So we just saw a major development in landlord-tenant law in Massachusetts.
The legislature passed, and Governor Baker just signed an emergency bill banning evictions for 120 days, or 45 days after the state of emergency ends, whichever happens sooner.
Landlords should aware this is more than just closing down the courts for the time being. This prevents landlords from even filing a notice to quit to their tenants.
This means that if you have a tenant who is late on rent, you can’t even provide them notice asking for the back rent. Obviously, this threatens to impose a lot of strain on landlords during the emergency.
So now, more than ever, landlords need to be flexible, creative, and smart when they choose to manage their property. To get through this, we have a few suggestions to offer:
- First off, landlords can use any last month’s rent that they’re holding, as long as they provide notice to the tenant and account for interest. This will get you through at least one month of any back rent.
- Also, by agreement with the tenants, you could use a security deposit. Be a little cautious here. You do need to get written consent from the tenant to be able to do this, but there are funds there available to get you through, maybe another month.
- Also, now is the time to have a little bit of flexibility with tenants and possibly strike a deal. If your tenant is legitimately suffering financially. During this crisis, you may want to accept a partial payment as a full month payment.
Keep in mind, any rent that’s not paid now still will become due. So the tenant has incentive to work with you, maybe to split the difference on rent in the short term.
Also, you want to reach out to your own lenders and see if there’s a forbearance program that will work for you. Be careful. There are lots of things to consider with forbearance as to whether or not there’s a lump sum due, whether or not this is going to be negatively reported on your credit. But talk to your lender. And if the terms are right, accept the forbearance.
Also, pay attention to any small business loans that may be available.
This is rapidly changing day by day, so stay very well-informed of what the federal government, state government or even local governments may be offering to get you through the crisis. Look at that every single day.
Also, if you are in a position where you’re welcoming new tenants, be sure to take a close look at their credit history, their background, call their references, and be sure to verify their employment status. That’s going to be important if you’re in a position to welcome in new tenants.
Finally, as a landlord, know that you’re not alone in this. This is happening not just to you, but to every landlord across the country. And, to be truthful, the world.
If you need any help developing a strategy to make it through this time or, better yet, looking out for any opportunities that might be there as the market shifts, please reach out to us at NextHome Titletown Real Estate.
We work with investors like you all the time, and we want to be your trusted partner in real estate investing.
So be sure to reach out to us – we look forward to hearing from you.
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