With the coronavirus pandemic affecting nearly everyone across the county, the state, the country, and even the world, we hope that you and your loved ones are healthy, safe, and well.
We also know that this is a time of extreme uncertainty, and if you own a rental property in Dallas, Fort Worth, or anywhere throughout Tarrant County, you may be wondering what all the directives, orders, and requirements mean for you.
Today, we want to provide a brief overview of what we know right now. Keep in mind that information is changing all the time. If you have any questions about your specific property, we encourage you to contact your local property managers.
Federal Level Benefits and Programs for COVID-19
The CARES Act offers the first line of defense and relief, and it’s a federal program.
One of the pressing concerns you may have is your mortgage payment. If you are renting out a property or properties that carry mortgages, you may be nervous about how you’re going to continue paying down the debt, especially if your tenants are unable to pay rent or if your own financial circumstances are impacted by the pandemic. You may have lost your own job or seen your salary or hours cut back.
Here’s what you should know:
- The CARES Act provides for between three and six months of deferred mortgage payments, and it’s possible even more time will be provided.
- If you’ve already heard from your lender with an offer to defer or forgive payments, listen to their offer and take them up on any relief that they may be providing. BUT – make sure you understand the terms. You’ll need to do some financial planning if those deferred payments are suddenly going to be due as one lump sum.
- Federal programs are in place for mortgages on single-family homes and multi-family properties backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Most U.S. mortgages fall into that category. If your mortgage is insured or guaranteed by the USDA or HUD, you will also be able to access payment relief and benefits. As long as your mortgage loan is federally backed, you are covered.
What you also need to know about this act is that it also prevents you from evicting a tenant or try to recover possession of your property.
State Level Benefits and Programs for COVID-19
In Texas, the governor has declared a state of emergency.
For landlords, this means that evictions are suspended at least until April 19, 2020. It’s possible to get a Writ of Possession, but that Writ won’t be posted until after April 26, 2020. There won’t be any trials or hearings, and while new evictions can be filed, no action will be taken on them right away.
If you had an eviction that was in progress, it will be stalled. If you were planning to evict a tenant for reasons that had nothing to do with this pandemic, you’ll have to wait at least until April 19 to move forward.
Tarrant County Level Benefits and Programs for COVID-19
In Dallas and throughout Tarrant County, there’s a suspension of court proceedings that includes evictions and small claims court issues. Debt claims won’t be addressed right now either. While the state laws are allowing for a Writ of Possession to be issued, in Tarrant County, they will not be issued until a new directive is set forth. All Administrative and Criminal cases are on hold unless they involve an emergency mental detention warrant.
You’ll be able to defer your mortgage payments, and you’ll want to work with your tenants on getting as much rent paid as possible during this unsteady time. However, we are encouraging our property owners to be flexible and to remember that eviction is neither currently available nor the first thing you should be thinking about if you have a tenant struggling to maintain consistent rental payments.
On the local level, your Dallas Fort Worth property management company is going to have the best, most up-to-date, and most property-specific information for you. If you’re not currently working with local property managers, we welcome you to contact us at Assign Property Management. We have plenty of resources and information that we’d be happy to share with you.