If you’re a renter trying to struggle through the current COVID-19 pandemic, we know things are uncertain and stressful right now. We’re all feeling it. Today, we want to share some tips on how you can get through this current pandemic and how you can use what we know about crisis management to handle any future global emergencies (may they be infrequent and far away).
Hopefully, your management company or landlord is reaching out to you with resources and support. If not, consider contacting us. RentSimpli is a full-service Southern California property management company specializing in single-family homes, townhouses, condos, mobile homes, small commercial buildings and small apartments.
Rights and Responsibilities: Tenant Guidance
Most of our Riverside county and San Diego tenants are feeling more than a little stressed and emotional. You might have lost your job, or maybe you’re working in a hospital or a medical facility and you’re constantly feeling like you’re in danger. Perhaps you’re working fewer hours for less money. Whatever you’re forced to deal with right now, give yourself some space and take good care of yourself physically and emotionally. Take care of your family members and reach out to friends.
Once you are feeling like you can tackle the important issues requiring your attention, start making the necessary phone calls.
Talk to your landlord or your property manager. If you’re able to continue paying rent, we recommend that you do so. It means you won’t fall behind and you won’t be in danger of accruing late fees and other expenses. When you take responsibility for your rental payments and continue making them, you’re also allowing your landlord to provide more help for the tenants who are truly struggling and without any kind of income or savings.
As you know, there’s a ban on evictions until the end of May. You won’t be evicted if you cannot pay the rent this month or next month. But, if everyone stops paying rent, it’s going to be hard to prevent mass evictions in the future. That’s not good for any of us. If you’re still employed, please maintain as much normalcy as possible. Pay your rent. Pay your utility bills. Help your loved ones and your community in any way that you can.
If you find you are under extreme financial stress and you cannot make your next rent payment, talk to your landlord or property manager. You’ll need to put something in writing that documents your financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic. Submit that to your landlord or property manager and have a transparent discussion about your situation and how you plan to recover in the coming weeks and months.
A good landlord will work with you. Together, you can put together a payment plan or work something out. It’s not uncommon to find tenants and their landlords coming to a resolution that protects all parties and keeps everyone at least a few steps ahead of any financial collapse.
Preparing an Emergency Plan for Future Crises
It’s hard to think about what could possibly be coming next. But, this COVID-19 pandemic is clearly going to be impacting us for a while. Part of the stress surrounding this emergency is that it’s ongoing and ever-changing. We don’t know what to expect.
The good news is, you can use this time to make an emergency plan for the future. This may help you feel a little more prepared and a little more resourceful. Some of the things that should go into your emergency plan include:
- Contact information for all state, local, and federal resources. This could include the hospital closest to you, all your medical contacts, the CDC, FEMA, and the California Department of Health.
- Contact information for your landlord or property manager, your renter’s insurance company, your banks and creditors, and all utility companies.
- A financial plan. Write out what you will do if you lose all your salary, part of your salary, or all your savings.
No one likes to think about worst case scenarios, but planning for them can help you get through the next pandemic, an earthquake, or a job loss.
How to Be a Valuable Tenant
Finally, do everything you can to be the sort of tenant that landlords enjoy having. All the stress and anxiety you feel is also being felt by the people around you. That includes your landlord. A good tenant will be open and honest and willing to communicate and take on as much responsibility as possible. Good tenants follow the lease terms and understand when non-emergency or cosmetic maintenance requests are put on hold.
You have a lot of opportunities to be a leader and a light during this crisis. Find the silver linings, and pitch in when you can. If you’re unemployed but your benefits are more than you expected, make a rental payment your first priority. If a neighbor is elderly and high-risk, grab some extra groceries and leave them outside. Be a socially-distant shoulder for people who are suffering to cry on.
We are here for you if you have any questions, contact us. RentSimpli is a full-service property management company serving landlords, investors and property owners in San Diego & Riverside Counties, with a specialty focus across Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, Fallbrook, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, La Mesa, El Cajon, and Chula Vista.