While the country was trying to move through a pandemic and support people who experienced job loss and other financial difficulties, legislators passed state and federal moratoriums on evictions. These freezes gave some relief to tenants but still present some complications for the future.
Fortunately for landlords, the eviction bans did not eliminate rent debt, it only postponed the typical consequence. Now, as the ban is set to expire later this year, landlords and tenants may have some anxiety about settling the past-due rent.
Here’s how you can help your tenants prepare for the lift of the eviction ban.
Help tenants learn about government resources
Assistance for people who lost their jobs did not end with stimulus checks many Californians received. There is state and federal money available for residents who need help paying their rent.
Talk to your tenants about some of the options available to help them get the support they need. In some cases, the money can go straight to you to settle the past-due rent payments.
Communicate a plan in advance
The difficulty with the evection ban is that some tenants who could not pay their rent have been accumulating debt very quickly. Coming up with a payment plan to make up for one or two month’s rent is much simpler than when a tenant owes a year or more of back rent.
Give your tenants clear guidelines for how much they need to pay to stay in the unit and when to take action against them. You may need to remind them that the eviction ban did not eliminate their need to pay rent; it simply delayed the payment.
As much as possible, try to work out reasonable payment plans with them. When eviction is an option again, you can take tenants to small claims court, but if you can work out a solution with them, you might be able to help them stay.
There are also essential protections for tenants to try to pay their past-due rent. Be straightforward with your tenants about what these protections are so that you can work together on a solution.