April 9, 2021 - Dr. Lisa Sturtevant
Virginia REALTORS® administered an online survey of its members that work with renters either directly as landlords or as property managers. The survey was conducted July 23-26, 2020, and there were 134 respondents. The primary goal of this survey was to gather on-the-ground information about whether landlords/property managers are dealing with rent non-payment issues and whether and how they are offering payment plans. The results from this survey suggest that landlords and property managers have been working with tenants who are having challenges paying their rent.
Highlights from the July 23-26, 2020 survey include:
- More than half of respondents (54%) say they have tenants asking to delay rent because of job or income loss.
- Nearly all landlords and property managers that responded (90%) are offering some type of payment plans, and these plans tend to be highly individualized.
- More than one in ten respondents (12%) say they or their tenants have taken advantage of the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program. Most that have not taken advantage of the program say they’ve been able to work out payment plans one-on-one with tenants.
- About 10% of respondents say they are thinking about getting out of the rental business because of COVID-19.
Tenants Unable to Pay Rent
According to this survey, more than half of respondents (54%) say that they have tenants who have asked about delaying rent payments because of job or income loss. About 42% say they have had no rent issues related to coronavirus.
When tenants are having trouble paying rent as a result of COVID-19, more than 90% of landlords and property managers that responded to this survey say they are offering payment plans. Only 7% say they are not able to offer payment plans, and 23% are terminating leases.
Landlords and property managers are offering many different variations of payment plans, although the plans generally involve deferring payment (rather than forgiving payment) and breaking rent payments into small amounts to be paid over time. Many landlords and property managers say they are developing individual payment plans based on tenants’ particular needs.
For those not offering payment plans, the primary reasons are that the individual property owners cannot afford to offer deferrals or reductions. Respondents also say that some tenants are not communicative with landlords.
Rent Relief Program
Respondents were asked the following question:
“In June, the Virginia Governor launched the Rent and Mortgage Relief program to help Virginians with rent or mortgage. This program provides assistance directly to landlords on behalf of tenants having trouble making their rent. Have you or your tenants taken advantage of this new program?”
Only 12% of respondents say that they or their tenants have taking advantage of the Rent Relief Program. About two-thirds (66%) of respondents indicate they have not used this program, and 22% say they are not sure.
Most landlords and property managers are not using the Rent and Mortgage Relief program because they say they do not have tenants who would be eligible, or they have worked out satisfactory payment plans with tenants. About a quarter of respondents indicate that they do not know about the program.
A note about surveys: It is important to remember that this is not a randomized sample survey of Virginia REALTORS® members who are landlords and property managers. The very small sample size means one should be cautious about inferring these results to the entire group of Virginia REALTORS® landlords and property managers. The statistics from this survey have a margin of error of +/- 8%.
For more information, please contact Lisa Sturtevant at email@example.com.
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