COVID-19 AND RENTAL PROPERTY RENT

That although the local sales market has seen little impact from the pandemic, the rental market has been negatively impacted?  Insurify researched the twenty cities with the most significant decreases in rent costs during the pandemic.  While nationwide rents have been stable with an average change of .0067% between March and September, rents have declined appreciably in some cities. 

In 17 of the 20 cities with the greatest decline in rent, rents are still at least 35% higher than the national average.  Bellevue has the 17th highest reduction in average rents while Seattle has the 16th.

Bellevue, WA

*Average percent decrease in rent: -9.69%

*Average rent for a 2-Bedroom apartment (9/2020): $2,115

*Change in rent year-over-year (2019-2020):  -7.9%

Seattle, WA

*Average percent decrease in rent: -9.88%

*Average rent for a 2-Bedroom apartment (9/2020): $1,940

*Change in rent year-over-year (2019-2020):  -8.8%

The cities with the greatest decreases are in previously low rent areas; Odessa, Texas with an average decrease between March and September of 26.4% and Williston, ND with 24.45% reduction in rent.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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LANDLORD SUPPORT OR ??????????

That King County has a program to assist small landlords who have tenants with unpaid rent due to the pandemic?  The Small Landlord Fund assists landlords with nine or fewer tenants who have unpaid rent that became due on or after March 1, 2020. Small landlords with properties in King County are eligible. The funding is awarded by a lottery.

Tenants must pass eligibility standards and landlords must agree to:

1. Accept three months of rental assistance on behalf of the participating tenant at the lesser of either: (a) 80% of the otherwise applicable total rent for three months; or (b) fair market rent for the three months. Any rental debt owed by the tenant for more than the three months must be forgiven. If rental debt is less than three months, assistance may be paid for past due and future rent up to three months not to extend beyond December 2020.

2. Not terminate or refuse to renew the participating tenant’s tenancy absent good cause until March 31, 2021.

3. Not raise rent on current tenant(s) served by this program until March 31, 2021.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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ANOTHER EVICTION MORATORIUM

That during the governor’s press briefing on Thursday, he announced that the eviction moratorium will be extended to the end of the year?  The specifics of the next (#5) eviction proclamation will be given on Monday, October 12th

Tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent, but rent does continue accruing.  While there are a variety of federal, state and local programs to assist tenants, those programs are not able to meet demand.  Tenants who are unable to pay rent can’t be evicted, but they are unlikely to be able to pay for multiple months of  back rent once the moratorium is lifted. If landlords and tenants can’t negotiate a settlement/payment plan, many tenants will lose their housing and landlords will be unlikely to ever recover the lost rental income.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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RENT PAYMENT DELAYED – LIVES TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

According to Rentec, the number of tenants unable to pay rent in full has increased with each month of the pandemic.  As of September 10th, rent payments received nationwide by property managers and landlords they polled were 35% lower than rent received for the same period in March.

At the same time, Brookings Institute researchers found a tenant’s inability to pay rent has a disproportionate impact on landlords making less than $50,000 a year, who are also more likely than higher earners to have lost a job or employment income during the recession.

Their research shows that roughly a third of individual landlords who own residential property are from low-to moderate-income households (those with incomes of less than $90,000 a year). Rent makes up 19% of household income for those making less than $50,000 a year, and 15% for those making $50,000 to $89,000 a year. By comparison, residential landlords who make more than $200,000 a year derive about 5% of their annual income from rent.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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RESIDENTIAL RENTAL EVICTIONS & COVID-19

That not only does the governor’s proclamation ban evictions, it also bans threatening a tenant with eviction?  The state moratorium bans any action to remove a tenant, with three exceptions.  A tenant may be given a notice to vacate only if the owner wants to sell the property, wants to move in themselves or the tenant creates a, “significant and immediate risk to the health, safety or property of others.”

The Northwest Justice Project reports an increase in notices to vacate due to the landlord’s intention to sell.  Some tenant advocacy groups theorize that landlords are using this option to evict tenants who have not paid rent.  The governor’s office said, “if a complaint is filed with the (Attorney General’s Office) and it is determined that the owner acted in bad faith, there would potentially be grounds to take legal action against the owner.”

However, many landlords are also suffering financially due to the pandemic and legitimately need to sell. The president of the Washington Landlord Multifamily Housing Association, which also represents small landlords, stated that, “individuals who rent just one or a few properties are experiencing hardship amidst COVID-19 when their residents are unable to pay rent.”

Several Seattle landlords have filed a federal lawsuit against the state and the city of Seattle over Governor Inslee and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s emergency eviction moratoriums, and a Seattle City Council repayment ordinance that largely blocks landlords from even trying to collect unpaid rent until six months after the pandemic emergency ends.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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THE CDC ISSUES EVICTION BAN

That the CDC has banned evictions nationwide through the end of the year?  The ban was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using authority granted in a 1944 public health law. The purpose is to prevent homelessness and crowded living conditions that could worsen the spread of COVID-19.  The CDC’s order requires tenants who fall behind on rent to submit a declaration to their landlord that must state that the tenant: 

  • Has used “best efforts” to look for financial assistance.
  • Doesn’t expect to earn more than $99,000 in 2020 (or $198,000 if filing jointly).
  • Can’t pay full rent amount because of lost income or “extraordinary” medical expenses.
  • Has tried to pay as much rent in as timely a manner as possible.
  • Would likely become homeless and have to live in a shelter or some other crowded place if evicted.

As long as the state eviction moratorium is in place, since it provides greater protections to tenants, it will apply.  The current state ban is through October 15th.  The Seattle eviction moratorium, which also provides tenants greater protections, is also through December 31st

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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COVID-19 and unpaid rent in Washington State

That there are a number of reasons why a landlord should work with tenants unable to pay rent in full due to the pandemic?

  • The governor’s eviction moratorium requires landlords to provide a “reasonable” payment plan to tenants unable to pay rent.
  • Financial rescue efforts that were largely effective in keeping tenants in their homes, are ending.
  • Nationally between 15 and 20% of tenants have been unable to pay residential rent.  In some markets that number is as high as 59%.
  • A tenant who hasn’t been able to pay rent in full thus far won’t suddenly have enough money to pay back past due rent when the moratorium is lifted.
  • wave of evictions would hurt landlords, too. Experts predict that nationally the vacancy rate will peak at 7%, and rents will drop by about 8%.  As vacancies increase, days on market are likely to also increase and rents to decrease.
  • Housing experts predict we may see as many as two million evictions in September alone – the amount the U.S. usually sees over an entire year.

If landlords and tenants can work together to negotiate a payment plan that the tenant can adhere to, it may be to the advantage of both.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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FAIR HOUSING AND DISABILITY

That fair housing laws require that landlords permit, at the expense of the person with a disability, reasonable modifications of the rental property if necessary, for the tenant’s full enjoyment of the premises? The landlord can require that the tenant restore the property to its original condition when the tenant vacates if the modification will interfere with the next tenant’s use and enjoyment of the rental.  The addition of a wheelchair ramp, adding grab bars in the bathroom or modifying plumbing to accommodate dialysis equipment could all be considered reasonable modifications.

If a tenant was hospitalized for an extended period of time due to Covid -19, it is likely he would be considered disabled and granting an early termination request, without penalty, could be considered a reasonable accommodation.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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WHERE WE ARE – FROM WHERE WE STARTED

Since mid-March there have been four proclamations from the governor affecting tenant and landlord rights, two changes to the state Landlord Tenant Act as well as a variety of changes and proposed changes to rental regulations in Seattle.

  1. There have been four versions of the state Eviction Moratorium. The most recent version is through October 15th.   Landlords cannot require tenants to vacate, even at the end of the lease, unless the owner wants to move into the rental or sell it.
  2. The Landlord Tenant Act has two new clauses regarding rent payments, late fees and payment plans for move in costs.
  3. The current Seattle eviction moratorium goes through the end of the year and does not allow landlords to require tenants to vacate for any reason.  Seattle is also considering forgiveness of past due rent payments which occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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LANDLORDS!!! NO EVICTIONS ALLOWED!!

That the governor extended the eviction moratorium to October 15th?  This is the third extension and includes prohibitions from previous proclamations:

~Rent cannot be increased,

~Late fees cannot be charged, 

~A “reasonable” payment plan must be offered if tenants are having trouble paying rent, and

~Tenants cannot be required to vacate at the end of the lease, even if the tenant is on a month-to-month rental agreement. 

~The landlord may give a 60-day notice to vacate if the owner wants to move in the rental home or sell it.

~The proclamation calls for the formation of “an informal workgroup” to consider potential changes to the eviction moratorium if it needs to be extended again.

~In addition, Governor Inslee calls for the legislature to address, “the specific parameters for reasonable re-payment plans related to outstanding rent or fees.”

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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