We chose to not reach out to our tenants ahead of time to ask or offer economic relief. We felt alerting all tenants to a relief plan before they even decided they needed it would not be in our best interests. We did have a plan and policy in place to work with tenants if they could not pay rent in full by April 1. Our plan included requiring proof of lost wages, suggestions for gov't assistance, and possibly a payment plan over the life of the lease to catch up on rent. Our plan does not include free rent, or discounted rent.
With the gov't announcing $1,200 per person payments, $500 per child, and expanded unemployment benefits, we believed all tenants should still be prioritizing their rents, immediately after food. Food, shelter, everything else.
While we do not have 100 units or 1,000 units like some, I went on record stating a blind discount across the board just didn't make good business sense. Many have chosen to go that route, and if that works for your business, great. I'm just pleased what we chose to do has worked, for at least the month of April, with zero loss of revenue.
So far I am at about 75%. But I'm not terribly worried because the other 25% are people that always pay at the last second, so I expect them to come in tomorrow. In any case, I 100% agree with your strategy. Deal with it on a case by case basis rather than a blanket "here's what we'll do". I've worked in public service long enough to know that if/when you do that, you will have some people working the margins because they feel they've been given permission to do so.
A story I tell sometimes: years ago one of our local utilities had their water main wash away in a hurricane. No one knew this, except the water resources director and staff, myself, and a few other outsiders. All storage tanks were full and dropping normally. Late that afternoon the mayor held a press conference and revealed to the public what had happened and that repairs would take several days. Within hours, all storage tanks were drained dry by everyone in the city filling every water vessel they had.
Thanks for sharing @Anthony Wick and @JD Martin . It does seem like there are two prevailing schools of thought on these forums: 1) pro-actively reach out to tenants to start the discussion 2) keep silent until rent is due and then address any missing rent with tenants directly.
My PM for MF buildings has encouraged option 2, and I believe strongly that it's the correct strategy for my situation. For LL that have a more direct / personal connection to their tenants, perhaps option 1 would be the best strategy.
I'm optimistic that we'll see 75% rent paid on time , and collect the rest gradually, at least for April. I am looking forward to hearing more about various LL experiences over the next week.
I am also one who believes and said, do not assume your tenant(s) can't or won't pay and I haven't reached out or contacted them about it. My tenants rent is due by the 3rd of each month. They go to my bank, 4 blocks away from the rental home, and make the deposit direct. I haven't heard from them and fully expect they will pay as usual, but admit, I'm counting down with anticipation........ ;-)
I am at 100% and won't/did not initiate operation "forgo my bill." I did receive a nice note with one payment detailing my tenant's lost part-time jobs due to COVID-19, and that she will do everything in her power to continue paying her rent in full and on time. I welcomed the note and that is how it should be. That is how grown-ups conduct themselves... so I never really understood the whole "I don't trust my tenant to communicate with me so I will initiate," mentality.
Good to hear the news- hoping all are fairing well!
@Anthony Wick I am at about 17% (14k out of 84k) which is normal for the day before rent is due. I own several office buildings and have about ~60 student rental units. We've only had one tenant ask for an extension.
I am cautiously optimistic.
Our non-student population has not made a peep about needing help. Our student population (Bernie bro's if you will) is 400 students. About 15-20% have asked for a reduction, termination or payment plan.
Geography is important, we're in NJ, a hot spot for cases.
Funny thing is; I don’t recall another time wherein everybody paid the day before rent is due. Late fees don’t kick in until the third. I’m generous like that.
Units owned - 8 consists of 4 A-class SFH's I manage myself, 4 B-class apartment units professionally managed.
Rent status as of 3/31/2020 - 2/4 SFH's paid, 0/4 apartment units paid so far. Some apartment tenants have already reached out and said can't pay April but not sure final tally, trying to work with them on a payment plan and waiving late fees.
I must be doing something wrong. Only one of my tenants regularly pays before the 1st. Most of them pay near the 5th, the cut off in Florida.
I expect I will have some missed rent and will deal with it as it happens. I am not encouraging tenants not pay. It is better to work it out, than eviction, which is on-hold anyway. If they were responsible before they will return to being responsible. Not to say there are not some hucksters trying to game the system.