Top 5 Tips to Secure Lease Renewals as a Landlord
During this current coronavirus pandemic, there are many things that remain uncertain. Job security, access to healthcare, and being displaced from a home are all very real and unfortunately common issues that millions of people in the country are facing right now. For landlords/property managers, these issues are far too close to home. Not only is your income reliant upon others’ ability to make monthly rent payments, but your livelihood is at risk due to the high numbers of people unemployed, and thus unable to pay rent. In this time of uncertainty, securing a lease renewal can seem both overwhelming and nearly impossible.
When the coronavirus started to impact the United States, financial experts feared that large spikes in unemployment would result in millions being unable to pay rent and face homelessness. Despite the initial concern, most Americans had paid their rent in April, a total of 89.2%, down four percentage points since April of last year. Due to the uncertainty of when the country will resume normalcy and job insecurity, more and more people are prioritizing paying rent above many other necessities, but this doesn’t mean that landlords/property managers should relax about securing lease renewals.
Are you a landlord/property manager that has been recently affected by the coronavirus pandemic? Looking for ways to both secure lease renewals and help your tenants at the same time? Follow these five tips!
Flexible Lease Terms
With national recommendations and state government restrictions, many of your tenants could potentially be out of work, or working significantly less than prior to the pandemic depending on the industry they work in. Because of this, a consistent income is not guaranteed, and maintaining a balanced budget can be difficult for your tenant. Keeping these factors in consideration, make an effort to be flexible about the terms of your various tenants’ leases. Depending on the person and their individual circumstances, conjure up a lease that makes sense for them and their situation. Brittany Benz suggests, “One way you can ease the burden on your residents is to offer flexible lease terms, such as 6-month or 4-month leases, or allowing them to temporarily renew month-to-month. That way instead of losing a potential renewal during the immediate crisis, you can let them renew as they normally would in a few months.”
Keep in Touch with Residents
Now, more than ever, it’s important to show your tenants and residents that you care. No one wants to be viewed as simply a commodity, but rather, a person first. Though everyone is in a tight situation due to the pandemic, it still means a lot to value and show compassion toward your residents. Reach out to them, whether it be through an email, a video call, or a letter, and ask them how they are doing. Ask them what you can do as a property manager/landlord to make their life easier. Do routine check-ins and inquire about their lease, and when they would like to renew it. Doing this gives your tenants a feeling of security and will help you secure a renewal.
Stay Informed on Industry News
The coronavirus pandemic is a constantly evolving situation, which means as a landlord/property manager, you need to stay on top of news in the industry regarding certain restrictions, business closings, etc. Why is this important? All of what is happening now can and most likely is affecting your residents, which means it can affect you as well. Reference different real estate websites and visit the Covid-19 Resource Center for tips on how to manage and support both your business and your tenants.
Consider Flat Renewals
Though you are managing a business and trying to maintain a steady income as a property manager/landlord, in these trying times, it can be better for business and your tenants to offer flat lease renewals. What is that exactly? A flat renewal means you keep the same price of rent/expenses for the upcoming lease renewal as the current one. Typically, these prices can change due to insurance rates or increases in the cost of running the units, but having a flat renewal can further secure your tenants’ renewal while showing them your support.
Bring the Renewal to the Tenant
Due to social distancing recommendations and certain restrictions, many tenants/residents will not be able to meet in person to renew their lease. To make it easier for your tenants, consider offering the option of renewing the lease online. This not only makes it easier for your residents, but it takes some stress off of your shoulders as everything is taken care of online!
The coronavirus has shaken up the world as we know it. As a landlord/property manager, it can be scary not knowing whether or not your tenants will have the financial ability to pay rent, however with these few tips, you can help them secure a lease renewal while maintaining your business!