To learn about how property management is moving forward and the rental market is evolving beyond the pandemic, we went to the experts. Local property manager Glenn Person of Rent-A-Home Asheville shared his experience and predictions for the future.
With North Carolina eviction courts back open June 22, Glenn has already filed and received an early July date. The court held a hearing for him on June 23 for a case he had filed before the moratorium. Here in Buncombe County, Glenn says the process seems efficient as the courts get through the backlogged cases.
Glenn’s team manages 135 properties and does marketing for another 100. He said the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown weren’t as bad as he expected. Since he has many tenants who are hospitality workers, he was definitely worried. However, over 90% were able to pay rent, whether assisted by unemployment or other funding.
There are many relief programs out there, and he was happy to help tenants find them. When renters are in a financial bind due to the coronavirus, it’s important to communicate early and reach out to organizations. It’s resolvable. At the end of the day, landlords don’t want to lose tenants. Having to turn over a property is harder than renewing a lease!
Unfortunately, some tenants just don’t like to communicate. Perhaps they have a dog or extra person living with them that they haven’t cleared with the landlord, or they’re trying to avoid admitting fault for breaking something. They may just really value their privacy… but it’s in their best interest to communicate.
Adapting and Finding Resources
Glenn knows the issues that the COVID shutdown caused may not be over. He’s anticipating the end of unemployment benefits, and with many restaurants and other businesses still closed, that may be a problem. Hopefully, the charities and nonprofit organizations helping those suffering financial hardships will still have funds, and landlords may continue to assist as well.
For the landlords who are frustrated with this process, and finding the consequences of owning rental property difficult, Glenn recommends employing a property manager to avoid the hassle. Real estate is still a great investment.
At Rent-A-Home Asheville, Glenn implemented distancing procedures like key drop boxes and video walkthroughs. These have been so helpful, he says, they will keep those features into the future. He does make sure to do extensive FaceTime calls with prospective renters, so people renting from afar are happy with the property.
The Rental Market Now
In Asheville, there has always been steady demand, including from those out of town who are willing to rent sight unseen. Now, with less homes available on the market, even more people are stepping up to rent without having visited a home in person. Existing tenants are staying put and vacant homes are renting quickly with prices staying strong. Glenn says locals tend to look for rentals under $1200/month while those moving from larger cities accept the higher prices.
Lessons From The Pandemic
There will be repercussions from COVID-19. Perhaps property taxes will go up and there will be much less inventory, or it may be more or less noticeable. Glenn says to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Landlords and property managers need to prepare for things like a ban on evictions. He suggests writing a clause into the lease that ensures you can sever the tenancy for nonpayment of rent.
In addition, his company’s use of technology and distancing procedures will help streamline the rental process even without a pandemic.
Glenn will continue to learn from the difficult times, taking the positive changes he’s made into the future.
Contact Rent-A-Home Asheville at 828-676-6764 or visit rentahomeasheville.com.