Evicting a tenant has always been fairly straightforward. There’s a legal process that must be followed in order to remove a tenant and get possession of your Birmingham rental property back. However, compared to other states, it’s pretty easy and not terribly time-consuming.
However, there’s currently an eviction moratorium in place due to the COVID pandemic. This is a federal eviction ban that the CDC put in place to avoid a large public housing and health crisis.
Tenants who have declared that they’re suffering financially due to the pandemic cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent. Currently, the moratorium has been extended until the end of June.
The best thing you can do as a Birmingham landlord is to communicate with your tenants and try to come to some kind of payment arrangement before the outstanding debt gets out of hand. The moratorium does not erase or eliminate the rent that’s owed. Therefore, coming to an agreement is good for both landlords and tenants.
Express Gratitude to Tenants Who Pay on Time
We know that a lot of tenants are continuing to pay their rent on time and in full. These renters have been fortunate to continue working or they work from home. Make sure you show your appreciation for the rent that keeps coming in and the adherence to your lease agreement. Good tenants need to know they’re valued; it will increase tenant retention and keep them on track with rental payments going forward.
Communicate with Tenants Who Cannot Pay
If you have a tenant who cannot pay rent due to the pandemic, you’ll want to see what kind of payment arrangement they’re willing to make. You can serve as a resource for these tenants by helping them access some of the benefits and stimulus money that they might be eligible for. This is a good time to be flexible. Getting some of the rent paid is better than getting none of the rent paid. See if they can come up with half of the rent every month. Direct them to the unemployment website if they’ve lost a job but have not filed yet. There are things you can do that won’t necessarily get the full rent coming in quickly but will mitigate the total absence of rent.
After the Eviction Moratorium
We don’t know what things will look like once the moratorium is lifted. A lot of landlords will likely be lining up at the courthouse to evict the tenants who have not paid.
Make sure you stick with the legal process if you do need to evict when evictions are possible. You’ll want to start with a Seven Day Notice before you file in court. The notice must be served in person or through a process server. It informs the tenant that rent must be paid within seven days, or the lease will terminate and you will file an eviction lawsuit.
We know this entire pandemic has been a challenge for a lot of landlords. We’re here to offer Birmingham property management support and advice. If you’d like to talk about the eviction moratorium or anything pertaining to your rental property, please contact us at Decas Group.