NMHC's Tools for Communicating with Residents
During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever for housing providers and apartment residents to communicate with each other. To facilitate those conversations, NMHC has created several resources and templates.
Template: Financial, Food and Employment Resources Available to Renters
Housing providers can use this template for signage to post on their property. We encourage firms to customize the template with additional state or local resources available as well as with any additional steps you are taking to mitigate evictions.
Eviction Mitigation Recommendations
Eviction Mitigation Recommendations As all industry participants know, an eviction is a painful and expensive process for all involved. Accordingly, they should remain, as they were pre-pandemic, as an option of last resort. But it is increasingly in the best interest of both housing provider and renter to purse alternatives to evictions and consider different approaches and programs that would allow residents and owners/managers to find a workable common ground.
This document offers eviction prevention information and resources for housing providers to consider that might be outside of their standard operating practices but might be warranted by these unconventional times created by the pandemic.
Talking Points: Communicating Rent Flexibility
NMHC has developed talking points that property owners and managers can use to help guide discussions or communications with residents who have been impacted, including a reminder to unaffected residents that their rent is still due. Members should customize their communications with residents based on their situation and policies and consult with legal counsel for compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Signage Template for Resident Communications
NMMHC has created a template for signage you can post on your property. We encourage you to customize the template with your specific policies, for instance if you are voluntarily halting evictions or freezing rents.
Considerations for Rent Flexibility Offers
We have also identified some information to consider if you are offering rent flexibility, including what kind of documentation to request.
- Ask the resident to provide documentation such as a letter from their employer stating they have been terminated, laid off or hours reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Preferably, the letter should be on company letterhead with their supervisor’s or HR’s contact information. Your firm may require other documentation based on your consultation with legal counsel.
- If the resident is self-employed, request a copy of the first page of their current or prior year tax return or alternative documentation showing occupation as self-employed.
- A written agreement signed by the resident will encourage clear expectations. An agreement may include the exact time period that the rent flexibility applies, the documentation required to be approved, and confirmation that the other Lease terms continue to apply, including the obligation to timely pay utilities, future months’ rent and other charges when they come due according to the Lease, among other things.
- Members are encouraged to work directly with their legal counsel to ensure adherence to lease terms and compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and to protect your rights if the terms are violated.
We hope you find these resources useful. As always, we welcome your feedback on these resources as well as other resources NMHC can provide to help your firm navigate COVID-19.
This article was originally posted on NMHC's website and was reposted with permission.