This is an unprecedented time in the US rental housing market. The COVID-19 virus is disrupting real estate operations everywhere, with growing uncertainty up and down the chain. How many tenants have been furloughed from their jobs? How likely is it they will be able to continue to pay rent, and for how long? What options are available to cash-strapped tenants and landlords?
If you're a tenant who now needs to figure out how to make your rent payment … or a landlord who must determine how to collect rent, ease tenant anxiety, and rethink rents moving forward … where do you turn?
At Rentometer, we have the most current rental market data to help you understand what's going on in the rental market. Our system compiles rental listing information from a variety of sources every single day and adds it to our comprehensive database. You have access to an up-to-the-minute, QuickView summary when you search for current rental rates in and around your property's address.
While we don't presume to be experts in tenant behavior, the data we gather and assemble gives you a snapshot of the current climate. Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, our goal is to help you navigate this uncertain time and maintain your course until the future looks brighter – and more stable.
According to the "Pandemic Guide for Real Estate Management," produced by the Institute of Real Estate Management, strong and regular communication is critical to help tenants during this time. The Institute offers a tenant communication advisory for landlords to follow to share information about their actions to ensure tenant safety and security. Also sharing, what tenants need to know if their income (and thus their ability to pay rent) is affected due to the pandemic.
The biggest challenge to renting and managing the property is keeping everyone calm. When tenants think their housing is on the line because of their financial hardship, their frustration and stress can lead to hard feelings and poor communication between tenants and property managers.
For the property manager, the best course of action is to stay calm and cooperative and give your tenants a chance to do the same. This approach will help everyone through this period of uncertainty with less anxiety and a clearer path to move forward.
Collecting What’s Owed
Many states have put a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic. See our previous post about actions you can take during an eviction freeze. As a landlord, collecting rent must still be your number one priority so you can continue to operate and maintain the property. After all, without rent, the inescapable fact is that many landlords and property owners can't pay the mortgage on their rental property.
After you've communicated with tenants about current expectations, flexibility is crucial to maintain constructive tenant relationships. If you can afford to be lenient with your tenants, now may be the best time to show some understanding. In many states, tenants must submit hardship paperwork to qualify rent forgiveness; for example, in Los Angeles, CA, tenants need to document their financial impact from COVID-19 to start receiving support.
Setting New Rental Rates
If you have tenants who are moving out, you want to do your best to get your property leased again. Be sure to do a rent rate analysis using a tool like Rentometer to make sure your rental rate is still competitive. Due to the crisis, the real estate rental market is in a state of constant flux, and you may not be able to charge the same rent you did last year at this time.
From Brick Underground, Adam Frisch, managing principal at Lee & Associates Residential NYC, says, "Landlords are likely to show some flexibility now…It would behoove landlords to at least consider month-to-month for at least one month after expiration, just as a courtesy because there may be some difficult times ahead."
Rentometer is here as a resource for rental property owners, property managers, and investors to apply the most current data to make the best decisions possible when buying, selling, and setting rent rates for their properties.
The goal is to help you work through this pandemic with your tenants – to survive and get to the other side – smarter, stronger, and better prepared. The right tools will help you get there.
To see what the current rent rate is for your property, go to Rentometer.com and run an address search. The QuickView will give you the base rent details of your immediate area and how your rent stacks up against what's currently on the market.
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