Can You Invest in Real Estate When People Aren’t Paying Rent?

The peak national unemployment rate through the pandemic was 14.7%. As of this article’s publication date, it is down to 6.7%. Despite this good news, the news media is using employment during the pandemic to portray delinquent rent and eviction moratoriums in an inaccurate and sensational way. Even in the areas hardest hit, the vast majority of Americans have remained employed and renters have continued paying their rent.
Stable housing is a priority for people because moving is time consuming, stressful, and expensive. The pandemic has increased the need for stable housing and the security it brings, resulting in record low turnover rates among residents nationally. The eviction moratorium from the CDC requires that residents attest to several statements, allowing only those truly impacted by a COVID-19 job loss or income reduction to avoid eviction. Residents violating other terms of their lease can still be evicted.
The founder of Lifestyles Unlimited, Del Walmsley, has taught a key business strategy for over 30 years making a huge difference for owners who implement: “Best Product, Best Price.” Owners who purchase a property are taught to fix everything that is out of operating order or likely to fail in the next 5 years, rehab the property to be the best quality in the submarket, and price the rent at the going market rate. Those who follow this “Best Product, Best Price” model will have a more selective screening criterion for residents due to higher demand. This results in a responsible resident and establishes a positive and mutually beneficial relationship between the resident and the home provider.
From the start of the pandemic, owners in the Lifestyles Unlimited community of investors have been actively involved in finding assistance for residents in need. Renters impacted by COVID-19 job loss or income reduction may avail themselves of any number of assistance programs, including but not limited to the following examples:
  • Filling out applications for local, state, and federal assistance to pay rent and utilities along with other bills
  • Asking for forbearance on car payments and credit card debt
  • Finding local job opportunities
  • Connecting with local public and private educational services for those needing to change careers
  • Applying for unemployment or applicable benefits from current or previous employers for paid time off due to COVID-19 or child care challenges
  • Inquiring about the suspension of student loan payments
Additionally, the Lifestyles Unlimited community of investors have helped their residents during the pandemic by:
  • Inviting food trucks to visit apartment communities
  • Coordinating with local food banks
  • Providing meal vouchers to resident families
  • Ensuring students have access to lunches when schools are closed
  • Assisting small business owners with applications for loan forgiveness
  • Informing residents of their rights under the CARES Act
  • Working with local police and child protective services to prevent crime and abuse from taking over apartment communities
All of these actions create a community that residents are proud to be a part of and encourages them to pay rent. This relationship between residents and home providers has been the key to success during the current pandemic and other economic downturns.

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