As the coronavirus pandemic continues in America, it’s time to keep making adjustments to your daily workflow and how to handle the strength of your business during this time. This is certainly not a situation most landlords will have prepared for, so it is time to think about what options you have as you and your tenants face big changes.
The federal government has already made some changes and concessions that will make it possible for landlords to get assistance. The CARES Act covers suggested changes like deferred mortgage and interest payments for federal loans; it also put a 120-day moratorium in place for the federal housing units, which may affect some of your properties.
To successfully navigate these trying times, landlords like you should seek out federal, state, and local resources that can assist you and your tenants. The situation is continuously developing, so you need to have resources ready to make it through each transitional period.
In Massachusetts, the following information and resources can help you act with more confidence and support.
Table Of Contents For Massachusetts State Resources
- Mortgage Forbearance For Coronavirus In Massachusetts
- Evictions And Nonpayment Due To Coronavirus In Massachusetts
- Resources For Tenants During Coronavirus In Massachusetts
- Can I Show A Rented Unit In Massachusetts During Coronavirus?
On March 25th, the state of Massachusetts sent out guidance to mortgage and loan providers in the state that outlined the changes they hope to see. This guidance was sent out to support homeowners and property owners that may be struggling to keep up with payments during this period.
The guidance suggests the following important changes:
- Foreclosures postponed 60 days
- Mortgage forbearance for 60 days
- Waived late fees and online fees for 60 days
While these things are suggested by the state, they are not mandated, so each individual lender must set up their own rules.
Individual cities are also considering resolutions. Boston city council is currently reviewing a resolution to set up some type of relief. In the meantime, contacting your lender is a good start to finding a way to avoid penalties, payments, and interest during this time. Many large lenders are offering assistance on a national scale.
The Massachusetts Housing Court has put a hold on all non-essential court cases, including eviction hearings, until April 21, 2020 at the earliest. Many major Boston landlords have agreed not to evict for a few weeks at a minimum, and some localities such as Sommerville have passed their own moratorium on evictions.
Check with your county and local officials to find out the status of evictions in your region.
If your tenants become unemployed either permanently or temporarily due to the pandemic, they can apply for additional unemployment benefits through DUA.
Massachusetts state has added millions of dollars to the RAFT program, which helps low-income families during difficult transition periods; some tenants may be eligible to find assistance through this program.
The state’s affordable housing website also has links to a number of emergency resources that may be able to help tenants.
While there is no statewide ban on showings at this time, many localities have recommended ceasing all face-to-face tours of real estate or rental properties during this time, so showing a rented unit is not recommended.
Save Your Primary Resources
Whether or not you are in need of these resources at this time, make sure you save the information so you can easily find and access it if your situation changes. Even simply knowing that this information is waiting for you when needed will make this pandemic less stressful.
In Massachusetts, these are the main resources to keep bookmarked:
|Massachusetts Affordable Housing Website
Massachusetts COVID-19 Unemployment Information
Massachusetts COVID-19 General Updates
Massachusetts COVID-19 Guidance For Renters And Homeowners
Each of these pages will be updated with new information and regulations when they are brought to light, so you can use the sites as a way to stay updated with the specifics that affect you and your business.
Additionally, you will want to do some quick searches of your city and county information to see if there are any other sites and resources that could be beneficial to you and your tenants. If there are, make sure to bookmark and regularly check them as well.
Things are stressful right now, but having tools ready to help when needed can help you manage your business despite its current upheaval. Keep that in mind as you move forward with your business!