12 Fayetteville Landlord Frequently Ask Property Management Companies Questions During the Coronavirus

We have been asked a number of questions by Fayetteville landlords concerning what a landlord can and can’t do during the coronavirus, and to provide a way ahead as to what the landlord can expect after the current state of affairs has passed.

First, as a property management company in Fayetteville, North Carolina, we have attempted to be proactive in the means and methods to deal with the current pandemic. While we could not expect something of the current magnitude would happen, there have been countless situations dealing with similar economic impacts from which we formed our playbook, before the current pandemic even happened.  At Linchpin Property Management, we created such a playbook for use by landlords to assist in the management of their property. You can download the playbook at the end of this post for FREE.

Below you will find frequently asked questions, and some answers to help landlords, who may not have any guidance, navigate their rights during this pandemic. As the laws are in a constant state of flux, we highly recommend you consult with the relevant agencies. If you need additional help, please feel free to contact us.

Can a landlord evict a tenant in Fayetteville if the tenant fails to pay rent?

No. There is a current moratorium on evictions in the state of North Carolina, and a landlord cannot evict a tenant until after June 20, 2020. What this means is that even if you had an eviction case pending in Fayetteville, your case will be help until June 21, 2020 before action will be taken on it. If you did not start your case prior to the moratorium, your case will not move forward until after the moratorium has ended.

Even though there is moratorium on evictions, can I evict my tenant by some other means?

No. It is impermissible for you to attempt to evict your tenant my using other means. You should not, and cannot, send a letter to your tenant telling your tenant to return your property to you. You cannot turn off tenant utilities in an effort to force your tenant to leave. Nor can you change the locks or have the police assist you with evicting the tenant. Your only method to evict your tenant is to take your tenant to court in Fayetteville, and have a magistrate or judge order the eviction.

Does my tenant still have to pay rent?

Yes. Your tenant is still obligated to pay rent under the terms of your lease agreement. This includes, even if, the tenant has lost their source of employment. While it may be difficult, or impossible, for your tenant to pay their rent at the moment, there are means and methods available to protect your rental investment income. We have provided you with a couple of options available to you in our Landlord’s “Guide to Responding to Tenants Impacted by COVID-19/Coronavirus.” You can download this resource at the end of this blog post.

Additionally, for rent owed between May 30 and June 20, 2020, you are required to provide your tenant with a six month payment plan to pay off the amount owed, and cannot charge any late fees during this period.

Can I charge a late fee to the tenant if the tenant doesn’t pay their rent on time during the COVID-10/Coronavirus crisis?

As stated above, for the period between May 30 and June 20, 2020, you cannot charge your tenant any late fees. You can, however, charge a late fee for rent not paid during the earlier months.

Having said this, our recommendation is that, to the extent you are financially able, you waive the late fees for tenants who are experiencing bonified financial hardships. Additionally, as mentioned in our guide below, you should attempt to collect rents in the manner outlined, in order to mitigate the financial impact experienced by you.

Can I charge a late fee for utilities if I pay the utilities for the tenant?

No. The governor of North Carolina has issued an order making it impermissible for utility companies to charge a late fee during the coronavirus crisis. This order is in effect until July 29, 2020.

Am I still obligated to have repairs during the coronavirus when my tenant is not paying rent?

Yes. You are still obligated to keep your investment property in habitable condition, even though your tenant is not paying rent. This means you have to keep it in conformity with the lease agreement, as well as mandated by North Carolina state law.

Does my tenant have to inform me that the tenant has coronavirus?

No. Your tenant does not have to inform you that they are infected with the coronavirus.

If I own a multifamily residence, am I obligated to tell other residents in the building?

No. You should not inform other tenants that one of your tenants is infected. In fact, we would advise against it. We do recommend, that you assist your tenant, as much as possible, in implementing all of the social distancing and personal hygiene guidance provided by the relevant local, state, and federal entities.

Can my tenant break their lease as a result of the coronavirus?

No. North Carolina law currently does not allow for a tenant to break their lease because of the coronavirus. Your tenant, as set forth above, is still obligated to make payments.

What is my responsibility for cleaning and inspecting the property if a tenant has tested positive for coronavirus?

The tenant is responsible for cleaning their own residence. As the landlord, however, it is your responsibility to ensure that the residence is properly cleaned prior to a new tenant occupying the premises.

My tenant’s lease is up, however, they informed me they will not vacate the property because of the coronavirus. What can I do?

The terms of your lease still control during the pandemic. As a result, the tenant may be subjected to legal action. The eviction process, however, is still subjected to the moratorium.

I want to show the property to an applicant. Can I show the property during the coronavirus?

Yes. You can still show the property during the pandemic. The terms of your lease still control. It is our recommendation, however, that you do as much as possible to limit possible exposure to you, your tenants, and your potential tenants. In this case, we recommend doing a video walk through, or some other remote process.

This list represents a few of the questions we have been asked. As we receive more, we will update this blog accordingly.

If you are a landlord currently attempting to collect rent on your rental property in Fayetteville, consider downloading our guide below. You can also reach out to us with any questions or concerns you may have.

The Team at Linchpin Property Management.