During this time, proactive communication with your tenants is more important than ever. A letter to your tenants should address:
- Property related issues and changes to procedures
- Steps you are taking to keep tenants safe
- Government programs and where to apply for them
- Rental payments
- Communicating with you if tenants have lost the ability to pay rent
Here is a sample letter that I created. This letter contains some programs and links that are specific to New York, so you may need to adapt this if you have properties elsewhere.
We hope this email finds you and your family safe and healthy. Many of us have been affected both personally and professionally by the COVID-19 virus. We wanted to take the time and reach out to address a few important issues as well as programs that may help you in this time.
Maintenance and repairs
Due to restrictions on work and the measures we have taken to keep our employees safe, we may be slower than normal to respond to non-emergency maintenance requests.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any requests, but please be patient as we work on what we can when we can. If a maintenance person does come to your apartment, please do not be alarmed if they are wearing a mask and gloves. Kindly keep at least a 6 foot distance from maintenance personnel for the safety of everyone.
If you have lost your job
If you have been laid off or furloughed, you are most likely eligible for NYS unemployment benefits. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provides payment to workers who were traditionally ineligible for unemployment benefits.
This includes self-employed individuals, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others. Please visit the Department of Labor website for more information on applying for unemployment benefits.
The federal government has approved the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child.
For those eligible for unemployment insurance, this bill adds $600 per week from the federal government on top of whatever base amount a worker receives from the state. This means, you will get your unemployment insurance plus $600 every week.
As rental property owners, we are still responsible for paying taxes, insurance, repairs, and other expenses to maintain your home. We will need to receive rent to cover these expenses. At this time, there is no rent suspension in place.
If you have lost all ability to pay rent, including losing your job, other income sources, your unemployment has run out, and no government assistance comes to fruition, then please contact us so we can review your options.
Other important information
We will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks and will keep you updated on any important changes.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
*The above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or investment advice. Please check with your attorney before using any of this material.