The Moratorium on Evictions: What You Can Do as a Landlord
Since the nationwide moratorium on evictions was established last year, things have been topsy-turvy for a lot of landlords — especially ones who rely on their rental income to support themselves.
Recently the Supreme Court struck down extending the moratorium, but certain states continue to have their own ban on evictions. It’s definitely a frustrating time to be a landlord, especially if you have not yet been able to receive federal aid, but you have a few options.
- Do your research
Real estate is local — that includes laws about evictions and rental property. Certain states are more “tenant-friendly,” while other states are more “landlord-friendly.” When searching the Internet for information, keep your searches focused on your state.
Here is a handy link that serves as a quick reference for what the moratorium situation is, state by state: https://www.nolo.com/evictions-ban
- Get help from an attorney
Because laws surrounding eviction can be complicated, especially in these unprecedented times, it’s a good idea to get the help of an attorney. This is especially true if you are currently dealing with unpaid rent and/or difficult tenant behavior as a result of the moratorium (some tenants, unfortunately, have taken advantage of the fact they can’t be evicted for failure to pay rent).
If your tenant has violated your lease in respects other than failing to pay rent and is uncooperative, there may still be a legal road to eviction. In this worst-case scenario, an attorney can help you navigate the details.
- Look into your local apartment owner’s association, or real estate investment groups
These organizations will have the most relevant and up-to-date resources for you and will help you to know what your options are. Being part of an organization also means feeling supported, and less isolated.
- Don’t go to an eviction court without an attorney
In normal times the eviction process, in most places, is fairly straightforward and doesn’t require the help of an attorney while in court.
Since these are not normal times, the wisest thing to do if you are able to/wish to process an eviction is to be sure you have an attorney with you when you go to court. The additional expense is worth mitigating the potential headache you could face.
- Look into non-profit rental assistance programs for your tenants
In an ideal situation, your tenant is able to stay while you are still able to receive compensation for rent. This arrangement benefits both parties and provides the most peace of mind.
Unfortunately, the recent federal aid that’s been intended to help with rental assistance has been slow to roll out, and the process has been both bureaucratic and complicated. In the meantime, it may make sense to instead look into smaller, non-profit programs to help your tenants qualify for rental assistance.
Not every tenant will be motivated or able to qualify, but ideally most will — especially with a bit of initial guidance on your end. Good communication and trust are vital between landlord and tenant, and this includes giving resources to your tenant wherever possible.
Starting looking for opportunities by searching your zip code here: https://www.rentassistance.us/.
No one foresaw the COVID-19 pandemic, nor the rippling economic consequences. Part of being a real estate investor includes the risk that events such as this may occur.
It also involves being prepared and taking advantage of any available resources. With any luck, the tide will turn before too long and you will be able to continue maintaining your real estate investments.