Developing Your Crisis Plan as a Charleston Rental Property Owner

June 11, 2020 | By Charleston Property Company

The past few months have certainly been interesting for property management, Charleston, SC, landlords! These trials we've gone through as a community have shown many landlords that it is wise to have a plan in place for how you'll handle both economic hardship and restrictions, such as the "safer-at-home orders" during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As you consider revamping your approach to the future, this should be a time when you are also actively creating crisis plans that take into account a far wider array of difficulties, disasters, and other scenarios than were previously accounted for.

While no one can prepare for totally unprecedented events, many landlords experience a sense of peace when they know that they're prepared to handle many of the surprises that life can throw your way. Here are some fundamentals you should be considering when crafting your approach to crisis preparedness.

A quick note: While this blog post is designed to give you some tips to safeguard your rental property, this post is not intended as legal advice! When in doubt, work through such situations with trusted property management, Charleston, SC, landlords!

Address the Potential for Eviction

This situation isn't limited to a more significant crisis, but it is always a disappointing and frustrating path whenever eviction becomes necessary. Creating the plan for how you evict your renters, if needed, can be helpful in many ways. However, it has the side effect of creating an opportunity for remediation where your renter can instead choose to pay the rent, move out, or come to another agreement rather than heading straight to court.

The process should include documentation of your interactions with your tenant since these elements can be used as leverage to point out who has spoken or acted in bad faith. Careful documentation is also crucial if your means of pursuing eviction legally and ethically are temporarily suspended during a crisis scenario.

When the courts reopen, you'll be glad you had a procedure attuned to all local regulations regarding eviction. If you're not certain how to address such guidelines safely in your crisis plans, there has never been a better time to consult professional property management, Charleston, SC, landlords! Skilled Charleston property managers are careful to follow the letter of the law.

Having a plan helps you avoid conflict in that you simply have to do your part to maintain a positive relationship with your tenant. How they choose to move forward after that point is their choice.

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Plan for Job Losses to Impact Your Renter

No one would have guessed that 40 million or more people would find themselves unemployed during the first half of 2020. A smart way to respond is to create a plan for how you, ideally, would want to handle future recessions or tenant job loss. Consider, for instance:

  • At what moments in the crisis would you reach out to tenants to see how they are holding up?
  • If a tenant has lost a job due to a crisis, how quickly would you begin working on a payment plan?
  • If your tenants have been excellent renters, what kind of leniency can you grant during times of hardship?

The more clearly you outline your answers to these questions, the easier it is to avoid discrimination or choices that are made based on a current emotional state. Your tenants most likely will appreciate your calm and collected method of moving forward, even if the rent still needs to be paid. 

Plan a Savings Buffer—and How You'll Use It

The realities of being a landlord mean that having some liquid assets for use in a crisis is a smart call. A larger emergency fund than you'd have for personal spending can help you handle your property's demands without spiraling.

  • Large expenses put on a credit card or emergency loan can come with high-interest payments.
  • Planning allows you to set a goal for how much liquid savings you'd like to reach over time, as well as the circumstances that make it acceptable to dip into those savings.
  • Remember that these savings don't just benefit you: if you can float expenses for a month or two during a crisis, you can save yourself from finding new tenants if your renters simply need a few weeks to get back on their feet.

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Rely on Property Management for Guidance

All of your crisis preparation can be maximized by working with a trusted partner in property management, Charleston, SC, landlords. These experts have dealt with a variety of crises in the past—and can bring their experience to bear on your situation.

When your property manager can advise you on everything from red flags in tenant screening to when to initiate eviction proceedings, you can feel more confident in your choices while staying carefully within the law. You'll feel like you've got an additional co-author in your crisis-plan-writing process, since they've been through tough moments in the investment-property management world before.

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