Posted about 2 months ago How to Handle Landlord and Tenant Challenges Right Now Both tenants and landlords are in a tough spot right now. Tenants may find themselves struggling to pay rent safely, and landlords may find themselves with a dangerously high number of vacancies. This pandemic may last for a while, so you need to get creative in order to stay healthy and flush. Alternative Rent Payment Methods to Stay Healthy Many of your tenants may be self-isolating and fearful of leaving the building to pay your rent. You can do your part to ease the stress by offering alternative rent payment methods like one of the following: 1. See if your bank offers teller mail. If you have your tenants deposit their rent into your bank each month, get the address for teller mail so tenants can skip the visit to the bank and just mail their checks to the bank with a deposit slip with your account info on it. 2. Consider letting your tenants pay rent through Venmo or Paypal. These accounts are free for you to set up, and the transaction fees are minimal (and tax deductible). They also allow your tenant to pay with a credit card, which they might need to do, since a lot of people are cash poor right now.3.If you knock on doors to collect rent, switch to automated lockboxes that don't require person-to-person contact. Rently.com offers several kinds and you can source other brands online. Just share the code with your tenant, have them leave their check inside and pick it up when you’re ready. Rent Incentives to Fill Vacancies Another huge challenge for landlords right now is the number of vacancies. While people are “sheltering in place,” they aren’t out there actively looking for places to rent, which leaves you paying the mortgage on empty units. After a time, people may start considering getting their own place when tensions at home run high. It’s stressful to be around family members 24/7 when that’s not the norm. You might be able to fill some vacancies with one or more of these rent incentives: 1. Decrease listing prices on rental units. Even if you have to lower the rate so low that your positive cash flow disappears, it’s only for one year. After that, you can raise the rent when you offer to renew the lease.2. Offer month-to-month leases. This is another incentive that will appeal to those who would rather shelter in place by themselves instead of in the family home with mom and dad or someone else. This will at least bring in some cash for you to help with the loan payments, and again, after a time you can request a 6-month or 12-month minimum lease agreement.3. Give one month’s rent for free. This is a common tactic, but it holds a lot of value at this time. Prospective tenants might be cash poor, so one free month’s rent could be just the ticket to fill your vacancy.4. Lower deposit amount. If you have a deposit that’s equal to one month’s rent, consider cutting it in half, just for the time being. Again, this is an incentive that could help fill a vacancy and get money flowing in your direction again.5. If you’re used to walking tenants through vacant units, it might be better to instead give them access to a lockbox so they can go whenever they want and they can also go alone. Again, Rently offers a variety of lockboxes to choose from. If you can get through this situation, you’ll be able to get through almost anything that lies in the future. This virus pandemic is affecting every sector of business, but it doesn’t have to defeat you. There are ways of resolving tenant and landlord challenges, but it will require resolve, creative thinking and flexibility.