If you’re a landlord who finds him or herself with a lapse in tenants right now, you may be panicked when it comes to Renting Your Property During Social Distancing. As we’re all figuring out how to navigate these new circumstances of a global pandemic, we have to reinvent processes we’ve long since taken for granted, including how to show and rent out our income properties. While things may look a bit different than they did a year, or even a quarter ago, there’s no need to panic. With a few simple process changes, you can safely rent your property during social distancing.
Follow State Laws
First and foremost, as always, you must follow the laws in effect in your state to remain safe. Of course, take any additional precautionary measures that you see fit to keep yourself, and your potential tenants, safe and healthy.
As we’ve all learned through social distancing, just about the best, and often only, way to do anything right now is by leveraging technology. Whether that’s virtual meetings at work, FaceTime or Zoom calls to keep in touch with family and friends or leveraging technology to homeschool your children –– we’re all going high-tech in our personal and professional lives.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the best way to handle renting out your vacant property is by leveraging those same technologies. After all, the more high-tech you go, the less in-person contact you will need, and the safer everyone remains.
You’re likely already using online listing tools, and you should continue to do so. As always, include high-resolution photos in your listing. Before social distancing, you may not have bothered with a video tour, but now would be the perfect time to add that. Why? Because you’re not going to be showing applicants the property in person. It doesn’t need to be professionally done, but take your time, go during the day when there is the best light, and make sure you’re putting your property’s best foot forward.
The next step may or may not be a new process for you: digital applications. If you’re not already, now is the time to use a 100% online rental application. We provide one free, with additional screening options, and all information can be imported with one click into our lease wizard for an instant lease agreement. It truly doesn’t get easier.
Meet Prospective Tenants
You are likely shouting at the screen, but what happens when I do get interested applicants? Rest assured, you don’t have to forgo meeting your potential tenants during social distancing. Instead, leverage some of those tools you use already for personal and professional use, think Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, or even FaceTime, to have that same conversation you usually have in-person but at a safe, healthy distance.
Provided you feel comfortable with the prospective tenants, you should schedule a virtual tour of the property. Yes, you’ve already included a video on the listing, but this is a live tour when you’ll walk the property while showing it to the prospective renters via one of the apps mentioned above. You’ll go slowly, allowing them to ask questions, have you open cabinets, pause on different features they’d like a closer look at, and more.
Screen Applicants & Cover Yourself
In these uncertain times, it has never been more important to thoroughly screen applicants. This is an easy, no-contact process. On our free rental application, you’ll choose to run credit reports, criminal background checks, and identity verification. In addition, you’ll undoubtedly want to verify an applicant’s employment, income, and rental history. At ezLandlordForms, we can help with that.
Remember that your property’s rent should be no more than a third of the applicants’ combined incomes, as a general rule. While this is something you’re likely very familiar with, with 26 million Americans and counting filing for unemployment in the last month alone, it’s crucial to do your due diligence now. You should use every tool available to attempt to ensure that your new tenant will be able to afford the rent.
eSignature on the Lease
The entire lease process can, and today should be done electronically. You can send the document, make changes as agreed upon by both parties, sign and countersign the document all from a safe social distance via the computer. It’s so simple, efficient, and we bet you’ll never go back to doing it the old way, even when the global pandemic is behind us.
Final Steps for Renting During Social Distancing
It’s 2020, so the electronic tools at our fingertips are practically endless. That means you can collect the security deposit and first month’s rent electronically, and should do so. Once you do, you’ll be set up to receive each month’s rent electronically, and we’re sure you’ll thank us later.
The key transfer can even be done in a high-tech manner. Before you rent the property, consider installing a keypad, so you don’t have to do a physical transfer of keys. You’ll set it up, sanitize it, and then give your tenant their unique code for entering the property. Now you can sit back, relax, and watch the new tenant’s monthly rent payments magically appear in your bank account.