Coronavirus Updates

Dear Tenants—I’m Sending This Letter to My Tenants Today

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In light of coronavirus, my rental business just sent a letter to all my tenants. I thought I’d share the exact letter with you in case you want to send one of your own, as well.

Recently, I released a video on BiggerPockets (and on YouTube and Facebook) called “Are Your Tenants Unable to Pay Rent Due to Coronavirus? Here’s What to Do.

That video walked you through exactly what we’re going to do if a tenant is unable to pay. Well, that has almost 100,000 views since its release (less than a week ago at the time of writing). So, this is clearly a topic of concern for landlords today.

That’s why I want to go even deeper into what we’re doing to prevent that from even happening.

Look, this video is meant for landlords. But I know that some non-landlords are going to watch it and have a field day in the comments like they did last time.

So, let me put two things on the table first:

  1. We are not trying to make a profit off this economic meltdown. We're trying to survive just like you are. People always come before profit. We're going to do what we can to make sure that we all make it through this. You know, most landlords don't have a pile of money just sitting around. In many cases, these rental properties are our 401(k)s. Our retirement accounts. Our job income. This is not a time for profiting. It is a time for working together and taking care of each other—both landlord and tenant.
  2. Our mortgages still haven’t been canceled. I still owe my bank a lot of money here in a few days. Maybe the government’s going to step in and make policy changes, in which case this advice might change. But right now, we have properties to maintain, mortgages to pay, property taxes do, etc.

Landlords, We’ve Got a Problem

If you’ve been spending any time on social media, you probably have encountered the same thing I have. There is this widespread belief in the world that because evictions have been postponed in a lot of areas, tenants do not have to pay rent. I’ve read dozens of posts from my non-landlord friends about not paying their rent.

Now, in all likelihood, and according to a recent article in Forbes, 89 percent of our tenants will still likely have a job and still have income coming in. The unemployment rate is estimated to be in the 10 percent range.

Related: BiggerPockets Podcast 375: Live Coronavirus Q&A: Resources, Tactics, and Mindset Shifts for Today’s Real Estate Investor

So, my concern as a landlord is not the 10 percent of people who are out of a job. My concern is the other 90 percent, who even though they have a job, believe they don’t have to pay rent. That’s why we sent a letter to our tenants that basically summarizes three things:

  1. We care about them.
  2. We care about their homes.
  3. The rent still needs to come in.

Now, remember, we’re all in this together. Landlords, it’s time to take care of our tenants. Work with those who need it and make sure no one’s homeless because of this horrible pandemic.

And tenants, it’s vital you make sure your landlord can still pay their bills so the property doesn’t eventually get foreclosed on and you’ll lose your home anyway.

With that, below is the letter. You can also get a copy of it here. Download it in case you want to send your own version.

Dear Resident,

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We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. The past few weeks have, undoubtedly, been some of the most life-changing weeks we’ve seen in modern times. The looming threat of the COVID-19 virus has taken this country, and our state, by storm. We are hoping and praying that the extreme social distancing will prove effective to slow the spread of this illness and that we’ll all soon be back to normal.

As your property manager, we wanted to reach out and address a few important issues regarding the pandemic as well as your tenancy.

1) Social Distancing’s Purpose:

Right now, no doubt you’ve heard about (and are engaged in) what we refer to as “social distancing.” The purpose of this world-wide action is not simply to stop you from getting sick; the larger purpose is to slow down the progression of this virus so hospitals will not be overwhelmed with those who are most likely to be affected. Without social distancing, hospitals will quickly be overrun with far too many patients and not enough equipment to handle it. As such, we just encourage you to stay home and follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC, which you can read more about by going to http://cdc.gov/coronavirus.

2) Maintenance and Repairs:

Due to the restrictions on work and the need to keep government-mandated social distancing, we may be slower than normal to respond to non-emergency maintenance requests. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any requests, but please be patient as we work on what we can when we can. And if any maintenance workers are sent to your home, please be sure to keep at least six feet away from them, to maintain the social distancing.

3) Rent Payments:

As of now, the owners of rental properties in the United States are still responsible for making their mortgage payments to their banks, as well as paying for taxes, insurance, repairs, and other expenses needed to maintain your home. We still need to make sure we receive income to cover these bills.

If you have lost all ability to pay rent, including losing your job, your other sources of income, your unemployment has run out, and no government assistance comes to fruition, then please call us at the office as soon as possible so we can help you go over your options. Communication is key and urgent.

This is a rapidly changing time for everyone, tenants and landlords alike and we will continue to monitor the economic landscape in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for being a valued tenant and we look forward to getting through these tough times together. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Management

Alright, you guys. So that is the letter we’re sending our tenants today. I’d love to know what you’re going to be doing with your tenants, so be sure to leave a comment below this video.

Related: What Property Managers Need to Know Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Here’s the bottom line: We’re all in this together.

I want to make sure that everybody comes out of this thing unscathed. That property owners still own their properties, that tenants still live in their homes. That’s our goal here. That’s our goal at BiggerPockets—to both help our landlords be able to navigate difficult times, but also to help improve the quality of tenants worldwide.

Recession-Proof Real Estate book blog ad

Have you sent your tenants a letter or email? Do you plan to? What’s your plan if/when tenants cannot pay rent?

Join the discussion in the comment section below.

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He is a nationally recognized leader in the real estate education space and has tau...
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    Jilly Whiting
    Replied 2 months ago
    Thanks. We've sent out the following to our tenants this past week: How to Prioritize Your Bills When You Can’t Pay Them Nobody likes to fall behind on paying bills but if you’re in a position where you can’t meet all of your financial obligations, you’re going to have to make some choices about who to pay first. In medicine it’s called triage. It’s exactly what’s happening in the hospitals right now as they decide who to treat when or who not to treat. You have to look at your bills the same way. You’ve got to think about what you must have. Here’s the order in which we recommend you pay your bills: 1. Food At the top of the list is food. You either need money to buy food or you’ve got to come up with a way to get food. Feeding yourself and your family is the most important category in your budget. You’ve got to figure out how much you need to live on and how you’re going to pay for it. That could be through food stamps. We’ll almost certainly have expanded availability of food stamps for many people. In the meantime, any cash you do have should be spent on food before you move on to other bills. 2. Housing Next would be paying for your housing because you need to maintain a place to live. If You Are a Renter: If you are able to continue to pay your rent you should. But if that’s not going to be possible, you should let your landlord know ASAP. They may be willing to work with you on a plan. As you attempt to work with your landlord, keep an eye on reputable news sources both nationally and locally to see if any assistance is being offered. 3. Transportation Once we can work again, for most of us that means having access to our vehicles. So paying vehicle loans would follow housing. Again, if you can pay what’s due on your car loan each month, pay it. If you find yourself short after you’ve taken care of your food and shelter, you should contact your lender as soon as you know you won’t be able to make a payment. The big thing not to do is hide from this. If you don’t make a payment and don’t communicate with your lender, you may risk repossession. However, remember, the lender does not want your vehicle. They have a direct incentive to work with you for a while to see if you can get back on your feet. That’s why you stay in contact. 4. Utilities You should still pay your utility bills if you can, but what do you do if you have spent all you have and you still owe for power, water and internet? There are not standardized policies. However, many state regulators have outlawed shutoffs for now for electricity or natural gas. You should look on each of your utility’s websites for coronavirus accommodations and how you ask for assistance. Again, don’t ignore bills — stay in contact with each company if financial hardship puts you behind and you can’t pay. Additionally, several internet providers are offering slower speed connections either for free temporarily or ongoing at around $10 per month. Water is a different thing. Many of us get water from our city. One by one, local governments are suspending shutoffs. Try to negotiate a payment plan to delay having your water cut off. You should also keep in mind that answers and procedures will likely keep changing as the weeks go by. A ‘no’ now may become a ‘yes’ next week. 5. Unsecured Debt Like Credit Cards and Personal Loans The lowest priorities are any unsecured debt. That’s credit cards, any personal loans — anything that is not absolutely necessary. Still, you are probably well aware that not paying could have long-term negative impacts on your credit, so you should continue to pay if you can. Again, getting in touch with your credit card company or personal loan provider is key if you aren’t going to be able to meet your obligations. These companies have a variety of tools at their disposal to help during times of widespread crisis. Some of the common ways they work with borrowers include: • Extending your payment deadline • Lowering your annual percentage rate (APR) • Waiving a late fee • Allowing you to skip a payment And while paying the credit card company is a low priority, it doesn’t mean you don’t owe them the money. It doesn’t mean when your income stream starts again that you don’t start paying them again. You do. Final Thought The coronavirus has put all of us in uncharted territory. While it may be scary to be facing the prospect of not being able to pay your bills, remember that you are not alone. I will also customize and send out a version of your letter (thanks again!). Want them to know we are doing our best to communicate and expect the same from them. We also sent info on local resources to reach out to (not knowing exactly how these resources can help right now, but it gives them a direction.) Take care, stay safe!
    Account Closed
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Hi Brandon - I'm Dana who was recently in the cover story of NYT Magazine helping tenants. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/04/magazine/wall-street-landlords.html You might be surprised to hear me say...Well DONE! I have posted often that the rent strikes are irresponsible, IMO, at a time like this. We need to keep our economy flowing as much as possible. Those who can pay, NEED TO PAY, so that funds are available to landlords to help those who really need it. It would be selfish of me to withhold my rent if I am able to pay which might hurt someone else who cannot. That is "hoarding" in a different way - in housing. I think renters (and everyone) need to prioritize housing and food as necessities. Now that everyone is doing everything from home: work, school, home life...this is even more critical. That being said, I have seen some absolutely DISGUSTING landlord letters telling tenants they are not doing maintenance anymore to protect their employees AND since their offices are closed they are sending staff DOOR TO DOOR to collect rent and must be in the form of a cashiers check (which would require someone to go OUT to get such a thing). that is nothing more than mafia tactics to go to a home where they are ordered/trapped to be with intimidation to pay. Disgusting. I have also seen the reverse - a landlord who has set aside a great deal of money to give mini-grants to those in need, in addition to offering payment plans and waiving late fees. The main thing for landlords to remember is: 1) SEND OUT A LETTER - maybe not even addressing rent in particular - but COMMUNICATE with your tenants. This is a high stress situation and you need to STEP THE FREAK UP and be leaders and calm people down. YOU are essential workers - medical, grocery stores, and housing are THE most critical of all as people are ordered to shelter in place. 2) This is not the time to cancel maintenance just as everyone is order to stay home!! What the hell are you thinking? When is the last time a fireman said, "nope - I see that building just caught fire, but my people need to be safe. We're not going in." THIS is your fire!!! Are you heroes or cowards? Your rentals just caught fire - and YOU are the response team. Yes - you need protective gear, and protocol for response. But you have firemen and nurses and doctors and grocery store workers IN YOUR BURNING BUILDINGS and it is YOUR DUTY to make sure their AC and heaters are working, that their families are not breathing mold while they are out working to keep us all going. STEP THE FREAK UP. Now is the time for you to be rushing in!! Maintenance should be geared up and ready 24/7. I am saddened every time I see selfishness from tenants AND landlords. Don't be that guy. Get your staff protective gear. Have maintenance operators manning the phones and getting action faster than ever before. Pay overtime. Do what you have to. Your character and response during this time will stay with you for years to come. 3) Know that I am taking screenshots and copies of "threat letters" and submitting them to Governors of your states and the Feds for prosecution. You are right...don't write a letter if all you are going to say is, "we aren't doing OUR jobs and maintaining your homes, but we are sending staff out door to door to shake you down." But, don't worry about such a LETTER - DO NOT DO THAT. Send the letter that establishes we are working on the same side, we are all in this together, calming fears, and just being a good American and neighbor...good human. But, for those who are NOT - I am doing what I can to report to authorities, and I bet many others are also. Shake downs during any crisis - hurricane or pandemic - will not be tolerated. Just try to be a good human. For some it might come naturally. For some - not so much. But, I promise you if you are a jerk during this time...you probably were before and it won't surprise anyone who knows you. But, now the law might be behind people to hold you accountable. So, maybe now is the time to learn a new trick. Be a leader. Be positive. Lead well. :-)
    Jilly Whiting
    Replied 2 months ago
    Of course, I had this neatly formatted - which is not shown when I cut/pasted it here.
    Sam Cherry
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Before you read more comments below, I suggest you read this first. https://apnews.com/1bd0dccae3f84e380af62b3dd91ee26e 50% of landlords posting on BP will be bankrupt at this time next year.
    Sara S. Rental Property Investor from Des Moines, IA
    Replied 19 days ago
    Sounds there will a lot of properties needing to be sold from people with little negotiating room then!
    Matthew Lukas
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Wow
    Dave Rav from Summerville, SC
    Replied 2 months ago
    mine does the same thing. May be due to membership level, or just the way it is. Either way, it'd be nice if formatting was kept - makes for easier read!
    Melissa Bogle from Broken Arrow, OK
    Replied 2 months ago
    I would recommend a few subtle changes. For example instead of saying Landlord still need income to cover costs, I would say you still need rental payments. It is a psychological thing to use the word income with people who have just lost their income. I would also soften the paragraph regarding if they’ve lost their job. I would say if you have lost your job we encourage you to immediately apply for unemployment. The federal government has just increased the amount offered to those who have lost their jobs.
    Eric Robbins
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Great points. Taking the psychology into consideration is terrific. Good people want to hold up their end of an agreement. As a renter, I can accept that. As a potential land owner, I want to believe that.
    Dave Rav from Summerville, SC
    Replied 2 months ago
    I thought the same thing re: "need rental payments". We need to be specific (but gentle and not demanding). Some folks need it spelled out for them
    Melissa Bogle from Broken Arrow, OK
    Replied 2 months ago
    Sorry accidentally hit the comment button before I was ready! The only people they need to go into detail with about going through savings account, etc. is the people who actually are saying they cannot pay.
    Joseph M. Rental Property Investor from Sacramento Area, CA
    Replied 2 months ago
    Nice article and nice letter. However, for all of my rentals, I am NOT sending anything out as of right now. I am not going to plant the idea of having them not pay rent. I will wait until they call my managers. At that point, upon PROOF of a job loss, we will handle each tenant on a case by case basis using the same written schedule. All of my tenants are middle income people (NO Sec-8 or "sub-prime" tenants), all pay via auto-pay and after all, they are adults. No trying to be greedy or unkind, just running a business and been going strong since 2000. This is the same thing I did during the Great Recession of '07-'09. Just my 2-cents.
    Jonathan Carter Real Estate Investor from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Glad to hear more folks like the idea of not sending letters. Also PROOF as Joseph M. said will be required for any modification/payment plans
    Jennifer Rysdam Rental Property Investor from Luverne, MN
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I'm doing the same thing. Every time I think of writing a letter, I think of the ones who would use that as the opportunity not to pay. I will wait and see who contacts me, or doesn't pay, and then I'll contact them and see what needs to be done to help them out if they need it. I know what they all do for a living, and who is and isn't most likely affected. We're in a small town, our rent is $500. Most of those who lost their jobs will end up being way further ahead with the stimulus money, plus unemployment with the extra $600. Most of my tenants will be rolling in the dough whether they've lost their jobs or not. The only issue would be when the money starts to roll in. Probably not in time for April rent.
    Ugochukwu Opara Flipper from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I'm taking the same approach. My thought process is to treat it on a case by case basis.
    Mark Alan Row
    Replied about 2 months ago
    That’s how I am approaching it, as well.
    Anwer Ali from Raleigh , NC
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Agree 100% not sure why I’m reading so many posts about giving tenants way out pre maturely rather than waiting for them to come To you. I’m also not sending any letters.
    Howard Greisman Investor from Jacksonville, Florida
    Replied 2 months ago
    Joseph, I totally agree with you. Sending out a letter suggests, oh I don’t have to pay my rent.
    Darin Anderson Investor from Victoria, MN
    Replied 2 months ago
    Joseph, I third that. In times that are stressful and feel helpless it is very tempting to decide that action must be taken to help, correct, mitigate, etc. There is a danger of getting the "do something" disease. Some situations may require a proactive approach, but proactively sending a letter definitely sends the message that something has changed. I do not desire to send the message that rent has changed. My tenants will let me know if something has changed in their situation. I will do the same as I have done when that has happened in more normal times. I will listen, assess and come up with a plan that is workable for the tenant given the situation they find themselves in. Just saying you have to pay or get out has never been an approach I found productive. Lets come up with a plan and then stay in communication about it. I would do the same here.
    Jayme Rivera Investor from Raleigh NC
    Replied 2 months ago
    Thanks for this video and your letter! This is a great resource and I was just thinking about this and what we can do to communicate with them. Thanks for being ahead of the game!
    Cindy Larsen Rental Property Investor from Lakewood, WA
    Replied 2 months ago
    One of my challenges is that all of my leases are scheduled to terminate May 31. I set this up because, where I live, in rainy washington state, I have observed that the number of potential tenants who meet my fairly strict selection criteria is much higher in the summer months than the rest of the year. Unfortunately, that plan to minimize vacancy and get the best possible tenants, is now at risk, due to the uncertainty resulting from the corona virus. After a lot of thought, I am implementing the following 1. (Already accomplished) a phone conversation with each tenant, letting them know I am concerned for them and hope they are keeping safe. In the course of that conversation, I also asked about their jobs, and let them know that up to 8 weeks of unemployment was available if they needed it. I found that most of my tenants are still working. I also asked if they wanted to renew their lease at the end of May: 85% want to stay. I also reminded them that I had previously set their expectations that there would be a yearly increase to market rates, based solely on the CPI and on verified local rents. I told them I was still researching this, and would get back to them with the info in the next month. 2. next, I will be sending a letter with links to useful information and resources for dealing with the current situation from a financial standpoint. How to get unemployment, what financial help is available from the government stimulus programs, and a suggestion on prioritizing payments to food, shelter, health, credit cards. Etc, in that order. 3. A week after that I will send a very nicely worded letter A: offering a 2.6% rent increase (CPI increase for 2019) to anyone who signs a year lease (June 1, 2020 - May31 2021) within the next 4 weeks, and B: If they miss that window, a larger (at least 5%) market rent increase to anyone who signs before their lease is up. C: I will also remind them that if they do not decide to renew, and/or do not let me know, I have the right to show their home to prospective renters with two day notice, and will start doing so, one weekend day a week, starting May 1. D: I will also reassure them that during those showings, care will be taken to avoid any potential contamination, by detailing steps that will be done to maximize their safety. It is my hope that this will result in retaining as many of my good tenants as possible, by letting them know I care, being as helpful as possible, and reducing housing uncertainty for both myself and the tenants. My rents in the next will be a bit lower than I was hoping for, but reducing vacancy by retaining current tenants should make up for that. If any tenant replies that they do not have to pay rent, and that I cant evict them (which I do not expect, except for one problem tenant) I will point out the difference between the end of a lease, when they have no further right to occupy the home without a new lease, and an eviction, when they are asked to leave before a lease ends because they have violated the lease. If they try to stay without paying, or without signing a new lease, I will evict them. I have not yet Ever had to do that, and hope I will never have to. Wording that third letter to make my points and yet be as nice and kind as possible, is going to be a challenge. Any suggestions are welcome. I do care about my tenants. but I also have to pay my bills. I already have one unit out of 14 vacant because of a tenant who left early for job reasons. He will pay until the end of his lease, or until I find a new tenant. Unfortunately, I am getting very few responses from qualified potential tenants. I hope, but do not expect, that lack of potential tenant responses to change by the end of May. Government stimulus info I have seen so far indicates that the programs will be available at least until Dec 31 this year.
    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I wouldn't even talk about raising rent right now. Landlords keep raising rent according to whatever metric, like CPI or just by perusing Craigslist, however,landlords keep forgetting that until very recently tenants' wages had been flat for many, many years. I wouldn't raise rent until wages catch up and rent has become reasonable relative to the median wage of tenants. In this time of uncertainty, I certainly wouldn't be putting out carrots and sticks regarding rent increases. What happens if they get laid off May 2?
    Joe C. Investor from Naples, Florida
    Replied 2 months ago
    Totally agree with Joseph. I too thought about the 'I need to do something' scenario., but thought the same thing. If I give my tenants some wiggle room they will most likely take it. I will wait until the end of the month and handle each unit on a case by case basis. It doesn't mean I'm not compassionate but I know human nature and I know certain people will certainly take advantage, After all, we are all running businesses with financial obligations and commitments.
    Mary Ann Casey from Lafayette, California
    Replied 2 months ago
    I pray everyone stays safe and healthy. At this moment, as we approach April, I will trust and expect my tenants to pay the monthly rent on time. If not, my plans-policies-procedures-protocols will kick in: If April rent is not received by a tenant by the 5th of the month and/or the tenant contacts me about it, I will follow my plan to work with them on their options. I will then mail (and email) a follow up letter of empathy and a reiteration of our conversation and decisions with a lease addendum if needed. This is my plan/policy/procedure/protocol for ANY missing rent scenario, COVID-19 or otherwise. During April, I will continue to assess the COVID-19 situation. It's TBD if I will send a blanket letter to my tenants. For May's rent, again TBD. It's likely that what I do will be on a case-by-case basis. If needed, I'll update my plans, policies, etc.
    Martha Escudero
    Replied 2 months ago
    Thank you, Brandon, I am pasting the letter I texted ( I am trying to limit my trips to the outside world during Austin's quarantine) to my tenant using yours as a template to communicate with him. I truly appreciate your help during this time, I am expecting not rent this month but I think I can use my tenant's deposit as one of the options, as I think adding a month's worth of rent to distribute it throughout the following payments might make the rent's monthly payment less likely to be possible for my tenant ( hope I wrote that clearly enough.) I am waiting for my mortgage institution to respond to my inquiry. I asked them for a 90 day forbearance, hopefully they will approve me and add the equivalent to the back of my loan and my tenant and I pass this time with less stress at least regarding the rent. Dear (My tenant's name,) I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. I am hoping and praying that the extreme social distancing will prove effective to slow the spread of this illness and that we’ll all soon be back to normal. As your property manager, I am reaching out to address the issues of importance during the pandemic and that affect us both, for being the owner of your residence to me, and, to you for being my tenant; issues like, the purpose of Social Distancing, Home Repairs and Rent Collection. At the time I know you’ve heard about (and hopefully you and your family are engaged in) “social distancing.” The purpose of this (world-wide) action is equally to stop you from getting sick and to slow down the progression of the virus. Without social distancing, hospitals will quickly be overrun with so many patients without enough equipment for all. I encourage you to stay out the minimum if you have an “essential job” and to your family to remain at home following the guidelines set forth by the CDC. To read more simply go to http://cdc.gov/coronavirus. Regarding Home Repairs, due to the restrictions imposed (and possibly back up work) on Companies that service homeowners, and, the need to keep government-mandated social distancing, It may be slower than normal to respond to non-emergency maintenance requests. Please don’t hesitate to call me with any requests, and as I work on your needs, I ask you please to be patient just like you were while the heater at your home was being evaluated and fixed during the harsh winter. I can never thank you enough for your cooperation and your patience and, if any maintenance workers are sent to your home, please make sure to keep at least six feet away from them, to maintain the social distancing. Regarding rent collection, as of now the owners of rental properties in the United States are still responsible for making their mortgage payments, as well as for paying property taxes, insurance, repairs, and other expenses needed to maintain your home. We still need to collect rent to meet our responsibilities with our loan mortgage institutions, the banks. Please communicate with me if you think you will be unavailable to pay the rent this month to speak about your options. Communication is key and urgent. Thank you for being a valued tenant and I look forward to getting through these tough times together. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Sincerely, Me My phone number Dear My tenant's name, I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. I am hoping and praying that the extreme social distancing will prove effective to slow the spread of this illness and that we’ll all soon be back to normal. As your property manager, I am reaching out to address the issues of importance during the pandemic and that affect us both, for being the owner of your residence to me, and, to you for being my tenant; issues like, the purpose of Social Distancing, Home Repairs and Rent Collection. At the time I know you’ve heard about (and hopefully you and your family are engaged in) “social distancing.” The purpose of this (world-wide) action is equally to stop you from getting sick and to slow down the progression of the virus. Without social distancing, hospitals will quickly be overrun with so many patients without enough equipment for all. I encourage you to stay out the minimum if you have an “essential job” and to your family to remain at home following the guidelines set forth by the CDC. To read more simply go to http://cdc.gov/coronavirus. Regarding Home Repairs, due to the restrictions imposed (and possibly back up work) on Companies that service homeowners, and, the need to keep government-mandated social distancing, It may be slower than normal to respond to non-emergency maintenance requests. Please don’t hesitate to call me with any requests, and as I work on your needs, I ask you please to be patient just like you were while the heater at your home was being evaluated and fixed during the harsh winter. I can never thank you enough for your cooperation and your patience and, if any maintenance workers are sent to your home, please make sure to keep at least six feet away from them, to maintain the social distancing. Regarding rent collection, as of now the owners of rental properties in the United States are still responsible for making their mortgage payments, as well as for paying property taxes, insurance, repairs, and other expenses needed to maintain your home. We still need to collect rent to meet our responsibilities with our loan mortgage institutions, the banks. Please communicate with me if you think you will be unavailable to pay the rent this month to speak about your options. Communication is key and urgent. Thank you for being a valued tenant and I look forward to getting through these tough times together. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Sincerely, Me
    Jeff D. Real Estate Investor from Portland, Oregon
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I tend to agree. 4th on that. It's a chicken and egg game. I'd rather wait and see vs reaching out first and giving tenants the green light. To further make it a slippery slope, in my state, the stipulation is that the tenant has to reach out (with documentation) by the first of the month or they lose their right to the eviction moratorium (for that month). This is tricky, because no, I'm not going to evict anyone for non payment of April rent. Esp if they have a legit Covid related reason. Not to mention, courts are closed, police won't do lock outs. But on the other hand, I feel it's the tenant's responsibilty to find out on their own about the stipulation of reaching out by the 1st. And I'm already anticipating, if I hear from anyone, it's going to be just before the 5th - which will technically be too late. So then if I don't pursue the eviction path with the non-payers, send a notice, etc - will I be screwing up my chances in court to pursue it down the road if needed?
    Jeff D. Real Estate Investor from Portland, Oregon
    Replied about 2 months ago
    ....sure would be nice if the BP site would keep people's paragraph formatting intact :)
    Tim Dolan Real Estate Agent from Nashua, New Hampshire
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I agree - my mind can't handle loonnnnng paragraphs. Sorry to say I am missing all of the good idea gems. I don't read long stuff - my loss.
    Tim Dolan Real Estate Agent from Nashua, New Hampshire
    Replied about 2 months ago
    test test
    Adam Terasa Rental Property Investor from Las Vegas, NV
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Thank you for the info Brandon. I have eight tenants. A fourplex and four SFR - three of SFR are out of state and managed by a property manager. I was concerned with the next rent payment and what the future holds. So, I reached out via phone call to all tenants (not the 3 managed by others) and spoke with them personally. My call was simple and what i though meaningful. First,I asked how their family and loved ones are and hoped to hear they were all healthy (thankfully all were) Second, I asked how they are holding up and if they have been affected by the pandemic in any way. One had been temporarily laid off (furload). Third, regardless of the answer given, I stated that part of my call was to dispell some of the rumors out there regarding the no need to pay rent, and inform them that this was NOT true, and all payments would still be due (just like my mortgage payment to the bank, insurance, water, etc). All tenants were understanding and appreciated the call of concern and clarification. For the one tenant that was laid off, we agreed to stay in communication, and if she is truly unable to pay the full amount of rent, we could work something out.. For the three properties out of state and managed by a propertymanager, I called him as well to ask what his plan was. He stated that they sent out a letter (similar to the one here) to ALL tenants and would work with tenants impacted. If any of the affected tenants were mine, the PM would call me directlyand we would agree to some terms with the tenant(s). Again, thanks to Brandon and the other BP followers for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I have taken bits and pieces from what I have read here at BP, and tailored it to fit my situation. Stay safe and healthy out there - we will get through it!
    Jennifer Runion
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I just have 3 rentals and sent a general text to each of them checking in to see how they are doing. Today one of them asked about alternative ways to get payment to me since they won't be dropping check at my home as usual. So far so good with my folks and no income loss.
    Gino Puopolo
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Excellent article, exactly what I was looking for Thank you
    Neil Aggarwal Lender from Richardson, TX
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I sent an email to my tenants stating that everyone is getting a stimulus check so I expect the rent to be paid. I am pretty sure if I give them any leeway, they will spend that money on non-essential stuff. In my experience, tenants have a problem distinguishing between need and want. They don't pay the rent but they still order Starbucks and restaurant food, they have a cell phone and cable, beer money, etc. In my book, nobody gets a pass on the rent until they have cut off everything and are eating inexpensive meals at home.
    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Everyone is NOT getting a stimulus check, and those who are will not be getting it anytime soon.
    Jeffrey Holst Investor from Chattanooga, TN
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Letter is well written and thought out but I think you should have waited until people didnt pay to tell them that they have options. I assume most of my tenants will pay, some will be unable, some will simply be unwilling because they think they can get away with it, those are problematic but can be dealt with case by case. Those that are able and willing to pay may see this letter as a way to try to get some terms that they really dont need. And so until the 5th I am waiting and seeing what happens
    Ramiro Burr Multi-family Investor from San Antonio, Texas
    Replied about 2 months ago
    regards to this line: We still need to make sure we receive income to cover these bills. I would replace with something along he lines of "We, like you, also have a family to support, food and shelter to pay for and bills to pay including mortgages and loans. So we are also dependent on all renters paying their rent. If you are unable to, then ok, just please work with us so we can find someone to come in who can pay rent."
    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    "just please work with us so we can find someone to come in who can pay rent." is NOT working with the tenant. It is a broad hint for the tenant to just leave and possibly be homeless.
    Mike Krieg Investor / Syndicator from Austin, TX
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Thanks Brandon! Very thoughtful of you to share this letter with us.
    Mike Stafford
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I agree with those saying they would not send the letter as it might invite acceptance of late or absence of rent payments. I am using a similar note for my Property Managers as a script to use in case a tenant is concerned or gets behind with rent. In addition, I am addressing disinfecting common areas like laundry rooms. Thank you for sharing as it helped cement some ideas I had.
    Daniel Kern Investor from Northfield, NJ
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Any stipulations regarding the non renewal of an expiring annual lease agreement? I have a tenant whose lease expires april 30 and I’m contemplating non renewal due to some issues throughout the year and I’d have to notify him by 3/31. Are there any issues with non renewal due to covid19 since this is not an eviction?
    Neil Aggarwal Lender from Richardson, TX
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I don't think there is anything preventing you from terminating the lease, but that might work against you right now. If you send them a termination letter, they may take that as a reason to stop paying rent. They might realize you can't evict them so they will not move and get to live for free. If your lease says it automatically converts to month-to-month, leave it be until the courts re-open. That way, they are at least supposed to continue paying you rent until this stuff resolves.
    Daniel Kern Investor from Northfield, NJ
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Thanks @neil aggarwal that’s a great point. My lease does convert to month to month so I’ll take your advice.
    Rich Carey Investor from Montgomery, AL
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Hey Brandon, great letter! I just sent a letter out today to my tenants. I talked a lot about the specifics of the CARE act, and explained how much they should be getting. I encouraged them to sign up for unemployment and gave them the link. I offered to cover the fee for paying by credit card (2.9%) during this crisis.
    Kristi Leach
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Projecting a maximum of 10% unemployment overall does not mean at least 90% of your tenants can pay their rent. What percentage of renters lost their job? Do workers in vulnerable industries tend to rent or buy? What are those percentages for people in your particular city? Your neighborhood? Unless you're going to lose your property or be unable to buy groceries unless you get every single dollar for April and May, I ask you to think hard about what you can do for your tenants. We are all being asked to give to our communities right now, and maybe this is where you can stretch yourself. I understand that many/most landlords rent as a small business or to cover a certain expense. I know about this post because I get BiggerPockets info emailed to me because I want to know the real estate business and eventually invest in it. It's a big responsibility, though. These are people's homes you're talking about. A month or two can mean longtime homeless and job insecurity for an entire family, whereas vacancy rate is supposed to be something a landlord plans for when evaluating a property, is it not? Re: telling your tenants how to prioritize their rent... It's pretty telling that a search of this post and its comments for "childcare" and "medicine" return zero mentions. And it's incredibly condescending to tell people how to "triage" their finances, while complaining in the next breath that they probably do have the money and are just taking wiggle room. Are your tenants financially literate (nay, gifted!) enough to be responsible for outsmarting economic barriers (like their family's socioeconomic status, disability, divorce, etc) up to and including pandemics, or aren't they? Do you know people are watching and sharing whether retailers and businesses continue to pay their employees, and planning their quarantine online shopping accordingly? Do you know people are sharing mutual aid spreadsheets asking for diaper money, money for cleaning supplies, food, and April rent? The one for Chicago has over 3400 lines in it. Each row is someone who can't pay their bills. I've seen versions of this letter to tenants popping up on social media, and the critiques are not pretty. Either we're all in this together, or we aren't, actually. Is this not an unprecedented emergency that landlords may consider a cost of doing business that should have already been factored in? With that in mind, what can you do for your tenants beyond piling on the back rent and moving on eviction as soon as legally possible?
    Jeremy Clayton
    Replied about 2 months ago
    You mention landlords should have factored this event into their books but renters couldn’t foresee something like this Soto me that’s simply retarded and hypocritical. There will be a factored in vacancy % that this only adds to. However as a person, I can expect to know something in future will require me to have something put back in case of times like these. I’m of the opinion that I should help every way I can until people show their own selfishness and not care if my money is as needed to me as theirs is to them. Then I’m thru because like you they act as if I’m living large because I own the home they live in which is ignorance at its finest. We should work together not act as if either party is at fault not treating tenant like they normally don’t pay or treat owner like they’re crap for asking for rent. I gotta pay mine so does the next person. Life is like that get over it and pull yer weight IF YOURE ABLE TO.
    Mi Rez
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Nice letter but what do we do when they call? What sort of plan can cover their minimum 3 months of unpaid rent. On a different note, one of my tenants was already on a 3 day notice. I sold my primary residence and planned to go there myself. How can I separate his eviction from COVID-19 eviction while there is moratorium on it?
    Adam Schneider Flipper/Rehabber from Raleigh, NC
    Replied about 2 months ago
    We have taken the approach of waiting for tenants to reach out or not pay, and then addressing. Out of 20 tenants, we have one that needs help and we did a rent modification where the tenant pays half of the rent at the beginning of April, and the rent at the end. We'll see who actually pays. This is such an unusual situation, and the big risk is to lose tenants who generally perform well, that we want to work these on a case-by-case basis versus sending out a letter to the masses. We only have 20 properties, so it may be different for the folks at the $100 blackjack table versus us little guys at the $5 blackjack table.
    Joann Terrelonge
    Replied about 2 months ago
    This is totally out of the topic, and bad timing during Coronvirus and Tenant just made year this month, working section 8, and breaking lease arrangements by having her boyfriend in the apartment. I was told that he sell drugs, and I saw him yesterday do drug transaction. He literally came the building, approached a car exchange drug for money. Tenant called me the day before to tell me that she was sent home from work. I immediately told her that she should reach out to Section 8 to let them of her change of income. As of tomorrow I will be posting and sending a 10 day notice to cure the illegal tenant from the apartment. I am disappointed, I believe I have to remedy this issue A.S.A.P. What do you think???
    Janet Orgill from Incline Village, NV
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Everything I've read says that you can still evict tenants for illegal activities. I'd get them out right now. Let your tenant know that she has 10 days to vacate. If she doesn't go, let her know that you will report the illegal activity of her boyfriend...she will lose her Section 8 housing voucher. I would expect that to be highly motivating.
    Nicholas Manganaro
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have issued statements for multifamily property owners with current mortgages issued under FHFA programs providing some forbearance. The core of it is that if you took out a loan on a multifamily under a Freddie or Fannie program, you will also have a 90 forbearance period, followed by up to 12 months to get current again, without having to pay late fees or interest. Your renters will have the same 90 day forbearance period for not paying rent, but will also have a 12 month period to get current, without having to pay late fees or interest. https://mf.freddiemac.com/COVID-19/ https://mfguide.fanniemae.com/node/13961?view=recent_guide_communication I know that many multi owners do not have loans through these programs, but those that do might want to rethink the message they send (or don't).
    Aly W. Investor from Middletown, NJ
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I texted all my tenants last week, asking how they were and hoping they're well. I did not mention rent. Neither did they. They all responded that they are healthy, thankfully, and most are working from home. One couple said they are on a reduced salary for now. Since my husband is as well, I can empathize. They are all good tenants, most long term, and I don't believe they would take advantage of the situation. If that comes up, I'll handle it at that time. But no letters right now. I want them all to stay and not panic, and I think it would do more harm than good. The texts were well responded to, and one tenant even called me before I sent them out, just to ask how my husband and I were doing.
    Timothy Smith Investor from Buffalo, NY
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I did the same. #1 - I do genuinely care about my tenants as human beings and wanted to check in on them. #2 - as I initiated contact, if they had a financial issue to bring up, that was their window....but I wasn't going to give them a DOOR. Since I only have 10 doors, it's easy to personally stay in touch rather than send out a blanket message to 100s of tenants. They all appreciated me reaching out, and wished me the same. Out of my 10 doors, 3 just moved in and had paid April rent at the lease signing. The others should all be OK for this month, but I am concerned about May as that's when we will notice the trickle effect from one industry to another.
    Steve Jones Investor from Los Angeles, California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Yes and yes, I did the same thing, be proactive, ask about their health and also mentioning since everyone spending so much time in their homes, asking if something needs to be repaired or if something is not right to please let me know. It is their home, after all. I think all my tenants appreciated that and one responded back saying they were having difficulty making the rent. So far so good. Taking a long view, this points to the importance of getting a good, responsible tenant in your place at the very beginning; responsible people make responsible choices and hopefully do the right thing.
    Steve Seeger
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I like this approach, Aly. I also sent out a text last week to all my tenants, some residential and some commercial, with the human touch of checking in and seeing how they were doing. As of now half of my residential tenants have already submitted their April rent payments (none of the others said anything about not being able to pay), and 2 of my 5 commercial tenants have reached out to me seeing if we could work together to help ease the financial struggle they are under. One of them has already submitted their April rent, at an agreed to 15% reduction for the next 2 months. My take here is that we are not the buck-stops-here wall. Most of our tenants (whether residential or commercial) are not going to recoup their lost earnings once we come out of this. For them it's completely lost revenue. At best, they'll get back to their normal monthly income or cashflow eventually, so just flat-out expecting full payments, or the joke of deferring 100% of their rent out subsequent months, is just cold-hearted. We all will need to suffer a bit here. I make contact and then have an expectation that they will reach out to me if they need any financial support (whether that's education and direction, or possibly an actual reduction). So far, my relationships have remained strong and, I believe, encompass trust and effort.
    Chad McLeod
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Nice letter, Brandon. I agree that it’s much better to be proactive than reactive. As for tenants taking advantage, I’m not really sure how they would do that? I guess they could try and lie and say they lost their job, but it only takes a couple minutes to determine if they’re still employed. It seems like they have a lot more to lose in that scenario, but maybe it’s just me.
    David Kitfield, Jr
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Good letter Brandon. Thanks again for sharing. As of now, 3 of my 16 tenants may have trouble with their May rent but April is good. We shall see.
    Garr Russell
    Replied about 2 months ago
    We reached out to all of our tenants to let them know it must be hard being locked in and offered to buy everyone Pizza!! Everyone was blown away by the kindness and thoughtfulness. We are happy to be a blessing to our tenants during this time and we know this will go a long way!
    Casey DeStefano
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Question for all of you (I don't know if this is addressed somewhere else), but how are you addressing tenants of properties that are for sale during this time? Tenants that are refusing showings and the owners feeling like there is really nothing they can do?
    Neil Aggarwal Lender from Richardson, TX
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I don't there is anything the landlord can do if the tenant refuses to show the property. No law enforcement will help you. Accept it for what it is and wait it out.
    Moises Ulloa
    Replied about 2 months ago
    This letter is on point! Thanks! From my end, I only have a single three unit building and in addition to informing my tenants that rent is due and expressing sympathy , I’ve also provided them with a list of resources like phone numbers, links, stimulus check income chart, and applications that the government recently put out to help those affected economically by COVID-19.
    Sam Cherry
    Replied about 2 months ago
    For those who think your tenants view housing before transportation, let me distill it for you. They don't. Their priorities are Food, Phone, Transportation, Rent in that order. They will make their car/phone payments before they will pay you rent when push comes to shove. They need a car to get to work, find a job or move to another part of the country for work, and a phone for everything else, so in the priority of payments Rent is always much higher than then phone and car so you will lose. If you have an expectation that it isn't then you are in for a shock. I don't rent to tenants that have a car payment. If they have two cars then one car must be paid for and the other payment must be manageable. Now that doesn't stop them from buying a car after they have rented but I do have a clawback in the lease for the first six months that states they have to notify when if they plan to buy a new car and I will require an increase in the security deposit. ( this is for tenants that are close to my minimum income level for qualifying to rent in the first place) This puts them on notice that I don't want them choosing to pay me or make a car payment. If they have an issue then I say that's the way it is and go rent somewhere else. As you notice, everyone is talking about suspending eviction but no one is talking about suspending car payments. Look as a landlord you are nothing to politicians, so expect the shaft. Here's another prediction. 50% of Landlords on BP will be out of the business when this is over.
    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Your point about tenant priorities is well taken. However, even though the phone and car are higher priority, they will likely have something for rent rent, rather then nothing. Your car policy is unreasonable. My tenants are all in their twenties, each have ONE car on which they are paying car payments. Your basic disdain for tenants is palpable. You must have rentals in an extremely low vacancy community. Most tenants would not accept such invasive lease policies if they have genuine choice.
    J W
    Replied about 2 months ago
    What can we do if we rented to short term rental companies? They rented it 4 months ago and showed us a income statement of $1m in revenue, now 1 month in their cheques bounced and he asked if we could waive the fee all together as his business is slow and our building has said no short term rentals as its a health risk. However, when we rented it to him, the clause said because there will be changing conditions with short term rentals and other things, we are not responsible for the policy changes and it is the risk the tenant needs to take as we are renting it to them as a regular tenant. If they need to move out because of changes, they need to transfer the lease at the same price or pay us 1 months rent which would go towards broker fees for re-renting it.
    Neil Aggarwal Lender from Richardson, TX
    Replied about 2 months ago
    You can't get blood from a stone. The language written in the documents has no meaning right now.
    Jeff Hubert Realtor from Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Hey Brandon, Hope you and your family are well. Crazy time no doubt. Why didn't you add a paragraph on what they are eligible for from the government? They may be unaware. I have several renters that are waitresses here in Fort Lauderdale and they told me they applied for unemployment. I would add to your letter that they will be receiving a one-time payout from the government (if single) of $1200 and also mention the additional $600 per week of unemployment compensation up to Four Months maximum. I would also let them know that I will take a credit card payment for the rent and waive the CC Fee for them. ( That I got from you! Thx you).
    Joann Gasper from Hereford, Arizona
    Replied about 2 months ago
    My situation is different. I own a four-plex. One tenant is on Social Security. One retired from the military. Two work for the military--either DOD or Army. I'm not doing anything since they will continue to get their full income. The one tenant with a lease expiring the end of April has already extended for another year with a slight increase in the rent.
    Rick Goddard
    Replied about 2 months ago
    As good as the letter is, I needed to talk to the tenants directly. This severe and unusual situation needs a personal touch. I did this shortly after the school and business closures hit. I know where they stand, what they can do, and now will plan accordingly.
    Sonja Sevcik
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Yes! This makes a huge difference to your customers and for you. You can't properly plan until you do this.
    Fred Cannon Rental Property Investor from St Augustine, FL
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I have a few tenants in the service industry or have their own business that is in the service industry so I Know they will be short of money for a short time. I am fortunate that I do not have mortgages on my rentals ( my niche is one bedroom condo so I save and pay cash) but I do have HOA fees, insurance, taxes, and repairs to cover. I know fairly certain what my monthly cost are. ( about 40% of the rent ). So I have volunteered to reduce their rent to this amount for two months In exchange for an extension of their lease. I think this is fair to myself and to the tenant. Just hoping The small business owner I rent to can survive. I can only do this because I am mortgage free. If you are a landlord with a lot of mortgage debt my prayers are with you that you can manage a few months with reduced income. Let this be a lesson to you as well. Having rental properties with mortgages does not make you wealthy, it makes the banks wealthy and they will come after you to get their property. I know because I have been there. I lost several properties and became a tenant myself in 2008. Please either pay off your mortgages as soon as possible or save up enough cash to get you thru 3-6 months. I will Never again go thru what I did in 2008. Lessons learned and not forgotten. Life is circular, what goes around comes around again in some form so best be prepared and learn your lessons from history and not from some late night show hawker or some internet blogger selling you a nightmare get rich scheme called real estate investing.
    Javier De la Rosa Rental Property Investor from Barcelona, Spain
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Thank you Brandon, great letter. Completely agree with the approach. Here in Europe and specially in Spain, the regulation is extremely tenant friendly, which makes people believe they have a "right" not to pay rent in such circumstances. That would be completely wrong, specially for the 90% we are all concerned about, as they'd most likely keep their jobs or at the very least, be entitled to some government subsidy. Us, landlords and self-employed or business owners, won't probably have access to such aids.
    Phillip Jones
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Fortunately, congress and the president approved a $2.2 Trillion stimulus package last week. It is expected that cash payments will be given to everyone in the next 3 weeks. The legislation includes $1200 per adult and $500 per child. There is also another $600 per week of Federal Unemployment benefit, on top of state unemployment benefit. This will be a HUGE help to everyone.
    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Not everyone. Check the restrictions.
    Sunny Burns Rental Property Investor from Garfield, NJ
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Good letter, I used it but I added the following statement to mine: The following government assistance programs have now been signed into law. The federal government has mandated an additional $600/week be added on top of any unemployment benefits. Also within the next 3-weeks, all eligible adults should be getting $1,200 Federal Stimulus Checks; eligible families with children, would be given $500 per child. (Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package)
    Neil Aggarwal Lender from Richardson, TX
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I have sent emails to all my tenants showing them the details of the stimulus package. They need to know help is out there but they have to take action to make it happen. I think it is reasonable to expect rents to still be paid since they are getting money to help them pay for it.
    Colin March Rental Property Investor from Portland, ME
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I'd remove the language about "as of now my mortgage payments are still due". That implies that would may not expect to receive rent if banks defer mortgage payments, which many are now starting to do.
    Amy Pfaffman
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Now, more than ever, I'm grateful I have several properties with Section 8 tenants. I assume I can count on at least some of that rent continuing to come in.
    Kelli Johanson Property Manager from Minneapolis | St. Paul, MN
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Thank you so much! Perfectly said. I've used it; hope you don't mind. :)
    Nora Gonzales Investor from Sun Valley, CA
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Thank you Brandon, that is a well thought out letter, and I'm sure it's appreciated by your tenants. I would add a small paragraph about government assistance programs, and provide the link for them. It is my experience that it's best to relate as a human being first, so I'd want to know that they are well, and let them know that I'm on the ball and that I want them to be informed as well. Also IMHO, assuming things about people (i.e., they'll stop paying rent, or they don't know how to budget), is not a good idea and can sound offensive. Well screened, reliable tenants will most likely provide the best relationships and you shouldn't have to worry about them looking for a way to screw you over the first chance they get. At least that's my experience with a small multi family in a B neighborhood.
    Dan Issak
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Thank you Brandon. I have few property with mortgage, If i do not collect rent i can not pay my mortgage, insurance and property tax. What will be my right. I do not understand if most people they get aid from government and unemployment why landlord could not collect rent. What will be landlord right.
    William Rogstad
    Replied about 2 months ago
    As a tenant, it’s gratifying to see some sympathy for the plights of some of your tenants. Contrary to the assumptions of some people commenting, we are not shiftless layabouts looking for any reason to not pay rent. Where I live, we’ve been ordered to shelter in place since March 17th and will be doing so until May 3rd. I don’t have an essential job and my services can’t be done from home, so zero income. I’m going to look for a job, but it won’t pay what I’m used to making and there’s probably two or three weeks of lag time. My problems aren’t your problems, but we all are going to have them. So try to not just show some compassion, but actually have some. I’m a tenant because I lost my home in the 2008 mortgage crisis. I don’t play the victim because I made some bad decisions when, in 2006, I convinced a bank to buy a house and let me live in it. So, now I’m a renter. As a former homeowner, I won’t go into the ways the taxpayers already subsidize homeowners, so landlords aren’t victims either. My point in writing is to point out that your efforts to inform tenants about government aid sound condescending and self-serving. Do you think we’re not hanging on every nugget of information that comes out. Have any of you logged on to any of the websites you eagerly list? Just because Steve Mnuchin announces $2 trillion in aid doesn’t mean that $1200 is immediately in our bank accounts. The California Unemployment Office has a notice that they are waiting for guidance, rules, and protocols before they can process the tsunami of claims they are receiving. Then it will be three weeks before payments begin. Most people affected by the pandemic won’t be actually receiving any money until close to the end of April. That’s the reality of bureaucracies. Please be patient. By the way, I paid my April rent yesterday. It’s May and possibly even June I’m worried about.
    Sonja Sevcik
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Brandon, The 1st two points in your letter are fantastic but your point on rent still misses the mark, especially your 2nd to last paragraph. First and foremost, I would recommend (as a past bill collector 80s, problem loan banker during the financial crisis, and current landlord who has talked to every single one of my residents ... several two or three times during the last month) that you CALL your residents directly ASAP (you should have done it before April 1st)! Do not JUST send a letter! Everyone on gods, green earth is sending/emailing a letter ... saying exactly what you are saying ... except it's that medical bill, credit card bill, utility, etc. So how do your customers feel at this moment? How do the customers who are running through the situation/steps you describe in your 2nd to last paragraph feel right now? They feel isolated and they feel like they are sliding down a slippery slope into hell! Even folks who are still making money at this moment feel that way - - - because they are in medical, stocking, delivery, construction, and farming fields and their lives and the lives of their families are on the line! If you want to be paid early and often for the next 9 months your job is to be a voice of reasonable support and help. Your job is not to be a landlord at this moment. Yes, those benefits, you describe, that are coming for so many, will help us all greatly but until they hit your customers account YOU - LANDLORDS can't count on that money. The goal is to be the 1st person paid when your resident is able. To be that person a letter will not replace your voice. A letter will not replace your tenant hearing you say ... "Thank you for paying your rent this month and thanks for all the work you are doing! You are incredible!" Or, "I will waive April's late fee and defer your payment until the 20th. I'll send over the form right now. Just keep doing all the things you are doing. We will get through this together."
    Robert Henrikson Investor from SEATTLE
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I sent a letter , similar to the one in the beginning of this thread , 10 days prior to the 1st , I have received nothing but praise for it from my tenants , and 90% sent April rent in before the 3rd of the month , waiting on the rest .................. It's next month (MAY) I'm getting nervous about
    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    "My concern is the other 90 percent, who even though they have a job, believe they don’t have to pay rent. " 90 percent? I very much doubt it. our tenants paid on time without any letters. I expect that most tenants are responsible.
    Deena Laugen Rental Property Investor from Minneapolis, MN
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Great letter, Brandon; thanks for sharing it with everyone! I went back and forth between a lot of the opinions here, but ended with the fact that I was concerned about my tenants on a human level and wanted to make sure they were ok. A couple weeks ago, I opted for sending out a short and simple email: "Hi (Tenant), I just wanted to check in and see how all of you are doing with the COVID-19 situation. Please let me know if you need anything." It was a great conversation starter. All of my tenants thanked me for checking in and, thankfully, all are healthy and employed. April went on as usual for rent. As has been mentioned already, this is a time for all of us to come together and care for each other and do what's needed to get through this.
    Mark Boettcher Investor from West Bend, Wisconsin
    Replied 24 days ago
    I only have a few tenants, so I did a very similar thing with actual voice calls and then texts with those of a certain age group who don't answer their phones. Worked well. Everyone paid their rent when due both months so far.
    Kan Ying
    Replied 21 days ago
    Unfortunately, social distance alone won't be able to stop this virus. It is because there is no way to keep 6 feet from each other for all the people at all the time. Same thing, washing hands all the time won't be enough either. That is why we still have so many cases in the US after two months of social distancing. However, in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, they did not even shutting down the economy. Everything stays open as before. The morning rush hour subway is as packed as ever everyday, but everyday the number of cases is in single digits. Why? Because they did one thing we did not do. Mandatory universal face masking in public. This is a respiratory disease. The only way to fight it is to ask every one to wear a mask. Study from Harvard has shown 80% of people catch the disease from people who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic. So wearing a mask can stop people who do not know they have it to further spread it. Also study from England shows if you wear a mask and live among patients who do not wear a mask, it cuts down the chance of catching it by at least 90%. If everyone in the US starts to wear a mask in public now, the virus will disappear completely in 3 weeks. I know wearing a mask all day is uncomfortable, especially as the weather is getting hotter. However, that is about the best solution with least discomfort and least economic cost(a regular medical mask, not N95, only cost 2 cents to make and is as effective). It is the only way to open up the economy and go back to normal life without a causing resurgence of infection and death.
    James Barnhart Rental Property Investor from Deland, FL
    Replied 20 days ago
    It good to see so many people here that don't agree with sending all tenants a standard letter. I will not do that I know all of my tenants. I personally choose each tenant and would not trust a property manager to do that job for me. So, IF NECESSARY, I will send a more personalized letter or will talk with them and come up with a plan. I like Brandon's idea in his video. Each of our tenants is paying just as they should and are people of good character. I respect them and they respect me. One tenant is working an extra job to replace the cut in hours from her main job. Of course, I don't have 100 units to rent. But, if I did, I still would choose the tenants, but leave the other jobs to others. Putting in the suggested tenant letter to tell the tenants to apply for unemployment insurance if they lose their job, is insulting them. Like they don't know to do that anyway?
    Noble Drakoln Rental Property Investor from Newport Beach, CA
    Replied 19 days ago
    Love it. Great letter. Mine was not as thorough, I wish I had yours first, nevertheless I appreciate the article and the letter, keep up the great job.
    Jamie DeRossett Investor, Contractor, Appraiser for Real Estate Appraiser from Lexington, Kentucky
    Replied 19 days ago
    Great article. A sold all my rentals a few years age and I am so happy. I was happy then but an even happier now. This is going to be messy. Good luck with the fallout!