Maintaining a steady income from your rental property is extremely difficult today. The coronavirus pandemic has brought numerous restrictions and economic issues, and securing tenants has never been more challenging.
Landlords face increasing vacancies and problems finding new tenants while also having to deal with stricter regulations about property maintenance.
However, your rental business can still thrive, even in these trying times. You just have to be a bit resourceful and adaptive.
Here are some tips to keep you afloat financially amidst a global pandemic.
Keep Your Property in Great Condition
The first rule of being successful at property management is to keep your assets in mint condition. Whether it’s a global pandemic, economic crisis, or just regular circumstances, people will always choose a well-kept property over any alternative.
If your rental is currently vacant, it’s a great opportunity to go through a detailed home inspection checklist and make sure everything’s in order.
Apart from ensuring that everything in the house or apartment works, you should also consider adding some details to make it more inviting. Maybe you could paint a kitchen wall bright or focus on curb appeal.
If you have tenants, don’t postpone any essential fixes. However, non-essential inspections and touch-ups can wait if you want to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
Don’t Be Afraid to Lower Your Rent
It may seem counterintuitive, but if your property has been vacant for a while now, it could pay off to lower your rent a bit. You don’t have to go overboard — start with 5–10% and see if that works. You can adjust the price further later.
If you already have tenants, but they can’t afford to pay their rent on time, you may offer some temporary payment solutions. For example, maybe they just need a bit more time, so consider extending their due date.
You may also suggest an alternative payment plan, i.e., paying in installments. Spreading it out over a longer period of time is not only generous of you and could mean the world to your tenants, but it may also benefit you. Late payments are still better than vacancies.
Make Use of Government’s Measures
If you’re struggling financially, you should also check your government’s coronavirus measures — maybe they provide some kind of relief for landlords who struggle with vacancies or they offer grants.
You may also talk to your bank if you’re late on your mortgage payment. Banks have been offering more flexibility regarding loans and mortgages, so you may be able to negotiate a break for a couple of months.
These are not ideal solutions, but they’re especially important if you’re faced with an eviction moratorium, and you have tenants who haven’t paid their rent in months.
Advertise on More Channels
In times of lower demand, you need higher visibility. That’s why you need to be present across as many channels as possible.
Maybe you’re used to relying solely on traditional rental agencies, but that may not be enough. After all, we’re all mostly online lately, so it makes sense to be as present as possible online.
For starters, make sure your listings are on as many online rental platforms as possible. If you already are on all the channels, maybe it’s time for a touch-up of your listings. Consider taking better pictures of your property, for example.
Many people also tend to search for housing on social media. For instance, Facebook is full of housing groups where people put up their rental property info and find tenants.
Adapt Your Tenant Preferences
It’s okay to be careful and even nitpicky when looking for tenants, but if you’re struggling right now, maybe it’s time to widen your audience.
If you have a policy against pets, for example, you may want to reconsider it. Around 70% of renters have pets, so you see how you could be missing out. Even if the renters own a giraffe, it is unlikely to cause you more damage than the tenants can bring you profit.
You might also change your minimum stay policy or drop it altogether. It’s better to have more people over a shorter period of time than a completely vacant property.
Hire a Property Management Company
If you feel overwhelmed and can’t handle your rental property on your own, consider hiring a property management company. A professional can take on the whole process, from screening to ending tenancy if need be.
The best thing about these companies is that they are deep in the rental business. They monitor the market closely and know it inside-out. So a property manager will know exactly when to lower the rental prices and how much, as well as when it’s time to make compromises.
You may feel like having a professional handle your property could mean even more expenses, but it could actually save your business and help you profit.
Offer More Flexibility
One thing that can seriously deter any renters is a strict cancelation policy. Now more than ever, we live in a time of uncertainty, and no one can guarantee that they’ll be able to stay for as long as you need them to.
So put yourself in potential tenants’ shoes. If they can’t agree to a strict cancelation policy, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t stick to it — it just means that they might not be able to. That’s why they’ll find someone more flexible.
All things considered, it might be better to switch to a more lenient cancelation policy.
Move What You Can Online
If you want to avoid in-person viewings, or you wish to cater to renters who want to avoid it if possible, it’s time to turn to technology for help. You can move almost the entire renting process online.
For starters, make sure your listings contain high-quality media showcasing your property in as much detail as possible. Pictures are great, but videos are also a must.
You may also resort to online viewing with potential customers so that you can respect social distancing measures. You don’t even have to be tech-savvy to do that — almost any communication app nowadays makes video calls easy.