July 28, 2020

How To Deal with a Tenant’s Late Rent Payments During Covid-19

We’ve been left to adjust to a new normal due to COVID-19. Nearly 36 million Americans have lost their jobs, leaving many unable to pay rent and meet their monthly bills.  As a Property Manager, it’s imperative that your team has a plan in place in order to assist tenants during this time and manage late rent payments. There are many things to consider when figuring out how to deal with a tenant’s late rent payments while you’re focused on the many aspects of property management.

cement city building with calendar hung over building outside with a big "Rent Due" deadline in red ink for late rent payments
Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

Here are some tips to help you assist tenants.

These tips help make sure you receive rent on time while helping make your tenants feel comfortable that they made the right decision choosing your property as their home. 

Create a flexible payment plan

Most states have passed a temporary hold on rent payments, but you can go the extra mile and provide your tenants with payment options that allow them to make the smallest payments feasible, each month. When the temporary rent hold has been removed, tenants are not completely delinquent on rent and can continue to make timely payments. When using a reliable notification feature, you can keep communication with tenants seamless and set up reminders for rent payment and other supportive features. 

Housing assistance programs

Eviction bans can put your property at risk to non-rent payment from tenants. To prepare, research county or state housing assisting programs and join these programs now. Not only are you insured, but you are giving your tenants an extra layer of security as well.  Understand that many people are currently out of jobs and although they might have a savings account with money to meet rent payments, times are uncertain and they are more worried about securing those savings. Joining these housing programs gives you the flexibility to keep your property functioning, even if tenants are unable to pay on time for a while.  

Discounting rent effective immediately, or for tenants who resign. 

Since you are likely shutting down a lot of the amenities that make up for the current price most tenants are paying, you can offer to give tenants a lower rent rate to accommodate for them not being able to use certain amenities during this time. Lower rent might give tenants the opportunity to be able to pay on time. If you are unable to give an immediate discount to keep your units filled for the upcoming year, you can offer a rent incentive to motivate current paying tenants who want to resign. During this time most people might be looking to downsize or pay less for living due to the current uncertainty of jobs and the property ownership market. 

Using Security Deposits As a Safety Blanket

If you have tenants who paid up to a month or two in rent as their security deposit, you can offer them the option of forfeiting that security deposit in case they are unable to make rent during this time. This gives them the option to be current with their rent balance with an agreement that they plan to replenish the security payment in due time. 

Navigating Rent Payment Management

It’s a hard time for all, so being considerate, putting your tenants first, and finding solutions to help them navigate these hard times without the stress of losing their home, can not only help you retain these tenants for a longer period of time but build your property reputation in a positive way. 

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