmare, a minority of tenants have taken advantage of the situation by refusing to pay rent when their employment situation remains unchanged. If local laws allow, ask for verification when your tenant says that they can’t pay rent.
A renter who has lost all income should be able to defer their payment or qualify for an abatement, but a tenant who is still employed should still pay some or all their rent.
Get Financial Help
Consider reaching out to your lender for some flexibility on your mortgage payments to avoid defaulting. Alternatively, check if your rental property business qualifies for loans. For example, the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) provides disaster relief funds at the rate of 3.75% for up to 30 years. Your rental property business could qualify for this disaster relief if it has employees. If you offer financial comfort to your tenants, then you may also be eligible for other low-interest loans set up by several organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Get Quality Renters for Commercial Vacancies
If you’re trying to fill commercial vacancies, then read these tips to help you stay on top of renters during the pandemic. Screen the applicants carefully. Conduct background checks by asking for identification, employment verification, credit reports, and reference letters if legally allowed by local governments. Look into the business to see if it’s a good fit for your commercial property.
These steps are essential if you’re looking for a reliable commercial renter. Such a tenant will respect your property and pay their rent on time. Their business will help your rental property business weather this economic storm.
Partner with The Right Debt Collection Agency
If you need help navigating rent collection during this COVID-19 economic crisis, then you should partner with the right debt collection agency. There are over eight thousand debt collection agencies in the United States, according to IBISWorld. However, not all are suited to rent recovery. Many agencies are either inexperienced or don’t take the right approach. A minority of debt collectors use underhanded tactics to collect rent. Not only is this exceptionally cruel in the current climate, but it’s also against the law. Over the years, the Federal Trade Commission (F.T.C.) has blacklisted and fined several debt collectors for using illegal tactics.
As a debt collection agency with a “P.H.D. Philosophy” (Preserve Human Dignity), we’re different from other agencies. We take a pragmatic approach to the debt collection process by treating your renter with humanity and respect. We use no unethical or aggressive tactics. Our goal is to help renters understand that settling their debt is in their own best interest.
Our methods are highly effective. We’ve been in the business for twenty-four successful years and counting. What’s more, we have twice the national average recovery rate across a wide range of industries, including the rental property industry.
We know that most tenants want to pay their rent. They love their homes and understand that their landlords are in a financial crunch. With our help, tenants that owe rent find a manageable solution.
Collect Rent without Becoming the Bad Guy
Whether you’re a commercial or a residential landlord, collect rent without becoming the bad guy when you partner with Summit A*R. We have tools to collect revenue when all other options have been exhausted. For instance, we have a skip-tracing department run by a licensed private investigator that can find a debtor and their assets.
We can motivate debtors to meet their obligations through credit bureau reporting. And when that doesn’t work, we also offer full-scale litigation services with a qualified attorney’s assistance as a last resort for difficult-to-collect accounts.
Of course, we only take these special steps with your permission. We also ensure that we follow all local, state, and federal rules because the guidelines for tenant debt collection are fluid during this healthcare crisis.
If you need help, then get in touch with one of our tenant debt recovery specialists as soon as possible. With our assistance, you can legally and ethically collect your rent and put your rental property business on the road to recovery.