How to Handle Dealing with Tenants Who Can’t Pay Rent During the COVID-19 Crisis

how to handle covid19 crisis as a landlord

In this post, I’m going to take the POV of a landlord. It’s important to hear from both sides – tenants and landlords – of the real estate marketplace when understanding the trajectory of the industry.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. It has affected our way of life, economy, and many businesses, including real estate significantly.

Today, the housing sector is one of the worst-hit sectors. Many landlords are going through tough times considering they need to pay off their mortgages as some mortgage companies still expect landlords to keep to their end of the bargain. Now, the big question is how will they settle their debts when tenants are unable to pay their rent? While some tenants genuinely cannot pay due to the stay at home order, others just don’t want to (rent strikes, etc.). This is very frustrating to landlords.

Here are some tips for how landlords should handle dealing with tenants who can’t pay their rents during this period.

Come to An Agreement with Your Tenants

Do not be harsh on your tenants. Take a leap of faith and trust those who have been steady on their payment but cannot pay now due to COVID-19. If they tell you they can’t pay rent due to having being laid off, give them some time till they can get back on their feet.

Collect Half Payment

Some tenants can only scrape up half the amount of their rent. So, if a tenant tells you they do not have the full amount, take the amount they are offering. It is better to have half the payment than to have nothing at all. Also, if a tenant made a deposit at the start of their contract, you can tell them you will use part of it for rent.

File for A Court Order

Some tenants are taking advantage of the current situation. Since they know landlords cannot send them packing, they go about doing whatever they want.  It is important to know that you can file for a court order granting an eviction notice. Immediately the court approves of it, go ahead and kick them out.

Reduce Rents

This is a good way to stay afloat during the lockdown. Draft a document and make tenants sign if they agree to the new rent policy. It will serve as proof in case a tenant wants to rip you off at the end of the lockdown.

Ask Tenants to Look at Other Options

The government has offered financial relief to citizens. If your tenants meet the requirements for this relief, advise them to contact the appropriate quarters for help with their rent. They can as well take a loan to pay up their rent.

Get in Touch with Financial Guarantors

At the start of the contract, some tenants give you the name of their financial guarantors. Reach out to that “somebody” if the tenant is away and unreachable. Be polite in finding out what happened to the tenant and how to reach them.

Do Not Harass Your Tenant

Tenants have the right to sue landlords to court in case of any harassment. Therefore, even if a tenant is late on their payment, exercise a little bit of patience. Do not call them incessantly, do not threaten, or insult them. Do not change their locks or put out their property without prior notice or permission from the court. If you do any of these, you will lose money and still face court judgment.

Control Your Emotions

As a landlord, you’re much stressed right now, and it’s taking a toll on you. Try various relaxation techniques so you’ll find that which works best for you. It’ll help you to be more rational. You will be able to make better decisions.

Acting reasonably during this lockdown will have its benefits in the future. Note; your tenants are clients and they have more rights than you do. So, treat them with love and care and give them the respect they deserve.

Be wise! Do all you can to maintain your reputation, while being firm to avoid being taken for granted.

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