With millions of people losing their jobs – and in turn, their income – during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), it can be difficult at best for tenants to make their monthly rent payments. But, while skipping what is oftentimes the biggest living expense each month can ease financial hardship for tenants, it can have a negative impact on rental property owners – especially if there is still a mortgage on the property(ies).
Oftentimes, tough times call for creative measures so that everyone gets through, albeit with some compromises being made. With that in mind, there are some possible options that Florida rental property owners and their tenants could move forward with.
One of these could be to use the tenant’s security deposit towards the upcoming rent payment(s), with no requirement to repay these funds when the lease is up, and the tenant moves out. (In this case, though, landlords could find themselves using out-of-pocket money in the future to repair any damage that was left by the tenant).
Another alternative could be to work together with tenants in coming up with a dollar amount (temporarily) that is more realistic during this pandemic. In this instance, property owners could receive at least something to put towards their own expenses. Similarly, tenants may be able to split their rent into two or three smaller monthly payments.
Depending on the wording of the lease, there could be a “hardship” clause that allows the tenant to break their lease if they experience a change in their financial circumstances – oftentimes penalty-free. Leaving a property empty, however, may or may not be the best solution for the property owner.
During times like this, it is possible that tenants could look into various rental assistance programs – on either a local or national level. To find out more about these, tenants (and landlords) could search online for “Florida rental assistance,” and / or the website of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In any case, communication is key for coming up with the best solution possible for all. While it may still take some time for things to get back to “normal,” working together can help to make a difficult situation more bearable.