Texas landlords trying to collect rent on their investment properties have several hurdles in the midst of our COVID-19 pandemic. We recommend you get some help from your local Dallas Fort Worth property management company. There’s also some good information to be found from the Texas REALTORS®, and if you still have some unanswered questions, please feel free to contact our team.
We’re doing everything we can at Assign Property Management to stay on top of the situation, even as information changes daily.
Ban on Evictions in Texas
The first thing that you need to understand is that there is a suspension on evictions in Texas unless a tenant needs to be removed due to criminal activity or a threat to others. The statewide moratorium is currently in place until April 19, but it could be extended. There’s also a hold on any Writs of Possession being served by the sheriff’s department until April 26.
Once this moratorium on evictions is lifted, landlords may still have to wait to file for eviction. The federal CARES Act provides protection against any evictions based on rent that isn’t paid from March 27, 2020 to July 24, 2020, if the tenant is living in a home that has a federally backed mortgage or participates in a federal housing program.
The simple truth is this: you likely won’t be able to evict for nonpayment of rent for a while. This means you have to work with your tenants to find a solution when you are trying to collect rent.
Tenant Responsibilities During COVID-19
This does not mean that tenants are relieved of their rental payments. Some property owners are offering rental forgiveness to tenants who cannot pay and while that’s extremely generous, it’s probably not an option for a lot of landlords in our area.
Your tenants are still responsible for the rent that’s owed. There is no law or forgiveness plan that wipes away that obligation. Even if you collect partial rent or put together a payment plan, the tenant is ultimately responsible for all the rent due during the lease term that’s reflected in your rental contract.
Working with Tenants on Rent Collection
Obviously, it’s not as simple as following the lease. If you haven’t already discussed options with your Dallas Fort Worth property management company, you should do so before your tenants fall too far behind. If you aren’t working with professional property managers, you’ll have to negotiate with your tenants on your own. We have a few suggestions for reaching a successful outcome when it comes to collecting rent:
- Find out where your tenants stand financially. Those who are still employed should be able to pay their rent as normal, without any changes. Thank them for their continued cooperation. You’ll want to focus on tenant retention going forward, and showing your good tenants that you value and appreciate them will help you hang onto them during a potentially unstable rental market.
- Reach out to your tenants who are late or have not paid. Don’t approach this in a demanding or degrading manner. Find out if they’re okay. They’re likely to be emotional and stressed. Try to find out if they’ve lost their jobs or had their hours or salaries cut. Be supportive and make sure they have access to resources that may help, such as unemployment assistance.
- Work together to put a payment plan in place. Receiving partial rent is better than receiving no rent. You’re not under any legal obligation to provide a waiver, payment plan, or forbearance. But you should remember that your reputation is just as important as the rent you collect. Tenants will remember that you were flexible, understanding, and willing to work with them.
When you’re collecting rent through a payment plan or an agreement, we recommend you and your tenants sign a COVID-19 Lease Payment Plan Agreement, which we can help you provide.
This is an active and ongoing global crisis and we know it has your nerves on edge and your stress level high. As an expert in Dallas Fort Worth property management, we are here to offer support, resources, and suggestions. Please contact us at Assign Property Management for additional information that might help you collect rent during this ambiguous time.