Coronavirus Resources for Landlords

Guides and reports to help landlords navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Read below for helpful FAQs.

How To Be a Virtual Landlord

Learn how to go through every step of the rental process virtually and online with helpful resources and tools.

 

Coronavirus and Rentals

In an effort to help alleviate some  stress, we’ve curated a list of resources and tips to plan, prepare and respond to COVID-19.

 

Rental Market Trend Reports

Our rental market trend reports are designed to help new and existing landlords understand the rental market trends in their areas.


COVID-19 Landlord FAQs

Renting

What should I do if my tenants can’t pay rent?

If your tenants have lost their jobs and cannot pay rent on time, there are several things you can do to alleviate the situation while still getting a cash flow for your business. Read this helpful article from Multihousing News for ways you can do this. Some things suggested are to waive late fees, avoid rent increases, defer rent, or come up with new payment plans with tenants.

How should I collect rent?

We encourage landlords to avoid handling in-person payments, cash, or checks to remain sanitary and safe. TurboTenant now offers secure and online rent payments through bank transfers or credit/debit cards – you can also charge one-time fees for utilities. Additionally, there are various forms of easy online payment tools such as Venmo, PayPal, and Google Wallet that are great options for collecting rent virtually.

How should I do lease signings?

Since you should be completing the rental process virtually, face-to-face lease signings are not recommended, using an e-signature platform will enable you to safely and securely sign the lease with a tenant. TurboTenant has an e-signature tool available, or you can use other services such as DocuSign or Adobe Sign.

How should I be communicating with my tenants during the crisis?

Communication is one of the most important things you can do as a landlord during this crisis. Because you won’t be seeing your tenants in-person, you need to establish an open line of communication for them so they know you are available to help. Read this blog to see all of the phone, email, chat, and video tools available for you to communicate with your tenants. 

For Renters

What if I can’t pay my rent?

The coronavirus has impacted many people’s financial and employment situation. If you have lost a job and do not have an income, you should communicate to your landlord and try to work out a solution whether it’s deferring rent payments or coming up with a new payment plan. It’s important that you do talk to your landlord and don’t wait until rent is overdue – while there is a moratorium on evictions nationwide, being respectful and prepared will be better for you and your landlord.

Should I talk to my landlord if I’m sick?

You should always follow CDC guidelines if you are sick and take the necessary precautions and monitor your symptoms.

How can I protect my credit score?

Luckily, many student loans and recurring payments have been postponed or deferred due to the coronavirus. However, to avoid damaging your credit score, refrain from spending too much money on credit cards and obtain a copy of your current credit report. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has great tips here on how to protect your credit score during the crisis.

Can I still be evicted?

Currently, landlords cannot evict tenants – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development placed what is a called a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for 60 days starting March 18th. 

How do I pay rent online?

To avoid in-person contact with your landlord – talk to them about online options like direct deposit or debit/credit card payments. TurboTenant has a safe and secure rent payment feature that is free to use for landlords. There are also other options such as Venmo or PayPal you can talk to your landlord about.

Marketing

How do I market my property online?

Marketing your property online is more simple than you think with dozens of free listing sites. TurboTenant’s free marketing feature enables you to make one listing that is syndicated to dozens of property listing sites such as Rent.Com, Facebook Marketplace, and Apartments.com. Making the listing is easy as you will just need to add a description with important info regarding the rental along with photos. During social distancing, including that you will be renting the property virtually through the whole process will reassure tenants of safety and hopefully help you acquire leads. 

How do I do showings virtually?

With social distancing being encouraged by health and government officials, it is important as a landlord you follow protocols and protect yourself and your property. While in-person showings are discouraged, technology makes it possible for you to do a video tour of the property. A simple phone video of you guiding viewers through the rental and pointing out important features will help give prospects a good idea of what the property looks like, and hopefully lead to them being more interested in your property. Here is how to upload an iPhone video to YouTube, and here is how to upload an Android video to YouTube.

How can I make the most out of marketing my property only online?

Since you’re operating as a virtual landlord, to make your property stand out from others, you will need good photos, a good description, and also good communication with those who are interested. Here is how to write a good rental description and here are some tips for taking photos of your rental.  Also let them know that you will be doing the whole process virtually while adhering to social distancing. 

Rental Applications

Why use an online rental application and what information is included on them?

Online rental applications are becoming the new standard when renting out a property. TurboTenant’s online rental application is customizable so you can add specific questions you might have and also request a screening report. Here is what the online application looks like. Plus, since it’s online, tenants can complete the application quickly from a computer or mobile device. Overall, online rental applications improve efficiency, are more secure, and decrease the amount of time between vacancies.

Who pays for the rental application fee and how much is a fee?

Most states have specific rental application fee limits so make sure you are aware of those, but, ultimately, it will depend on the type of screening report that you choose. Here is a guide to understand application fees and why they are necessary. Usually, renters cover the fee since it is to pull a background and credit check on them from a credit bureau. Through TurboTenant – the fee is either $35 for a credit report and background check, or $45 with both those things plus an eviction history. 

Tenant Screening

Do I still need to run a screening report during the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes, you should still want to run a thorough tenant screening report during COVID-19. Now more than ever you need to protect yourself and your rental business which means screening is still very important – tenant screening allows you to get quantitative data points when evaluating prospective tenants.

What is on a tenant screening report?

TurboTenant has two types of screening reports. The first, the TurboReport, is $35 and includes a full credit report, payment history, fraud indicators, credit screening recommendation, criminal background check, collection history, civil records, and inquiries. The second, the TurboReport Pro includes everything that’s in the TurboReport plus an eviction report that includes a full eviction check, failure to pay rent, and writs and warrants of eviction.

What if a tenant has a low credit score from the effects of the pandemic?

Credit scores are usually a very important indicator of if your tenant will be able to pay rent on time – usually, a score of 560-850 is an acceptable range for renters. However, with current circumstances, you may see lower credit scores than usual. Talk with the tenant about other options, for example, here are some ways tenants can rent with a low credit score, such as, a co-signer.

What if tenants can’t provide proof of income at the moment?

Unemployment is rising in the U.S. and that means some of your tenants might be out of jobs. While tenants might not be able to provide current proof of income, you should still ask them for old pay stubs, or even encourage them to have a co-signer on the lease. For example, The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently relaxed its standards on employment verification to accept alternative forms such as a recent paystub as many businesses have shut down due to the virus. Being flexible and letting tenants know their options is crucial during this time. 

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Disclaimer: TurboTenant, Inc does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state, and federal laws and consult legal counsel should questions arise.