As I type this from my basement office, reports are that somewhere between 25% to 33% of renters did not pay their full monthly rent on or about April 1. That is, of course, a significantly higher figure than any other month to my memory. Leasing office team members from California to Florida are working with individual residents on a one by one basis in an effort to meet their needs. I have heard from management companies noting they are doing delayed payments, partial payments, deferred payments, waiving late fees, waiving interest, and/or discussing early termination options. Another challenge is attempting to determine which residents are legitimately in a financial bind because of the Coronavirus and which are (unfortunately) attempting to use the pandemic to simply skate on their rent (while they continue live in their apartment home). And we have never been in a circumstance like this in which even if management wanted to file eviction actions against otherwise delinquent residents (which we most certainly do not), many local courts are either closed or any number of Governors have mandated a pause on all evictions during this unprecedented time.

My best advice right now remains to communicate. Leasing office team members want to speak with residents.

On a sort of related note, two readers asked me about the ability of landlords to prevent medium to large size gatherings during this time. While every situation is governed by state law and individual leases, here are a few thoughts that might be helpful. The real estate laws generally give management rights to control their apartment communities with an eye toward preventing damage and waste as well as protecting the safety of residents and guests.

Right now, a vast majority of the American population (including my family) is under some type of “Shelter in Place” or “Stay at Home” order issued by many Governors. As such, particularly when a state is under severe restrictions and permits only essential businesses to remain open as well as limiting travel to grocery stores and pharmacies (along with a handful of other approved activities outside of the home), my instinct is that a leasing office could well indeed prohibit random guests or gatherings of people which otherwise would have been appropriate based on the current public health emergency. Hope that helps.

Just A Thought.