6 Legal and Regulatory Considerations for your Rental Property

The Myndful Investor Podcast

6 Legal and Regulatory Considerations for your Rental Property

Rental Investor Starter Kit

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Landlords have a lot of questions about rental property regulations and the new laws that have been enacted as a result of COVID in 2020. How do you know if you can evict a tenant?  Learn more about the CARES Act and other regulations that apply to your rental property.

1. What Are my Options if Residents Can't Pay Rent?

Giles Imrie, Mynd’s VP Corporate Counsel, says it depends on where your property is located and what types of eviction moratoriums are currently in place that apply to you.  Some cities have recently opened and are allowing evictions to take place while others have a long wait ahead. Some areas will allow you to serve a statutory notice and file an eviction even though you can’t do anything with it for 30, 60 or 90 days. However, this does allow you to get in line.  The downside to serving a statutory notice is that you can no longer accept partial payments unless you want to start the eviction process over again.  

Even if you can file, it might not be worth it. Regardless of your location, there is not currently anything that forgives rent, so it might be in your best interest to accept the rent you can get and allow the balance to accrue. Once an eviction moratorium is lifted,you could then proceed with eviction based on the outstanding balance.

 

Communicate with your residents

Over communicate with your residents, especially your more difficult residents, to gain a better understanding of their situation. This is an opportunity to work with them and determine the best way to get as much of the rent as possible. Hopefully their COVID related impact (whether through illness or job situation) will be remedied quickly. Most of the state or city initiatives only protect residents if their financial hardship is COVID-19 impacted.  Residents are typically required to contact the landlord about their hardship within a certain time frame and provide documentation.  You can work with residents on payment plans or other options that benefit both of you. 

Open communication is key for both residents and landlords. As a landlord, you want to make it clear to the resident that rent is accruing during the eviction moratorium, and offer to work with them if they communicate with you.

2. Can I Evict my Resident if They Can't Pay Rent?

Your ability to evict a resident for non-payment depends on whether your property is covered by the Federal CARES Act, state orders, or city orders. If you are in an area that must comply with eviction moratorium, you will have to wait until it is lifted. Some states have opened and allowed evictions to be filled, so you will need to know if that applies to your state. For example, several counties in Georgia are allowing evictions, but California has a long way to go. 

Some states under a moratorium do allow you to file so you are in line for when they do open and allow evictions.  Check to see if your state allows you to serve a notice to vacate.

3. Where Can I Find Laws and Regulations That Apply to my Property?

4. Rental Property Laws and COVID

Giles suggests starting with the Federal CARES Act to determine if this applies to your rental property. This mostly applies if you have a federally backed mortgage or if your property is receiving federal subsidies like Section 8 Housing.

In terms of local, county, and state moratoriums, not every city is under an order that prevents eviction. Giles suggests starting by searching online “{your city} eviction moratorium” to find information for each level of government that applies to you.

 

Aggregate resources sites with rental property regulation information include:

  • National Apartment Association COVID-19 page
  • The Council of State Governors
  • Council of State Governments
  • National League of Cities

 

At Mynd Property Management, we make these types of resources available on our website for both owners and residents. Check out our COVID-19 Situation Room for up to date news and resources as well as our COVID FAQs.

5. Does the CARES Act apply to my property?

Federal CARES Act applies to all properties regardless of where you are located, so your first step is to determine if this applies to your rental property. The CARES Act is a federal act that prevents you from serving a notice to vacate to initiate an eviction for nonpayment of rent if your property is a covered dwelling.  

Generally the CARES Act going to apply to rental homes that are:

  • Receiving federal subsidies
  • Part of a Section 8 program
  • Have a Federally backed mortgage on the home (Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae)

If you aren’t covered under the CARES Act, you will still need to look at other orders that may apply to you.

If you are covered by the CARES Act, you CANNOT:

  • serve a notice to vacate to a resident that is in default for failure to pay rent
  • charge late fees

There is nothing a resident must do to have this protection; it is automatic under the CARES Act. This is different from some city or state legislation that requires that a resident be COVID-impacted to qualify.

 

6. What other COVID-19 Protections Do my Rental Property Residents Have?

If the Federal CARES Act does not apply, check for any state orders next.

Has your governor implemented a state-wide eviction moratorium? These vary from state to state, so you need to find the specifics from the state your property is located in. The next level will be to check your county or city for any applicable rules, laws, and regulations that may include initiatives or executive orders that may be even more protective than those at the federal or state level.

Laws, rules and regulation considerations at rental property

How long are these rules in place?

You will need to check the expiration and keep an eye out for possible extensions.State orders typically are in place for 30 days unless the governor extends them.  Make a note of when your state’s orders expire and check back for updates, extensions, or new executive orders. 

If you are a self-managing landlord looking to hire an experienced property management company, Mynd is ready to be your partner. Mynd offers three-tiered pricing in over 19 markets across the country, so you can select the level of service your needs.  Contact us today for a FREE rental analysis.

 

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