While there are new variants of COVID-19 to worry about and a total end to the pandemic not yet in sight, things are a lot better than they were a year ago. Vaccines are available, infection rates are falling, and things are beginning to head back to a state of near-normalcy.
Many landlords and rental property owners, however, are still struggling to rebound from over a year of unreliable rental payments. The eviction moratorium ends at the end of June and several federal courts have recently struck it down as over-reaching. However, even as we head back to eviction court to reclaim properties when rent isn’t being paid, the moratorium has had an impact on the way we collect rent, work with tenants, and do business.
Here are some of the things to think about if you need to evict a Grand Rapids tenant right now.
Eviction Filings are Possible Again
Even during the eviction moratorium, Grand Rapids landlords could evict a tenant for reasons outside of nonpayment of rent. If a resident was violating a lease agreement without coming into compliance, engaging in illegal activities, or staying in place after the lease agreement ended, you could evict as you normally would.
However, you could not evict if rent was late due to the tenant being impacted financially by COVID.
With the moratorium coming to an end, you can again evict when rent is not paid. If you have a tenant who has not paid rent and has shown no interest in working with you through partial payments, payment arrangements, or long-term agreements to catch up, you can get the necessary paperwork together in order to move towards an eviction lawsuit.
A lot of people worry this will lead to mass evictions, but we don’t believe there’s cause for alarm. A lot of tenants who were struggling have been able to access government benefits and other resources to make rental payments. The job market is improving and there’s more opportunity to find employment. We have also found that tenants acting in good faith have been willing to work with landlords to get the rent paid. Those residents aren’t going to be the first that landlords want to evict.
Expect a Long Line at the Courthouse
While not every rental property owner is rushing to the courthouse, plan on waiting longer than normal to have your case heard. There’s likely going to be a backlog, especially since these cases have been on hold for so long.
It’s going to take some time for the courts to catch up, so make sure you’re using that time to get yourself organized if you’re planning to evict a tenant. You should have a copy of your lease agreement, payment histories, and copies of any correspondence between you and your tenants. Usually, when landlords can prove that rent hasn’t been paid and the tenant has violated the lease, it’s an easy win. However, things are different now and we don’t know how the courts will respond to the current situation.
Continue Working with Grand Rapids Tenants to Get Rent Paid
We know that many landlords have done a great job of leveraging the good relationships they have with their residents during this crisis. If you’ve been a resource to them and you’ve been willing to work with them on collecting as much rent as possible, it’s probably a good idea to continue nurturing that relationship. They’re more likely to get caught up with the rent that is overdue if they know you’re not in a hurry to evict.
This is also an important time not to be making irresponsible and unnecessary mistakes. Protect yourself and your property by following the correct legal process. Work with a Grand Rapids property management company so you can be sure you’re compliant and doing the best you can for yourself and your investment.
We know you’re probably exhausted from this long and ongoing crisis, and we’re here to support you in any way we can. Contact us at Short South Realty Group.