Pandemics of the caliber of the novel Coronavirus only come once in many, many decades—and thank goodness for that! However, smaller to medium-sized shocks to the world economy and general well-being do come along. It's sad that we still have to face these difficulties in Leesburg, even as a quiet town. Therefore, property owners with rental homes here should keep some plans for an uncertain future at the ready—even if they are currently enjoying good times with reliable, excellent tenants.
As a landlord, you want to spend as little time as possible worrying, and instead spend time preparing by making concrete plans for what you'd do if some unlikely event happens. While struggling with challenges like the novel Coronavirus pandemic, one wise course of action is to note what would have been helpful to think about ahead of time. What lessons can be learned about preparedness? The more scenarios you plan for, the less you have to rely on your decision-making when a crisis emerges.
With that in mind, consider the following insights from our perspective as professional Leesburg property management when drafting your crisis management playbooks.
Please note: This blog is not intended to act as legal advice. When in doubt, reach out to your skilled attorney or an expert in property management! Gunn Property Services is proud to assist and support property owners during these troubled times.
Crises Are Unlikely—Until They Happen!
Some may think, "I'm not likely to live through another pandemic, and I can't anticipate the next crisis; why waste time working on a plan?" However, the whole point of a crisis plan isn't just to use it, but to gain the peace of mind that planning can give you in the meantime. Many people have nights where they lay awake, worrying about a particular scenario. Rather than fearing the possibilities, it's helpful to play out exactly how you'd use your expertise and skills to handle the situation. It can do more than help you sleep!
What's even more beneficial is that you'll be far better prepared than other landlords if you experience that "unlikely" crisis. You want tenants to say, "He (or she) handled the situation admirably," rather than being chaotic or torn on what to do moving forward. Here are just a few scenarios to work out.
Plan Your Path to Evictions
In their careers as landlords, quite a few people who manage rentals in Leesburg will find themselves needing to evict a tenant. It doesn't happen constantly, but a time comes when there have been too many missed or late payments or other violations of the terms of your lease. One way to make sure that you retain a reputation for being firm and fair is to follow the same plan for evictions every time, across every lease.
- This may look different depending on the kind of rentals you are dealing with, but attempt to work out compromises with tenants who fall on hard times where they agree to the next planned payment or not to violate the lease further.
- If this doesn't change the behavior, you can let them know the next steps in serving eviction process notices and ask if they'd prefer to move out early.
- Keep thorough documents—and if nothing works, you can file for eviction when legally able to do so. Following the process correctly and keeping track of how the communications go is part of successfully resolving or even preventing an eviction.
This is not something you have to manage on your own, either: working with a trusted Leesburg property management partner can making knowing how to approach an eviction easier in a crisis. In some scenarios, your normal avenues for pursuing eviction may even be unavailable to you. When this happens, documenting everything until such restrictions lift is the wisest move.
How Will You Handle a Recession and Job Losses? Plan It Out
The novel Coronavirus showed us all that great tenants can still experience sudden job losses or recessions. Rather than treating an extraordinary circumstance as a cause for eviction, this is an excellent time to work with tenants.
If they are awaiting government unemployment benefits or scrambling to find another job, you may be better off asking for late payments and then creating an incremental payment plan. This allows you and your tenants to preserve the positive relationship you have while still, over time, getting the full amount of the rent.
Figure Out Your Risk Tolerance and Make a Savings Plan
Because difficult events and crises may temporarily reduce your cash flow, it's wise to know what you'd be able to do as far as maintaining your business goes.
Can your savings account handle a month without tenant rent, given your expenses? A good plan will include some stair-stepping goals for maintaining liquid savings so that you can take care of yourself and your tenants for a short time if necessary. This will smooth relationships and keep you from feeling quite as frantic if difficulties do arise. Generally, it's worth savings three to six months' worth of rent for each rental property you have.
Trusted Rental Management Helps You Plan for Future Uncertainty!
Property managers have seen all kinds of crises, be they personal crises for particular tenants or national and international issues that shake the global economy.
Your property manager will have made a note of how to best prepare for a future crisis, and they can help you put a crisis plan in place for your own rental properties. Their professional insight into Leesburg property management can help them offer smart suggestions to you while also taking care of the day-to-day interactions with tenants.
If this is the kind of guidance and support you need right now, reach out to your allies at Gunn Property Services. We're here to help property owners not only survive this troubling time but to thrive!