Frequently Asked Questions During COVID-19 for Landlords

Frequently Asked Questions During COVID-19 for Landlords

During this time, we wanted to provide you with a collection of the most frequently asked questions we’ve seen on our media platforms. Below are the answers we’ve found along with some sources. We hope this helps you.

How do we know if landlords are affected by the eviction halts?

“Section 4024 of the CARES Act provides a temporary moratorium on eviction filings as well as other protections for tenants in certain rental properties with federal assistance or federally related financing.” 

“CARES Act Section 4024(b) prohibits landlords of certain rental “covered dwellings” from initiating eviction proceedings or “charg[ing] fees, penalties, or other charges” against a tenant for the nonpayment of rent. These protections extend for 120 days from enactment (March 27, 2020)”

Details on exactly what properties would be covered can be found here

How are cities and states affected?

The CARES Act is federal legislation. If the property is considered a ‘covered property’ then it’s covered.

CNBC has a google doc here.

What is considered a ‘covered property’?

  • Under a federally backed mortgage loan or “that ‘participate in’ a ‘covered housing program’ [source]

Does the CARES Act protect landlords in any way?

  • “Little relief has come from the federal government. The CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress last week, gives homeowners with federally backed loans two types of financial relief: It blocks foreclosure proceedings for at least 60 days and allows homeowners to defer mortgage payments for 180 days.” [source]
  • There is some mortgage relief. Good article with additional resources in it as well [source]

Can landlords raise rent on tenants during this time?

  • Some cities and states have put rent freezes into place.

Can a landlord charge late fees during this time?

  • If the tenant lives in a ‘cover dwelling’ landlords may not charge late fees during this time

Should landlords accept partial payments during this time?

  • Really nice advice over on BiggerPockets about Emergency Rent Deferral Plans [source]

Do tenants have to provide proof that they cannot pay due to Covid? If so, what kind of proof?

  • Some states do require proof that the tenant cannot pay because of Covid [source]

What can landlords do to protect themselves from nonpayment during this time?

  • Deferral plans
  • Partial payments
    • “In normal times, if a tenant offered $700 when they owed $1,000, we’d tell members, don’t accept it. But now, we’re saying, have them pay later, or amortize it over six months.” – Jeff Cronrod, American Apartment Owners Association [source]
  • General communication

If a tenant has a history of late payments, can they be evicted?

  • Some cities/states have put a full hold on evictions and other non-emergency legal matters.

If a tenant breaks their lease in some other way that has nothing to do with Covid, can they be evicted?

  • In many cases, all non-emergency hearings have been halted.

Can you/should  you start the eviction process so that you can submit the paperwork as soon as the memorandums have been lifted?

  • In California, the notice may be delivered but the tenant cannot be removed and there will be no automatic judgement until 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted by the governor [source]

If a tenant is on a month-to-month lease, can you not renew?

  • In many cases, until this is lifted, you would have no way to force them to leave.

Will landlords be able to evict after this ends for money owed during Covid?

  • According to this article, yes [source]

Things NOT to do as a landlord, even if tenant isn’t/can’t pay:

  • Cut off utilities
  • Lock tenants out of property
  • Force them out by removing their possessions or the door to the rental [source]
  • Harass tenant

The commonality we found from most articles in regard to this current state of the world showed that even if the eviction isn’t due to Cover, non-emergency hearings may have been paused for a time. While there is a federal law in place, many states/cities have more detailed ones. Always make sure to check your local laws. As of now, tenants will still be responsible for the rent owed, even if they cannot be evicted at this time. Details for that will depend on state/county/city.

Another resource with tips and advice, you should click here.

We hope you and your communities stay safe and healthy throughout this difficult time.