The COVID-19 pandemic has left few unaffected. If you’re a rental property owner in the San Antonio area, you likely have at least one tenant who has had trouble paying their rent. If you’re anything like most investors, you probably have several.
We’re all going through these challenging times together, and the best way to reduce the burden for you and your tenants is to develop a payment plan that makes paying rent easier! Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone: our San Antonio property management team is here to help!
A quick foreword: This article is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. If you’re facing a challenge that requires the skills of a competent attorney or expert San Antonio property management, reach out to us for more guidance!
The Rent Is Still Due
As an investor, it can be difficult to strike a balance between having empathy for your renters and understanding the reality that you need the rent to keep your head above water. However, it benefits property owners to be open to arrangements that they might not ordinarily offer—especially if you have a reliable, long-term renter.
Under normal circumstances, most property owners wouldn’t accept partial rent payments. However, in a crisis, some rent is better than no rent—and it’s preferable to try to keep your tenants if possible. Even though eviction is technically now allowed in the state of Texas, it’s not usually the ideal solution. Working out a payment plan for struggling tenants is, in many cases, the only viable option.
Ask Yourself the Hard Questions
Before you develop a payment plan—and before you talk to your tenants—you need to ask yourself some questions. It’s also important that you give yourself honest answers. Take a hard look at your budget, size up your savings, and figure out how you will be able to move forward. The questions you need to ask yourself are:
- How long could you afford to stay afloat without revenue from rent?
- How much leeway and flexibility can you afford to offer your tenants?
- What arrangement would keep you the most financially comfortable?
It’s important to identify the extremes at each end of the spectrum. What’s the least you can bring in and still keep your head above water—and what’s the most you feel comfortable asking your tenants for? Nailing down these opposite extremes will help you when you approach your tenant and start to negotiate.
Talk to Your Tenant
When you talk to your tenant about rent issues, start from a place of empathy. Let them know that you understand how much they’re struggling. However, make sure they also understand that you have your own bills to pay—and that you need the income generated from rent to survive. A few tips for reaching out and negotiating with tenants:
- Be compassionate (but firm): Empathize with the struggles of your renters, but make it clear that they cannot go on forever without paying rent.
- Offer options: Keep in mind that the more accommodating you are able to be towards your tenant, the more likely they are to work with you to come up with a realistic payment plan and follow it.
- Don’t bully: Don’t threaten tenants with eviction or legal action unnecessarily. This can put them on the offensive and make the situation harder for both of you.
- Use the right channels: If you are unable to reach them by phone, leave a message, and then follow up via text or email if necessary.
Work Out an Arrangement
As you negotiate with your tenants to work out an arrangement for paying rent, talk to them about different payment plans, and ask how much they are willing and able to pay. As much of the country moves toward reopening, a lot of tenants are going to be returning to work in the near future. That might make paying rent easier for them in the long run, but they may also have a significant financial hole to climb out of.
There are a lot of different ways to set up a payment plan—including allowing tenants to pay part of their rent now and make up the balance at a later date. No matter what type of arrangement you set up, there are a few ways you can ensure that it works smoothly:
- Document everything: Get your agreement down in writing, and have your tenant and yourself both sign it. This can be done by email if you are unable to meet in person.
- Stay consistent: Whatever agreement you and your tenant reach, make sure you both stick to it.
- Keep in contact: Keep open lines of communication at all times, and make it clear that your tenants can always reach out if they have any issues.
- Make it easy: Set up an online payment platform so that it’s easy for tenants to pay any time.
- Bring in help: Work with a San Antonio property management company to facilitate the negotiations, build payment plans, and collect rent.
Your Property Manager Is Your Ally!
At San Antonio Property Management, we do all this for you—and more! If you are interested in having your property managed by Real Property Management Campanas, have more questions, or just want to speak to one of our team members, then contact us online or call us directly at (210) 314-1039 today!
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.