Though the eviction ban is back on, it doesn’t apply to everyone: just those in areas with the highest risk for COVID transmission. In other parts of the country, landlords are free to evict nonpaying tenants as usual. Still, it’s not the only option landlords have.
Are you dealing with nonpaying tenants on your rental property? There are other choices – and many could mean recouping some (or even all) of that back rent. So, consider one of these six alternatives instead before you move to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent.
1. File for rental assistance
The government has devoted billions to the Emergency Rental Assistance program, which offers funds to struggling tenants across the country. Funds can be used toward back rent, future rent and overdue utilities. Both tenants and landlords can apply.
2. Work out a payment plan
Give your tenant the chance to pay up – in a manageable way – by proposing some sort of payment plan. Just total up the rent they owe, divide it into biweekly installments for the next two to three months, and ask them to set up automatic payments to your account. (Biweekly is best, as that’s when most people get paid).
3. Offer credit card payments
Letting your tenants pay their back rent via credit card is another potential solution. It’s not the ideal way for most tenants to pay, as it racks up serious interest, but for some people, it might be worth it if they can stay in their house.
4. Negotiate a reduced rent
Clearly, accepting less than you’re actually owed isn’t fun, but if it means the difference between collecting zero rent and having at least a few hundred in the bank. It might be worth it – especially when faced with the legal costs of eviction. It’s a particularly smart choice if you know the tenant’s lease is ending soon anyway.
5. Bring in a mediator
Getting a professional mediator involved is another option to consider. In this scenario, you’d both sit down with an independent, third-party mediator to discuss both the situation and some potential solutions. They may propose a payment plan, some sort of move-out timeline, or another option that’s more desirable than eviction – for both of you.
6. Offer cash for keys
If you know you can re-rent the property quickly and want that tenant gone fast, you might consider the cash-for-keys approach. With this one, you offer the tenant a sum of money to hand over their keys and leave the property.
It sounds crazy (paying the tenant when they haven’t even paid you!), but considering how time-consuming and expensive eviction can get, it’s often the most efficient solution.
The Millionacres bottom line
Evictions may be allowed in some areas, but they’re not always the best — or the most affordable — option for a landlord. Make sure you consider alternatives before filing for eviction, and always talk with a local real estate attorney, too. They can give you an idea of how long evictions take in your area and what they may cost to execute.
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