Hear from the experts in multi-family housing on this latest question facing countless property management companies across the state:
Caroline Kane, CEO at CKR Property Management:
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 issue there can often be a cloud of confusion on exactly what has been issued in reference to changes in current Texas state law. It is important that property management companies and investors are diligent in keeping up to date with local city and county eviction changes as well. Property managers can easily feel like they need an in-office attorney with all of the possible hurdles associated with the process in 2020.
The COVID-19 era is seemingly a terrible time to be losing tenants, as some face economic hardships due to loss of employment or reduction in take home pay. Many people are facing tough times. Property owners, especially for Class B and C properties, are incredibly strained as they face high non-payment numbers as well as occupancy challenges. For some, cash calls to owners are a more and more common occurrence these days.
The Supreme Court of Texas and the Office of the Governor have worked on a program to help keep from having to go through an undesirable eviction process with a tenant:
“The Supreme Court of Texas established the Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) through the Twenty-Seventh Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster. With funding allocated by Governor Greg Abbott through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the program seeks to reduce the number of evictions by enabling landlords and tenants to agree upon a resolution to non-payment of rent issues.”
A good resource with direct links to the documentation and process can be found on the Texas Judicial Branch website.
The Texas Realtors website has done an adequate job of providing a Coronavirus FAQ that lays out some helpful information to keep in mind as you stay up to date on current Texas Law changes. It’s a good starting point.
Please understand that due to the nature of this pandemic we have seen conditions change often and at a moment’s notice. In the end, it’s crucial that you work with a trusted attorney that can help to clarify the current law to date. That being said, it is up to us to remain vigilant in our awareness of local state and even federal law changes or opportunities to pass along programs/resources that can help all involved.
Kerry Ream, Partner at CRK Management:
It may sound simple, but it’s also helpful to encourage all relevant employees to review once again the actual eviction procedures as they stand during the pandemic. This allows you to open the conversation on tone, approach and evaluate current office systems.
A company-wide zoom team meeting is a good way to review protocol and stay up to date on changes. Assigning a dedicated pandemic-focused administrator who keeps track of all the local changes can be an effective and efficient way to make sure you are always in the know – it can even be a property manager who is currently working from home due to social distancing within property offices that have limited capacity and can only accommodate, for example one employee instead of the usual two or three along with visitors.
Crafting a weekly report may be helpful to make sure your entire team is on the same page and can offer customer service suggestions that all may appreciate. With the sensitive nature of evictions paired with the fact that many of your ideal tenants may be going through adverse situations -- a good property management company offering a competent staff will go far -- keeping the lines of communication open is vital to success for all parties involved. Communities thrive when residents understand keeping their management companies updated is a priority.
For more information, contact CKR.