How does COVID-19 affect landlords?

The CARES Act expired…What Now?

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act expired on July 31 and has not yet been extended.

However, the moratorium on evictions issued by the NM Supreme Court is still in place and will remain so until lifted by the NM Supreme Court. At this point, there is no indication of when that may happen.

What Does the President’s Executive Order Mean for Property Owners?

The recent executive order does not contain specific guidance related to evictions.  In general, the order calls on other federal agencies to address the issues. See the full text by clicking on the link in the Helpful Resources box above, but here is a summary of the relevant parts of the executive order.

“It is the policy of the United States to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, residential evictions and foreclosures during the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency.”

The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of CDC will determine if measures to temporarily halt residential evictions for failure to pay rent are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development will consider providing funding and financial assistance to those experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 and review existing authorities and resources that may help to prevent foreclosures and evictions.

The Rental Market by the Numbers

  • Rents have decreased by 4% nationally each month since April.
  • Major cities have seen an average tenant loss of 10%.
  • March, April, and May have been the lowest months historically for occupancy.
  • Multi-family properties declined in occupancy compared to single family houses due to fear of inner city living, space for working at home, and loss of income.

What can landlords do?

Doing something to help alleviate some of their economic strain can go along way in making your tenants feel like you understand their situation. These are hard times and if you can support your tenants, you will be less likely to end up with unpaid rent and vacancies.

Major incentives are being used for renewals:

  • Free month of rent is trending and very effective in keeping occupancy up in your rental properties. For those that can’t afford to give a free month of rent, some landlords are offering partial rent concessions of 30-40% for their tenants.

Other things you can do include:

  • Allow deferred payment arrangements
  • Allow for lower rent in exchange for a longer lease
  • Waive late fees, pet fees, online transaction fees, metered service fees, etc.
  • Provide your tenants with care packages of toilet paper, gift cards, basic grocery staples, etc.

Keeping Common Areas Safe During COVID-19

This is a challenging time for everyone and keeping your staff and tenants safe is a priority, but it can be challenging to know exactly what changes can and should be made. The best piece of advice we can give is to communicate clearly with your tenants. Let them know what you are doing and how it will impact them.

It can help to share guidance and mandates from your state and local government in a public area so that everyone has the same information. Remind tenants (and staff) to stay home whenever possible and to wear face coverings when they are in common areas where they will be coming into contact with other people.

Clean & Disinfect Common Areas Often

– Train all employees on proper cleaning procedures (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html) so that all additional cleaning doesn’t fall to a couple of staff members.

– Clean all surfaces at least daily and all high-touch surfaces 2-3 times daily. Create a schedule to ensure that all surfaces are cleaned regularly.

– Make sure that you are providing cleaning products that kill viruses (it will say this on the bottle) and that all cleaning products are being used in the appropriate concentrations.

– All bathrooms and sinks must be cleaned regularly. Check daily to assure that all soap dispensers are full.

Modify Shared Spaces

– Consider implementing maximum capacity limits or closing common areas in your rental community. This would include areas like: laundry rooms, pools, fitness centers, elevators, mail rooms, trash rooms, and other recreational areas.

– For areas that can’t be closed, like the laundry room, consider creating a schedule to help reduce crowding and frustration.

– Limit the number of people allowed in the elevator. You can post signs and put tape markings on the floor to help people to maintain physical distance.

– Move outdoor tables and chairs at least 10 feet apart so that your tenants can enjoy outdoor spaces safely.

– Provide hand sanitizer in common areas.

Other Ways to Help Keep Your Staff and Tenants Safe

– Cancel unnecessary group events and meetings.

– Allow employees to work remotely, if possible.

– Rearrange work spaces and areas where tenants come in contact with staff to encourage physical distancing.

– Encourage your employees to stay home if they are sick or not feeling well.

Please share any other ideas you have for keeping your common spaces clean and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to Book Great Airbnb Guests


 

It can be exciting when you see a reservation request come through for your Airbnb property, but you don’t want to accept the reservation without doing a little research first.

Obviously you don’t want to be too picky, but you also want to make sure that you’re comfortable with guests that stay in your rental and that they are good care of your space.

Before accepting a reservation, here’s a quick checklist for you to run through just to give you confidence in your potential guests.

Review Their Profile

You want to look for complete profiles that include a picture. Some newer Airbnb users haven’t figured out their profiles yet, so if you still want to give them a chance you can ask for them to complete their profile and ask them to complete the verified ID process.

As further verification, check the reviews they’ve gotten from other hosts, but also check reviews that they have given. Sometimes you can get a better feel for the guest when you read the reviews that they have given their past hosts. If they are particularly rude or nit-picky, they might be more trouble than they’re worth.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

It’s important that your guests are a good fit for you and for the space that you are renting. To make sure that you and your property will be a good fit, ask your guests questions that allow them to talk about themselves a little bit. You can also find out some additional information about their trip this way.

Having this conversation with your prospective guests will give you a better feeling about whether they are a good guest for you. You can make sure that you are comfortable with them and also allow you to have some extra information that will help you know if your rental is the right fit for them.

Check Out Their Social Media Profiles

If you still aren’t sure about a prospective guest, most people have some kind of social media account that you can check out. This is the time to put your stalking skills to the test. Do a little research to make sure that the information in their profile matches the info that you find on social media.

Really, you just want to know that the person is who they say they are, that they’re going to respect you and your space, and that they are going to give you a fair review in the end.

One final note, in order to make sure that you are getting quality guests to stay in your rental, you need to have some deal breakers.

Deal Breakers

  1. Don’t book guests that try to negotiate prices with you. Virtually all Airbnb hosts have had negative experiences with people who try to negotiate right from the start.
  2. Don’t book guests that ask you a lot of questions about details that you covered in your explanation of your space. It is important that guests read and pay attention to the details of your property. If they can’t read the basic explanation, you can’t be confident that they are going to read and follow the policies in your house manual.
  3. Don’t book guests that don’t communicate well in the message thread. You want guests that are accessible and communicate well. If they are giving you one-word answers or not answering your questions, chances are they won’t be an easy guest to work with.