How to Collect Rent During the Nationwide Eviction Moratorium

How to Collect Rent During the Nationwide Eviction Moratorium

How to Collect Rent During the Nationwide Eviction Moratorium

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Landlords across the nation collectively grimaced when President Trump, under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), issued an eviction moratorium through the end of the year 2020. You can read the full order here. While the announcement was a relief to struggling renters, it did little to shore up the financial situation of property owners and managers.

Here’s What Landlords Should Know About the Moratorium

Not Everyone Qualifies

To take advantage of the hold on evictions, renters must sign a document, under penalty of perjury, claiming that they meet the following criteria:

Landlords across the nation collectively grimaced when President Trump, under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), issued an eviction moratorium through the end of the year 2020. You can read the full order here. While the announcement was a relief to struggling renters, it did little to shore up the financial situation of property owners and managers.

Here’s What Landlords Should Know About the Moratorium

Not Everyone Qualifies

To take advantage of the hold on evictions, renters must sign a document, under penalty of perjury, claiming that they meet the following criteria:

guy freaking out about his paperwork
      • They have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent.
      • They expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
      • They are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of income or employment, or extraordinary medical bills.
      • If evicted, they will become homeless or will be forced to move in with family members and friends in close quarters.

Learn about the CDC’s recent updates here.

guy freaking out about his paperwork
  • They have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent.
  • They expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
  • They are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of income or employment, or extraordinary medical bills.
  • If evicted, they will become homeless or will be forced to move in with family members and friends in close quarters.

Rent Must Still Be Paid

While the moratorium does eliminate the stress of having nowhere to live during a global pandemic, it does not forgive the rent that is owed. Once the moratorium expires on December 31, 2020, landlords may require payment in full for all rent charges and fees not paid during the temporary halt. In the meantime, renters must agree to make partial payments to the best of their ability.

Late Fees are Fair Game

Fees, penalties, and interest for not paying rent can still be charged or collected in compliance with the tenancy, lease agreement, or any other contract. However, it is advisable to apply these fees and charges with caution. Communicate with your tenant about what they’re able to pay and when and if they meet those obligations, consider withholding further penalties while they work to improve their financial situation.

Seek Assistance

Help your tenant find local programs that are offering loan assistance. Encourage them to contact The United Way (simply dial 211 ), justshelter.org, or other government agencies. Any assistance now will ensure that when the moratorium expires, renters are not staring at a massive pile of owed back rent with no way of paying.

Learn about the CDC’s recent updates here.

Rent Must Still Be Paid

While the moratorium does eliminate the stress of having nowhere to live during a global pandemic, it does not forgive the rent that is owed. Once the moratorium expires on December 31, 2020, landlords may require payment in full for all rent charges and fees not paid during the temporary halt. In the meantime, renters must agree to make partial payments to the best of their ability.

Late Fees are Fair Game

Fees, penalties, and interest for not paying rent can still be charged or collected in compliance with the tenancy, lease agreement, or any other contract. However, it is advisable to apply these fees and charges with caution. Communicate with your tenant about what they’re able to pay and when and if they meet those obligations, consider withholding further penalties while they work to improve their financial situation.

calendar rent day marked

Seek Assistance

Help your tenant find local programs that are offering loan assistance. Encourage them to contact The United Way (simply dial 211 ), justshelter.org, or other government agencies. Any assistance now will ensure that when the moratorium expires, renters are not staring at a massive pile of owed back rent with no way of paying.

During the moratorium period, landlords should also seek relief if they are unable to meet their financial obligations. Speak with your creditor about postponing payments for a few months or reworking your contracts to allow for more flexibility during this health and economic crisis.

calendar rent day marked

During the moratorium period, landlords should also seek relief if they are unable to meet their financial obligations. Speak with your creditor about postponing payments for a few months or reworking your contracts to allow for more flexibility during this health and economic crisis.

Make Paying Rent Convenient.

Encourage your tenants to make smaller payments in weekly or biweekly installments to reduce the burden of larger lump sum payments. The fewer hoops that your tenant has to jump through to make a payment, the more likely you are to get paid. Eliminate the hassle of money orders and personal checks. Collecting rent online is safe, convenient, and secure. It provides a reliable payment paper trail, and tenants can pay any time they’d like. 

Make Paying Rent Convenient.

Encourage your tenants to make smaller payments in weekly or biweekly installments to reduce the burden of larger lump sum payments. The fewer hoops that your tenant has to jump through to make a payment, the more likely you are to get paid. Eliminate the hassle of money orders and personal checks. Collecting rent online is safe, convenient, and secure. It provides a reliable payment paper trail, and tenants can pay any time they’d like. 

You Can Still Evict Trouble Tenants.

The current eviction moratorium only applies to evictions on the ground of nonpayment. Tenants can still be evicted if there is property damage, criminal activity, health and safety concerns, or if they aren’t meeting other terms of the lease agreement.

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You Can Still Evict Trouble Tenants.

The current eviction moratorium only applies to evictions on the ground of nonpayment. Tenants can still be evicted if there is property damage, criminal activity, health and safety concerns, or if they aren’t meeting other terms of the lease agreement.

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Tenant Screening

Can Your Tenant Legally Own An Alligator As An Emotional Support Animal?

When you think of an emotional support animal, what comes to mind? It would be fair to assume the first thought to enter one’s head would be a dog, if not some kind of bipedal mammal — and most likely not a reptilian carnivore with razor-sharp teeth.

In enters WallyGator: a five-and-a-half foot, 70-pound TikTok famous alligator with over 72,600 followers on the platform owned by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native Joie Henney. While it is legal to own alligators in Philadelphia, that isn’t the case in many other states — nor is it likely that the majority of pet gators, if any, qualify as emotional support animals. Or is it?

Since Wally’s uptick in popularity on the internet back in August, “alligators” as a related topic to the Google search query “emotional support animal” has seen a 300% increase in search frequency, most likely for the purposes of curious internet users seeing and reading about WallyGator for themselves. However, with the increase in popularity of keeping various species of reptiles as house pets and the common need for emotional support animals, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that people with legitimate mental health conditions, unique cases of PTSD, or related conditions could be looking into obtaining a support gator of their own.

As we’ve previously covered, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided guidance on how the Fair Housing Act (FHA) interfaces with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regarding emotional support animals. HUD classifies assistance animals into two different categories in order to distinguish their roles from one another: service animals (primarily dogs), and other trained animals that do work, perform tasks, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities. Per HUD’s guidelines, because Wally is not a dog, he, therefore, cannot qualify as a service animal – so, how does HUD define Wally and his role, exactly?

HUD states if the service animal status is not readily apparent, to limit inquiries to two questions: “Is the animal required because of a disability?” and “What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?”, and if the answer to either question is no, then following denial of service animal status under federal, HUD states that the animal can still qualify as a support animal or other assistance animal, depending on what needs to be accommodated.

In Wally’s case, Henney received approval to use him as a support animal after expressing to his doctor he did not want to be medicated for depression following the deaths of several family members and close friends in a short period of time, and more recently, his untimely cancer diagnosis. Even before rescuing and adopting Wally, Henney has worked with and rescued reptiles (particularly alligators) for over thirty years, and his vocation is one he is very passionate about – so it stands to reason his support animal of choice would be one he’s so accustomed to working with.

Because the ADA makes the same distinction that an emotional support animal would only be classified as such due to its mere presence providing comfort as opposed to employing any training to respond to a situation, HUD’s guidelines technically, but clearly grant Wally his status as a legitimate emotional support animal under federal law.

While Wally’s status is protected in the eyes of the law, HUD also states that a housing provider can refuse a reasonable accommodation request for a support or assistance animal if said animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or would result in substantial physical damage to the property of other which cannot be reduced or eliminated. However, before denying such a request due to a lack of information, a housing provider is encouraged to engage in a “good-faith” conversation with the owner of the support animal to gather information about the animal and mitigate any potential misunderstandings regarding its purpose.

Luckily for most property owners, WallyGator is very much an anomaly, and most folks aren’t scrambling to obtain an emotional support gator of their very own, anyway. Henney himself calls Wally a “very special gator” (he’s trained Wally to understand commands and to keep his mouth closed around other people) and actively discourages others to adopt a pet alligator if they’re not actively predisposed to working with alligators, stating “if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get bit”.

Check out ApplyConnect’s HUD guidance breakdown: https://www.applyconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Emotional-support-animals_-HUDs-Guidance-cliff-notes-AC-Version.pdf

Read More »

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Tenant Screening

Can Your Tenant Legally Own An Alligator As An Emotional Support Animal?

When you think of an emotional support animal, what comes to mind? It would be fair to assume the first thought to enter one’s head would be a dog, if not some kind of bipedal mammal — and most likely not a reptilian carnivore with razor-sharp teeth.

In enters WallyGator: a five-and-a-half foot, 70-pound TikTok famous alligator with over 72,600 followers on the platform owned by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native Joie Henney. While it is legal to own alligators in Philadelphia, that isn’t the case in many other states — nor is it likely that the majority of pet gators, if any, qualify as emotional support animals. Or is it?

Since Wally’s uptick in popularity on the internet back in August, “alligators” as a related topic to the Google search query “emotional support animal” has seen a 300% increase in search frequency, most likely for the purposes of curious internet users seeing and reading about WallyGator for themselves. However, with the increase in popularity of keeping various species of reptiles as house pets and the common need for emotional support animals, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that people with legitimate mental health conditions, unique cases of PTSD, or related conditions could be looking into obtaining a support gator of their own.

As we’ve previously covered, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided guidance on how the Fair Housing Act (FHA) interfaces with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regarding emotional support animals. HUD classifies assistance animals into two different categories in order to distinguish their roles from one another: service animals (primarily dogs), and other trained animals that do work, perform tasks, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities. Per HUD’s guidelines, because Wally is not a dog, he, therefore, cannot qualify as a service animal – so, how does HUD define Wally and his role, exactly?

HUD states if the service animal status is not readily apparent, to limit inquiries to two questions: “Is the animal required because of a disability?” and “What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?”, and if the answer to either question is no, then following denial of service animal status under federal, HUD states that the animal can still qualify as a support animal or other assistance animal, depending on what needs to be accommodated.

In Wally’s case, Henney received approval to use him as a support animal after expressing to his doctor he did not want to be medicated for depression following the deaths of several family members and close friends in a short period of time, and more recently, his untimely cancer diagnosis. Even before rescuing and adopting Wally, Henney has worked with and rescued reptiles (particularly alligators) for over thirty years, and his vocation is one he is very passionate about – so it stands to reason his support animal of choice would be one he’s so accustomed to working with.

Because the ADA makes the same distinction that an emotional support animal would only be classified as such due to its mere presence providing comfort as opposed to employing any training to respond to a situation, HUD’s guidelines technically, but clearly grant Wally his status as a legitimate emotional support animal under federal law.

While Wally’s status is protected in the eyes of the law, HUD also states that a housing provider can refuse a reasonable accommodation request for a support or assistance animal if said animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or would result in substantial physical damage to the property of other which cannot be reduced or eliminated. However, before denying such a request due to a lack of information, a housing provider is encouraged to engage in a “good-faith” conversation with the owner of the support animal to gather information about the animal and mitigate any potential misunderstandings regarding its purpose.

Luckily for most property owners, WallyGator is very much an anomaly, and most folks aren’t scrambling to obtain an emotional support gator of their very own, anyway. Henney himself calls Wally a “very special gator” (he’s trained Wally to understand commands and to keep his mouth closed around other people) and actively discourages others to adopt a pet alligator if they’re not actively predisposed to working with alligators, stating “if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get bit”.

Check out ApplyConnect’s HUD guidance breakdown: https://www.applyconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Emotional-support-animals_-HUDs-Guidance-cliff-notes-AC-Version.pdf

Read More »

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ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Get Started with ApplyConnect!

The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.