When a landlord has a responsible tenant, who respects their property and always pays their rent on time, everybody’s life is easier. There are rights and responsibilities on both sides. Even the most experienced landlord is going through something new, as we are currently living in an unprecedented situation that requires different approaches.
Like so many things, finding an ideal tenant becomes harder during a pandemic, and there are a host of other issues. Here are a few useful tips for landlords to help you out during the pandemic.
Tenant Selection is About Calculating Financial Risk
Any time you’re selecting a tenant, you need to feel confident that they can afford to pay their rent. However, this takes on new importance during a pandemic, when job-loss is soaring.
If you work with a leading property management company in the city, they’ll sift through the applications and do much of the selection work for you. All you’ll have to do is pick from a list of vetted candidates.
Working with a turnkey property management company allows you to sit back, confident that people with a ton of local real estate experience are handling your needs.
Give Yourself a Cushion
Being a landlord always involves risk. The money you pay upfront needs to be paid back over time, plus the profit you’re netting.
During a pandemic, it’s a good idea to have at least six months’ rent in your possession in case there is an unforeseen problem with a tenant. People are out of work through no fault of their own. In a time of uncertainty, it’s better to be over-prepared than face the consequences if something goes wrong.
Talk to Your Tenants
Should a payment problem ever arise due to COVID-19, the best thing you can do is talk to your tenant and try to arrive at a mutually satisfactory arrangement. If a tenant struggles to pay their full rent, perhaps you can temporarily reduce the rent or make some other plan to accommodate them.
From your end, it’s much better to have some rent than none. You also don’t want to have a vacant unit during a pandemic, nor do you want to have to evict somebody.
No matter how well your tenants have been screened, people are experiencing a wide range of financial pressures — if a payment problem should arise during the pandemic, the best thing you can do is communicate openly with your tenants and work it out between yourselves.
Know the Law
All landlords should be familiar with the Residential Tenancies Act, but it takes on new importance when laws are changing and constantly in flux during COVID-19. The laws cover everything from when landlords can enter the premises, how evictions are served, and how rents can be increased.
While it’s essential to know these laws, partnering with a property management company gives you access to experienced handlers who know them inside and out, even as they change.
Owning an investment property can be an effective way to make income. Just keep these above tips in mind during the pandemic and beyond.