How a Global Emergency Affects Landlords & Property Management in OrlandoLiam Pool
If you’re a landlord renting out an Orlando property, you’re certainly feeling the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it’s natural to worry about rental income and evictions and staying afloat financially, the safety and well-being of our owners, investors, tenants, vendors, and community partners is always at the top of our priority list. We hope you and your loved ones are healthy, and we hope you are staying well.
Florida is under a stay-at-home order, and the economy has slowed. Many people are out of work or facing salary cuts and reduced hours. Many other people are still going to work to provide essential services such as healthcare, food delivery, and pushing along the supply chain. Everyone is under stress, and your tenants may be emotional.
Today we want to talk to you about what you can and can’t do when it comes to evictions and tenants who are unable to pay rent. We also want to give you some tips about how to be a good landlord. We’re asking all of our clients to remember that while this ongoing disaster is traumatic, coronavirus won’t be the center of our universe forever. Things will get back to normal, and tenants in central Florida will have a clear understanding of how their landlords respond to a crisis.
Florida’s 45-Day Eviction Ban
The governor signed an executive order on April 2, 2020, prohibiting evictions on residential tenants for 45 days. That means you cannot evict a tenant who has not paid rent until after the moratorium ends. Not only is there an eviction ban, there’s also the matter of courts being closed. In Orange County alone, there would be no way to file for an eviction and the sheriffs would not be available or willing to serve a Writ of Possession or remove a tenant from a property.
Eviction Moratorium with the CARES Act
There’s extra protection for tenants through the federal CARES Act, which provides stimulus relief to taxpayers and businesses who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic losses. Part of this law prohibits landlords from evicting tenants until mid-August, if the home those tenants are renting is backed by a federal mortgage program like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
If your mortgage is federally backed and you’re looking at the possibility of not receiving rent until August, we know how scary and frustrating that is. We know it has the potential to disrupt your own income stream and your long-term ROI. Talk to us about your options, and make sure you’re aware of and taking advantage of your own benefits as well. There’s mortgage relief available to many homeowners, and you may be able to negotiate something with your bank or lender.
Working with Tenants During COVID-19
It’s more important than ever that Orlando landlords communicate with their tenants or their property managers. Remember that this is an unusual situation. During normal business operations, staying consistent with rent collection and late fees is critical to your business success. But, during a global crisis like the coronavirus, everyone is required to re-evaluate their contracts and their unique situations. It’s important to be flexible now.
You may need to do what makes sense instead of what’s in your lease agreement.
If your tenant informs you that they’ve lost their job and they don’t know when they’ll be able to make a rent payment, talk about what they can do. Sure, there will be tenants who are eager to work the system and get away with whatever they can. For those renters, you can be first in line to file for eviction when it’s permitted again. But, we have found that most of your good tenants will be willing to compromise with you and come to some kind of agreement so that you at least get part of your rent coming in when it should.
Retaining your high quality tenants will be a priority going forward. The coronavirus recovery will have lasting effects, and we don’t know what the Orlando real estate and rental markets will look like for the rest of this year and into 2021. You don’t want to find yourself in the position of trying to find new tenants who are able to pay the rental rates you’re currently charging. It may be difficult, so give your current tenants a reason to stay in place. This is an essential part of your long-term strategy as an investor.
Things are changing all the time, and if you have any questions about your unique situation, we’re here to help you. Homevest Management provides expert Orlando property management, real estate, property rentals, and HOA management throughout Central Florida, including Winter Garden, Doctor Phillips, Baldwin Park, Winter Springs, and Windemere.
Contact us, and let us know how we can support you during this pandemic.