Ask Landlord Hank: How Should We Handle An Already Slow-Paying Tenant Now?

Ask Landlord Hank: How Should We Handle An Already Slow-Paying Tenant Now?

In this week’s Ask Landlord Hank question he deals with how to handle an already slow-paying tenant in the COVID-19 environment.

Dear Landlord Hank,

We have a tenant who never pays her rent on time and who does not communicate with us. With COVID-19 as a world issue, it is safe to assume it will just be an excuse to not pay her rent at all. She is a health-care provider and the only tenant out of five who has not paid her rent for April. We are understanding landlords and are willing to help wherever we can. However, we do not want to be taken advantage of by a slow-paying tenant. How shall we proceed?

Sincerely,
Malik

 Dear Landlord Malik,

During this crisis, the government is changing policy frequently regarding evictions, so you need to get the latest information in your area.

I would ask your slow-paying tenant when this month’s rent will be paid.

One may assume, since your tenant is a health-care worker, that she would be employed, but I know of many in the industry that have been furloughed because medical offices are only seeing emergency patients.

Your tenant may not be working. If your tenant tells you she is not working now, I would ask for verification from her employer.

It could be that she is being “typically” late and she will pay.

I’m sure some tenants may try to get out of paying rent during the pandemic. I would not advise late fees right now, though. On March 26, 2020, the stimulus prohibited all evictions for non-payment of rent, on certain properties based upon financing and the type of property.

If you have no mortgage or your financing is not covered under the stimulus, you may be able to file eviction, but you’ll need to see if the courts are open and if the sheriff’s departments are serving writs of possession.

Here in Florida, our governor has prohibited nonpayment of rent evictions for 45 days. This is a trying and uncertain time for all of us. Hang in there.

Sincerely,

Hank Rossi

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Hank Rossi
I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta.