The following is an opinion piece by a long-time DREIA friend and member.
From a property manager and landlord/investor perspective, the consequences of COVID-19 are forcing us to make very difficult decisions in order to survive in this business. Gov. DeSantis again extended the eviction moratorium until October 1. (It would not be surprising if extensions continue and indeed the CDC has issued a moratorium through December 31, 2020. An Executive Order was also signed for the same date. Litigation will likely ensue and more uncertainty is ahead for tenants and landlords.)
On one hand, it is difficult to comprehend the challenges tenants directly impacted by COVID-19 face day in and day out. Losing a job and/or contracting the virus combined with possible eviction must seem unbearable.
Yet, landlords/investors are backed into a corner. We are actually dealing with three categories of tenants: 1) those who pay their rent; 2) those who are taking advantage of the circumstances; 3) those who are TRULY in a dire situation.
In March, we encouraged many of our customers (landlords) to contact their lenders to apply for loan deferments (halting payment for 3 months by adding these payment due dates to the end of the loan). In theory this is potentially a way to offset the payments and provide assistance to tenants in need. But there is a big challenge to this theory: this only stops principal and interest payments… insurance and taxes must be paid by the landlord. Maintenance requests don't abate so repair costs must be paid by the landlords too.
The state and courts should take stronger actions against tenants taking advantage of the circumstances. It is my hope more local, state and national programs will be initiated to assist tenants affected by COVID-19 to pay their rent directly to the landlord.
Eddie Miller, Partner
Pristine Property Management
Past-President, National Association of Residential Property Managers – SE Florida
Pristine Property Management, LLC
9480 NE 2nd Ave #128,
Miami Shores FL, 33138
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