If ever there was a time that made the importance of having a crisis plan clear, we’re living through it now. Whether you’ve chosen to become a property investor with a diverse portfolio, or you simply own a few Washington DC homes for rent and enjoy the passive income they provide, you’re no doubt feeling the effects of our current crisis. One thing is for certain: every landlord needs a plan.
Having a crisis plan in place is essential to getting through troubled times with your business intact, and our expert team here at Renters Warehouse is here to help. It’s hard to completely recession-proof your property, but with the right plan and some help from an experienced property manager, you can adapt to just about everything thrown your way.
A word of caution: This blog post does not act as a substitute for legal counsel. When in doubt, consult with your trusted attorney or Professional Landlord for real-time assistance concerning your Washington rental homes!
How to Create a Crisis Plan
It’s hard to talk about creating a plan for the future without resorting to clichés like “be ready for anything” or “expect the unexpected.” Those kinds of statements aren’t really all that helpful when taken at face value, but you can still get something out of them if you look at them the right way. It’s not so much about seeing into the future and anticipating crises before they strike; it’s more a matter of being flexible and ready to adapt to changing conditions.
- Creating a crisis plan for your Washington DC homes for rent means being ready in case something happens that prevents your tenants from paying rent.
- It means knowing how to keep tenants if possible, and what to do if you find yourself faced with the unfortunate need to evict someone.
- It means saving up a nest egg, so you have some cushion in case the worst happens.
No one could have ever predicted the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can be ready for something like it if we give ourselves the ability to be flexible. Here’s what your crisis plan should include.
What to Do If You Need to Evict a Tenant
No one wants to have to evict a tenant, but it’s important to have an established protocol in place if eviction becomes necessary. It’s generally preferable to work with a tenant as much as possible to avoid eviction, especially in a situation like our current crisis, during which so many tenants are out of work. Eviction should be seen as a last resort—but you need to have a plan for when it becomes unavoidable. This includes:
- Establishing what offenses warrant eviction
- Spelling out what constitutes grounds for eviction in all your leasing agreements
- Giving due notice for all evictions (30 days is standard)
- Making sure that all evictions follow state, federal and local laws.
What to Do If Your Tenants Can’t Pay Rent
If a tenant can’t or won’t pay rent, what do you do? It’s one thing if you have a single tenant who doesn’t pay their rent, but quite another if a recession or crisis causes widespread financial struggles and loss of jobs. Situations like these require that you approach tenants with compassion and understanding while keeping in mind that your own livelihood is on the line.
- Be prepared to work with tenants, when necessary, if they are unable to pay rent. For Washington DC homes for rent, this is currently a requirement established by the DC Council.
- Have an established payment plan ready, allowing tenants to pay what they can now and make up the balance at a later date.
Again, this isn’t for a delinquent tenant under normal circumstances; it’s for when a sudden crisis affects a wide swath of the population. Landlords and tenants alike are struggling during our current pandemic, and both could have had an easier time if plans were in place beforehand.
How Much You Should Keep in Savings
If you own Washington DC homes for rent, you already know it’s important to have a nest egg, just in case. If the water heater breaks or the roof starts to leak, you have to be ready to finance those repairs. But as the situation in the last few months has taught us, there are far worse disasters to be prepared for.
Knowing how much you should have set aside as an emergency fund requires doing some simple math.
- What are your expenses?
- How much do you normally bring in from rental revenue?
- What’s the least you could make and still get by?
It’s best to have enough set aside in your emergency fund that you could keep your head above water for six months with no income if you had to.
Seeking Help From an Experienced DC Property Manager
Entrusting your rental property into the hands of an experienced management company makes everything simpler. A dedicated property manager will approach your investment in a way that is mutually beneficial to you and your tenants, and have a crisis plan in place for landlord peace of mind. Services offered include:
- A rental price analysis
- Thorough property inspections
- Tenant screening services
- Property marketing and advertising
- Timely rent collection
- Easy online rent payments
- Overseeing evictions
- Prompt maintenance and repairs
- Automatic bookkeeping.
Property management is helpful even in the best of times, but it’s especially beneficial during challenging times. Contact us today to learn more about how our team at Renters Warehouse can help keep you get the most out of your Washington DC homes for rent.
If you want to tap into our insight while you wait, get started with your free copy of our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook!