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If Your Tenants Can't Pay Rent

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

With April now here, you are at a crucial point as a landlord. Your tenants have already paid April rent, or if that check still hasn't arrived, you need to take a proactive approach in reaching out to them. Talk to your tenants about their ability to pay rent this month and beyond. Now that social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have been extended, this issue will only become more prevalent in the next few weeks.

Negotiate with your tenants to find out how much of their rent they can pay. Perhaps that's half, perhaps that's less. Whatever that amount is, getting a payment commitment and collecting that check is important, while offering to prorate the balance across future months. For example, if rent is $700 and your tenant is able to pay $400 now, offer to prorate the $300 balance across June and July, and offer to waive late fees

and penalties as a vote of good faith (In some areas, this is also mandated through emergency legislation, so check your local resources to determine this.) Keep in mind that their situation will not improve for May, so there's no point in punting repayment to May. Take a proactive approach and try to parcel out any outstanding balances starting in June or even July, depending on how impacted your area is. There may be rent assistance programs your city or county your tenants may qualify for. You may want to research them and provide them as resources to help get your rent paid in a timely manner.

Many states are imposing a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, so even if you wanted to evict for nonpayment, you wouldn't be able to. You would also be hard-pressed to find a new tenant to move into the property while this situation is going on, so your best option is to be flexible and work with the tenants you already have in place. Plus, it's the right thing to do---we are all currently being impacted by this!

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