Terminate M2M Lease or hang tight till Covid backlogs subside?

11 Replies

Georgia rental - tenant is paying partial 60-70% rent ($400-600 short every month, bit late without late fees every month) since past 8 months, claiming Covid hardship. Refuses to communicate, and is not cooperating in completing the paperwork necessary for CARES/rent assistance programs. What would you do in these challenging Covid times: 

1) Serve a 60-day M2M lease termination notice, and HOPE they move out on their own?  Or, keep collecting partial rent for next few months till court system is fully functional and scheduling prompt hearings again?  

2) Any estimate on how long it might take in GA during these Covid days, to get thru the whole eviction process if tenant becomes "holdover"? 

3) Is it highly probable that the tenant will stop paying altogether upon receiving 60-day termination notice?  If so, am I looking at a potential 6-9 month long (w/ Covid court + sheriff delays)  zero cashflow battle if I go that route?   

I hate the idea of Cash-for-keys, and don't even know if this tenant will opt for that. Is staying put, and collecting partial rent the best course for now?  What would you do?   Thanks in advance! 

I have been doing cash for keys. What is your gripe with it?

I have done it twice during our eviction moratorium. Was able to get a better higher paying tenant in the places. Peace of mind is priceless. But I am also now getting full rent. It’ll pay for itself in 4 months.

Originally posted by @Manny K. :

Georgia rental - tenant is paying partial 60-70% rent ($400-600 short every month, bit late without late fees every month) since past 8 months, claiming Covid hardship. Refuses to communicate, and is not cooperating in completing the paperwork necessary for CARES/rent assistance programs. What would you do in these challenging Covid times: 

1) Serve a 60-day M2M lease termination notice, and HOPE they move out on their own?  Or, keep collecting partial rent for next few months till court system is fully functional and scheduling prompt hearings again?  

2) Any estimate on how long it might take in GA during these Covid days, to get thru the whole eviction process if tenant becomes "holdover"? 

3) Is it highly probable that the tenant will stop paying altogether upon receiving 60-day termination notice?  If so, am I looking at a potential 6-9 month long (w/ Covid court + sheriff delays)  zero cashflow battle if I go that route?   

I hate the idea of Cash-for-keys, and don't even know if this tenant will opt for that. Is staying put, and collecting partial rent the best course for now?  What would you do?   Thanks in advance! 

Use the CDC form I share in a different post (first post in the Landlord forum). Include a letter that explains the tenant must cooperate with you and apply for assistance and they must communicate with you. If they refuse, start the eviction process.

There is a program for Landlords that will pay you up to 80% of the unpaid rent. If your tenant refuses to apply for assistance, get them out and then try to apply to recover as much of the lost rent as you can and move on.

 

Originally posted by @Jhanel Wilson :

I have been doing cash for keys. What is your gripe with it?

I have done it twice during our eviction moratorium. Was able to get a better higher paying tenant in the places. Peace of mind is priceless. But I am also now getting full rent. It’ll pay for itself in 4 months.

Hi @Jhanel - thanks for the response. My gripe is - rewarding bad behavior and further empowering bad actors. Once unpaid-debt forgiveness AND additional reward is offered, bad actors sense weakness and tend to get even more greedy, spoilt and irresponsible; they expect more and more, and act as if we (LL) are at their mercy, lol.  Am I overthinking this?  Maybe so, and maybe it is just an ego thing. Need to regulate my emotions better, and get back to business-think :)   Thanks for your input, I will consider.   

 

@Manny K.

You are definitely overthinking this. You are not teaching them any life lessons you are hurting yourself here. They will go on to live miserable lives with their poor principles. You will go on being happy, cash flowing, growing wealth for your family. You will be the one who is ultimately winning. Always look at the bigger picture.

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

Use the CDC form I share in a different post (first post in the Landlord forum). Include a letter that explains the tenant must cooperate with you and apply for assistance and they must communicate with you. If they refuse, start the eviction process.

There is a program for Landlords that will pay you up to 80% of the unpaid rent. If your tenant refuses to apply for assistance, get them out and then try to apply to recover as much of the lost rent as you can and move on.
 

Hi @Nathan G. - thanks for your response. I have tried everything to get the tenant to complete the assistance formalities - started their  application, filled out most, but it still needs supporting documents to be sent directly by tenant, which they are not doing and not communicating.  I am not clear what purpose serving the CDC form will serve here. That form is a formality which almost EVERY tenant will qualify for and not hesitate to check the box and return - so, how exactly does it HELP the LL?  Seems like it will just help the tenant avoid the eviction (since everyone will claim < 99k income and some unproven "hardship"), but not help the LL's case any (unless its the 1% tenant who cannot or would not claim they qualify on that form).  

Do you have a link to this other Landlord-driven program, which would pay 80%?  Is that truly a landlord-focused one, or does it still need tenant to cooperate, complete paperwork and submit supporting docs?   

So, I get it that if tenant is not communicating and not completing assistance application - we want to get them out. Question is - HOW would you go about it, in this case?   Since tenant *is* paying partial rent, and is M2M - is *this* a good time to serve 60-day termination notice?  Or wait it out another.. 6 months?  Or, attempt cash-for-keys?   Moratorium excludes holdover, but courts do not seem to care, and are not scheduling ANY hearings!  I have no way to guess how long it might be before the holdover case will result in eviction, if I end lease in 60-days.   
  

 

Originally posted by @Jhanel Wilson :

@Manny K.

You are definitely overthinking this. You are not teaching them any life lessons you are hurting yourself here. They will go on to live miserable lives with their poor principles. You will go on being happy, cash flowing, growing wealth for your family. You will be the one who is ultimately winning. Always look at the bigger picture.

Wow, I love your healthy, optimistic perspective!  Such a better way to look at things, and yes, it is true!  Appreciate the encouragement and advice :)   

Originally posted by @Manny K. :
Hi @Nathan G. - thanks for your response. I have tried everything to get the tenant to complete the assistance formalities - started their  application, filled out most, but it still needs supporting documents to be sent directly by tenant, which they are not doing and not communicating.  I am not clear what purpose serving the CDC form will serve here. That form is a formality which almost EVERY tenant will qualify for and not hesitate to check the box and return - so, how exactly does it HELP the LL?  Seems like it will just help the tenant avoid the eviction (since everyone will claim < 99k income and some unproven "hardship"), but not help the LL's case any (unless its the 1% tenant who cannot or would not claim they qualify on that form).  

Do you have a link to this other Landlord-driven program, which would pay 80%?  Is that truly a landlord-focused one, or does it still need tenant to cooperate, complete paperwork and submit supporting docs?   

So, I get it that if tenant is not communicating and not completing assistance application - we want to get them out. Question is - HOW would you go about it, in this case?   Since tenant *is* paying partial rent, and is M2M - is *this* a good time to serve 60-day termination notice?  Or wait it out another.. 6 months?  Or, attempt cash-for-keys?   Moratorium excludes holdover, but courts do not seem to care, and are not scheduling ANY hearings!  I have no way to guess how long it might be before the holdover case will result in eviction, if I end lease in 60-days.   
  

How does the CDC Form help? First off, it is an affadavit which means it can be used against the Tenant if they are caught lying. Second, it shows that you've provided the Tenant with the opportunity to determine their qualification for assistance and what their responsibilities are. If they refuse to fill out the form, or if they fill it out incorrectly, that can be used as evidence against them.

Personally, I would consult an attorney at this point. You need to smoke them out and get them to participate or you need to head towards eviction.

As for Landlord assistance, you'll have to contact your state to see what is available and how to apply. I know some states are running programs where they will pay you up to 80% of the unpaid rent, but it requires you to forgive the remaining 20%. It's probably a good option if you are certain the tenant will never catch up or participate in applying for assistance.

 

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

How does the CDC Form help? First off, it is an affadavit which means it can be used against the Tenant if they are caught lying. Second, it shows that you've provided the Tenant with the opportunity to determine their qualification for assistance and what their responsibilities are. If they refuse to fill out the form, or if they fill it out incorrectly, that can be used as evidence against them.

Personally, I would consult an attorney at this point. You need to smoke them out and get them to participate or you need to head towards eviction.

As for Landlord assistance, you'll have to contact your state to see what is available and how to apply. I know some states are running programs where they will pay you up to 80% of the unpaid rent, but it requires you to forgive the remaining 20%. It's probably a good option if you are certain the tenant will never catch up or participate in applying for assistance. 

Ok, I see your point now re: the CDC form evidence @eviction. Yes, I would accept the 20% haircut if only tenant would cooperate and help me/govt help them!  I looked into all local programs - and they all need some paperwork and docs (Covid hardship proof, paystubs or W2 or tax return or unemployment income proof etc.), from tenant, which is not in my hands, but am trying! Thanks again.  

 

Originally posted by @Mary M. :

info on rent relief in Georgia  https://georgiarentalassistanc...

you can also call the housing authority

Hi Mary - thanks for sharing the link. I checked fine print, and that program currently excludes all large counties & cities - which have received their own funds and are running their own local programs (which my property is covered under). I have already pursued those local options, and they all need tenant to complete their part of the application, and provide proof of income and Covid hardship. 

 

@Manny K.   perhaps a call to you attorney will help you plan.....  i would worry that tenant will just stop paying...  but perhaps a letter from your attorney might wake them up....  but in the end this is a situation where your people skills are going to be needed.....  you will have to walk the line between keeping the tenant "working with you" and just completely shutting down...  its a challenge I know...