Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many Floridians have found themselves out of work and struggling to make ends meet. In order to make sure that residents were not facing evictions in the middle of a global crisis, Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis signed an order authorizing an eviction moratorium that prevents landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent.
While this pandemic will pass, it is worth noting that there are many survival lessons landlords can learn from the present situation.
Eviction Ban Survival Tip #1: Develop A Relationship With Your Renters
It might sound simple, but a human touch is crucial when it comes to the survival of your property investments. The truth is, most renters have the desire to pay their rent on time, and when you have a relationship with renters you trust, you are more likely to be flexible. This is why making sure you properly vet and research your tenants is crucial, even outside of a pandemic or widespread disaster.
When you have a solid landlord-tenant relationship, you will find that being flexible will ease tension and increase the likelihood of you getting full payment (even if it has to come incrementally). Creating and sustaining a strong relationship will foster tenants who value paying rent and taking care of your property. This will help to curb your risk in the event that your tenants lose their source of income due to the pandemic.
What you can do to help your tenants:
Be Proactive! Check-in with your tenants to see if they are doing OK and let them know that you are available to them if they anticipate a loss of income.
Set up Payment Plans! This goes to being flexible, and not demanding that someone who has lost their job due to a global crisis pays you on the first if it means they won't be able to feed their family or keep their lights on.
Offer Deferments! If you can afford it, offer to allow your tenants to defer a month's rent to provide them with some financial relief.
Eviction Ban Survival Tip #2: Re-think (and Re-Write) Your Lease
When it comes to leasing agreements, they are like any other business contract in that you should review them often to make sure they are still relevant and applicable. As a landlord, you should consider adjusting your force majeure clauses ("act of God" stipulations) to take these new risks into account.
Also, consider ways to make your leasing agreements more appealing to current and prospective tenants. Think about relaxing your subleasing allowances, or even offering reductions within your agreements. You may also need to adjust your dispute resolution process considering that courts are closed--all the more reason for you to communicate with your tenants through a crisis.
Eviction Ban Survival Tip #3: Protect Your Property
Schedule time with your bank to determine the best course of action for you to protect your assets. You may find that you qualify for mortgage relief.
While there are relief options available to landlords who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus, you want to make sure that you look closely and consult a professional before selecting an option.
Are you trying to evict nonpaying tenants? Has Covid-19 caused you to stress over your rental properties? If you answered yes, you may need to consult with an attorney who specializes in evictions in Florida. Give our offices a call today at 786-504- 5760.
The information in this blog post has been provided for informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current laws in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from The Onyx Group, or the author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.