The COVID-19 pandemic is creating situations that many landlords have to face for the first time without precedence. That can be overwhelming and a little bit scary, but there are many tools out there to help you make it through these turbulent waters with less stress and anxiety.
By having access to the right tools, you can completely change how you are feeling during this period, and that can make all the difference.
First, you should be aware of federal initiatives being enacted to help small business owners, homeowners, and renters during this time. The CARES Act, in particular, might help make things a bit easier if you have any federally-funded mortgages or loans. These programs have deferred both interest and mortgage payments, and other relief may become available.
As with many aspects of rental law, the bulk of support for your business is going to come from the state. Let’s take a look at Louisiana resources to find out what options are available for you at this time.
Table Of Contents For Louisiana State Resources
- Mortgage Forbearance For Coronavirus In Louisiana
- Evictions And Nonpayment Due To Coronavirus In Louisiana
- Resources For Tenants During Coronavirus In Louisiana
- Can I Show A Rented Unit In Louisiana During Coronavirus?
On a national scale, both Fannie Mae, The Federal National Mortgage Association, and Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, are permitting borrowers to take up to three months of mortgage forbearance for their payments. This comes with the caveat that evictions in related properties are also being halted for at least 60 days.
Locally, there is no specific direction from the state government requiring or suggesting that lenders offer similar programs to their borrowers.
However, most financial institutions are setting up similar relief programs thanks to pressure received both locally and on a national scale. If you are affected by the pandemic and will have difficulty making mortgage payments, contact your lender to discuss your options at this time.
The federal government has called for a pause on all evictions of federally-funded housing and federally-mortgaged properties for at least 60 days.
Additionally, the Louisiana state government has put a suspension on all eviction filings until April 24, 2020, at the earliest. It is possible that this date will be extended, so keep that in mind as you work with your tenants to deal with any late or missing rent payments at this time.
If your tenant has lost their job or faced a reduction in their hours because of the pandemic, they may be eligible for unemployment insurance from the state. The state’s normal unemployment is also being supplemented by additional federal support at this time, so it is worth suggesting that your tenant visit the unemployment insurance application to see if they are eligible.
For landlords working in New Orleans, there is also another program in action that might be able to help your tenants pay their rent. The rental assistance program was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support those that have lost all or partial income due to the coronavirus and are unable to pay rent.
The program is expected to help up to 600 households pay an average of $750 in rent for a few months. The grant pays the money directly to you, the landlord, so it is a great situation for both you and your tenant. The rental assistance application can be completed by low-to-moderate income households.
Finally, there may be tenants who want to find new work at this time. If so, there are a number of coronavirus job opportunities that may be of interest to them.
While it has not been made clear whether real estate is to be considered an essential business in Louisiana or not, it has been made clear that no one should be leaving their homes unless it is for an essential activity.
At this time, considering showing a rented unit an essential activity would be a liability, and you should avoid doing this type of showing. Try setting up virtual showings when possible, and make sure you are only showing vacant properties in person if you follow all required safety protocols.
It’s Time Be Prepared
It might not have been possible to be prepared for this pandemic before it started, but it is possible to make sure you are as prepared as possible for all that is to come.
Keep tabs on these state emergency information portals:
|NOLA Ready: State Emergency Site
Ongoing Assistance Resource Listings
Service Impact Updates
Additionally, get in contact with your city and county to make sure you are up-to-date on the latest. By staying informed, you’ll be able to support yourself, your business, and your tenants as much as possible.