Email to tenants addressing Covid-19 issues

Sherilynn

Real Estate Maven
REIN Member
Greetings. Below is the email I sent to all of our tenants, including our RTO tenants. Feel free to use all or part of it. :)


Subject: Covid-19, Rent, and Toilet Paper

Greetings to all of our valued tenants!

We wanted to reach out during this crisis and discuss a few important items. Could you please read this email and reply to confirm you've received it? Thanks.

Obviously the Covid-19 crisis and social distancing and the resulting business closures are a problem for a lot of people who are not able to work from home. We recognize this issue and we want to be sure you had heard PM Trudeau's speech the other day promising assistance so Canadians wouldn't need to worry about not being able to pay for rent and basic necessities. I have no information at this time on what measures the government is taking or how to access assistance, but let's hope for information to be released soon.

Of course I know nothing about your personal situation, but I know when I once needed Employment Insurance I felt awkward even applying for it. Growing up we stood on our own two feet and never expected handouts, even when we had to do without. However THIS is not the time to be proud.

As for rent, even if banks decided to forgive mortgage payments being late for the time-being, those payments would be expected at some point and the interest will continue to pile up. Plus there are a lot of other expenses. Bottom line is: we need the rent in order to pay the expenses.

That being said, we will always try to accommodate our tenants in times of need. This has always been the case and always will be. So if you are worried you won't be able to pay the rent on time and in full, then please contact us as soon as possible to let us know so we can work out a plan. If we are able to devise a solution that works for both of us, then there will be no late fees or penalties. (But if you do not contact us in advance, that is a different story.)

Toilet paper…I cannot stress enough the only thing that should ever be flushed down a toilet is toilet paper. Even tissues should not be flushed as they are not designed to break down quickly enough and can cause clogged pipes. If you are in absolutely desperate need of toilet paper, we have a few extra rolls. (I have two teenage daughters, so a stock of TP is a requirement for life.) And if you are being a true Canadian and making do with what you have, then please remember anything other than toilet paper should be put in the trash.

Showings: for any tenants moving, we will try our best to limit contact with prospective tenants, especially if you have health issues.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. First and foremost, take care of your health. Anything else can be worked out. :)
 

Nicola

Inspired Forum Member
Registered
Thank you for that email, Sherilynn! I'm not trying to be dumb, but is the toilet paper shortage/hoarding so bad that people are using other stuff? (I'm in South Korea, where hoarding is not an issue, so I'm genuinely curious.)
 

Terry Vermeer

New Forum Member
REIN Member
Hello Everyone! I am a brand new REIN member and am truly grateful to be part of this community. I want to share what I have done for my tenants during the COVID-19 crisis, both to share my approach but also to get some feedback from others on whether or not they think it was the right thing to do.

First some quick context: I have a rental property in Chilliwack, BC that is a detached house with a small second suite. I have one set of tenants, where an older couple live in the main suite and their adult son lives in the lower suite. On that property I receive one rent cheque per month for $3200. I know that the older gentlemen owns and runs an auto mechanic shop in Abbotsford (IE: He is self employed). They have been great tenants, easy to deal with and respect the property. I have a professional property manager, but in this case I felt it was important for me to reach out directly as the owner.

I reached out to him and genuinely asked him how is business and family where doing in the crisis. He was open about the fact that his business is really slow and that he is stressed out. In that first contact, I communicated to him to keep me in the loop as his situation unfolds and that I am hoping we can be reasonable on both sides and that we will get through it together. He agreed and first conversion was done.

I waited a few days to hear back (and didn't), so I took the following action: Without him requesting anything, I asked my property manager to reach out him and say that I would apply a temporary rent reduction from $3200 to $2500 for the month of March and April. This is a loss of $1400 of income for me and puts me in a short term negative cash flow position, but I have a reasonable amount liquidity and I felt this this was an appropriate gesture and a sign of good faith. In my mind, it also buys me two months of time to see how the market responds before taking any further actions.

I have not heard anything back yet, so we will see how this evolves. Either way, to me the most important thing is effective communication and collaboration to find a mutually beneficial solution.

Does anyone have any feedback on whether or not I should have approached this differently? For example, do you think it was a mistake to offer this before he asked for anything? (I will plan to report back on how things unfold :) )

Thanks,
Terry
 

Tina Myrvang

Client Care Lead
Staff member
REIN Member
Hello Everyone! I am a brand new REIN member and am truly grateful to be part of this community. I want to share what I have done for my tenants during the COVID-19 crisis, both to share my approach but also to get some feedback from others on whether or not they think it was the right thing to do.

First some quick context: I have a rental property in Chilliwack, BC that is a detached house with a small second suite. I have one set of tenants, where an older couple live in the main suite and their adult son lives in the lower suite. On that property I receive one rent cheque per month for $3200. I know that the older gentlemen owns and runs an auto mechanic shop in Abbotsford (IE: He is self employed). They have been great tenants, easy to deal with and respect the property. I have a professional property manager, but in this case I felt it was important for me to reach out directly as the owner.

I reached out to him and genuinely asked him how is business and family where doing in the crisis. He was open about the fact that his business is really slow and that he is stressed out. In that first contact, I communicated to him to keep me in the loop as his situation unfolds and that I am hoping we can be reasonable on both sides and that we will get through it together. He agreed and first conversion was done.

I waited a few days to hear back (and didn't), so I took the following action: Without him requesting anything, I asked my property manager to reach out him and say that I would apply a temporary rent reduction from $3200 to $2500 for the month of March and April. This is a loss of $1400 of income for me and puts me in a short term negative cash flow position, but I have a reasonable amount liquidity and I felt this this was an appropriate gesture and a sign of good faith. In my mind, it also buys me two months of time to see how the market responds before taking any further actions.

I have not heard anything back yet, so we will see how this evolves. Either way, to me the most important thing is effective communication and collaboration to find a mutually beneficial solution.

Does anyone have any feedback on whether or not I should have approached this differently? For example, do you think it was a mistake to offer this before he asked for anything? (I will plan to report back on how things unfold :) )

Thanks,
Terry
Wow I'm blown away Terry, that is an amazing offer and proves you care about your tenants.
 

bhl

New Forum Member
Registered
Terry good for you and I am pleased to see your update - the two months of breathing room was likely very well received.

We reached out to our tenants with an offer like this in mid march, effective april 1. Less than half of our properties took us up on it, the rest had security at the time. That conversation alone was worth a lot to us and each tenant.

Our initial reductions were less generous than your 22% nevertheless the tenants appreciated the offer. We are here to serve our customers, and this is really when we need to work together to get thru this. I made a budget for what I could afford across the board, then each customer I can adjust given unique situations over time.

Monthly follow-up is critical going forward, this will be a progressively tougher time for many as this wears on. Hopefully the news can focus more on all the great elements of humanity working together. I agree with Tina - thank you for sharing and well done.
 

Sherilynn

Real Estate Maven
REIN Member
Thank you for that email, Sherilynn! I'm not trying to be dumb, but is the toilet paper shortage/hoarding so bad that people are using other stuff? (I'm in South Korea, where hoarding is not an issue, so I'm genuinely curious.)

Yes, it was (is?) terrible here. Stores were out of it for weeks; in fact some still have no stock on the shelves when I've been there. I almost cried the other day in Superstore because there was none of the following: disinfectants, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, cough syrup, vitamin C, flour, yeast, and a few other items. Some people are NUTS!

And Dan, I saw a Facebook post showing someone cutting a roll of paper towels in half as a toilet paper substitute, so I'm happy I included that info in my letter.
 
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