Page 104 - AAGLA 2020-11
P. 104

 Property Management
Continued from page 102
From a macro perspective, the change that may impact the rental housing industry the most is this: the state of California has pushed its eviction moratorium into February, and it’s very possible this moratorium could be extended. This measure will no doubt provide necessary protection to people whose livelihoods have disappeared in the mass shutdowns, precluding them from affording rent. However, it also opens the door for tenants whose income hasn’t changed to act in bad faith and neglect their rent simply because they can without immediate consequence. Property managers need to prepare for this and take what measures they can to deter it.
Most of all, I suggest that all people uncertain of how to weather these unprecedented times stay calm — since worry for worry’s sake doesn’t help anybody — and remember not to let the state of things diminish our humanity toward one another. I encourage property managers to do everything in your power to continue serving clients and collecting rents without assuming the worst about tenants. And accordingly, I encourage tenants to understand that their rent is what allows property managers to maintain the quality of their environment. If we all do our part, we can ease the strain of this difficult time and come out of it improved.
  Develop your plan and share it. I recommend implementing a repayment plan for tenants who can’t pay full rent on time because of lost income due to the pandemic. Since developing and tracking a custom plan for each tenant on a case-by-case basis simply isn’t feasible, it’s best to craft a plan with two or three options that can apply to your entire tenant base.
 It is perfectly legal to ask tenants who cease paying rent to provide some form of documentation of the fact that their payment stoppage is a result of the pandemic. This may come as an email from an employer informing them of decreased hours, or a formal announcement of closure. It’s likely that many of your tenants will gladly provide proof. You can also ask for documentation that they’ve applied for unemployment insurance, and a current bank statement is fair play as well. They likely had to include one to apply for their lease, so it’s not farfetched to ask for one now. They may of course refuse, but there’s no harm in asking.
  David Crown is the Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles Property Management Group and has over 25 years of experience managing all types of income properties. He is a hands-on leader who has managed properties in 16 states, Mr. Crown has been asked to serve as an expert witness in property management matters, and currently serves on the Forbes Real Estate Council. He can be reached directly at (323) 616-1438.
(800) 931-6666
Similarly, in reviewing new tenant applications, property managers should seek out proof of payment from the tenant to their current landlord for the last month’s rent. Sometimes, a ringing endorsement from their current landlord isn’t quite what it seems — as I’ve touched upon before, I’ve seen landlords recommend tenants simply because they want to get rid of them. If a tenant applying to occupy one of your units can’t show that they’ve paid rent in recent months, it’s possible that they’ve neglected it in bad faith and have chosen to move now in order to avoid the consequences in the long term.

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