We know this is an unprecedented time of uncertainty and anxiety for landlords and residents alike. Many tenants are suffering from job losses, furloughs and reduced hours, presenting unique challenges for landlords to collect rent and pay their mortgage, taxes and insurance, property management expenses, maintenance and more. Fortunately, there is help available that you, as a landlord, can direct your tenants to in order to collect rent payments.
1. C.A.R.E.S Act Payments
Landlords should remind tenants of the one-time cash payments coming from the CARES Act.
The federal government will be making one-time cash payments directly to our citizens. These payments should be issued during the month of April either by check or direct deposit.
- Individuals earning less than $75,000 will receive $1,200.
- Married couples earning less than $150,000 will receive $2,400.
- If you have children, you will receive $500 per child.
- Individuals earning more than $75,000 and less than $99,000 – and couples earning more than $150,000 and less than $198,000 – are eligible for a lesser amount.
2. Enhanced Unemployment Benefits
If your tenants have lost their job(s), you can point them towards applying for state unemployment benefits. From there, you may consider working out a payment plan for their rent since it can take several weeks before any unemployment benefits are received by your tenants.
Specifically during COVID-19, Congress is enhancing state unemployment to provide more income and to cover more people.
- Adds $600 per week for four months on top of state unemployment.
- Adds up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to those already enrolled but who are nearing the end of benefits.
- Expands the program to include a number of workers not normally eligible to receive unemployment benefits. This includes:
- Independent contractors/gig workers
- Those with limited work history
- Employees who are still employed, but whose hours have been reduced
Remind tenants that it is important to apply as soon as possible. To help expedite aid, the federal government is funding the first week of benefits to encourage states to waive traditional waiting periods, but it may still take a couple of weeks to be processed. Some tenants may struggle finding access to a computer to complete the application and it would be to your benefit to assist them in that challenge if you are able.
3. United Way of King County's Rental Assistance Program
United Way of King County, in collaboration with King County and the City of Seattle, announced they will provide one month of rental assistance to up to 2,000 area households to help them stay in their homes. Details (including the amount of assistance available) can be found at https://www.uwkc.org/renthelp/.
Let your tenants know about this program and that individuals are eligible if they
- Live in King County, WA
- Are behind in rent
- Are economically impacted by COVID-19
- Have an income below 50% of Area Median Income.
There's more you can do as a landlord during COVID-19, so here are some other tips for collecting rent during this pandemic.