A landlord’s guide to Coronavirus tenancy problems in Kampala Uganda

Spectrum

Are you wondering what to do if your tenant can’t pay the rent due to Coronavirus?

I know a lot of property owners are. Some people I think might believe landlords are all rich and have tons of money. I wish that were the case, but landlords are just trying to pay bills like everyone else.

There is no doubt that the economic fallout and job losses caused by COVID-19 will affect all of us to some degree. As tenants miss rent payments, costs will add up quickly for landlords

Some tenants will be struggling to pay their rent because they have had their hours cut back or have lost their job.

Will Landlords receive relief on their mortgage payments? Landlords’ mortgages are just one piece of the financial puzzle.  All the expenses of being a landlord add up quickly

At the same time many of Uganda’s property owners, who are in general mum and dad landlords trying to secure a little more financial security for themselves, are worried how they will cope financially if their rental income dries up, yet they still have to pay their mortgage and outgoings.

Have their concerns been compounded by the Ugandan government? Yet so far there has been no legislation or guidelines announced.

 

To help steer through the confusing maze, let’s do a quick Questions and Amswers:

 

  1. Do tenants don’t have to pay rent for six months – is that true?

No that is not the case.

The government or legislature must agree with leaders to a 6 month moratorium on evictions for tenants in financial distress, but this is not a moratorium on their requirement to pay rent.

Of course tenants who are not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honor their leases and rental agreements.

  1. How should I respond if I am asked to reduce my tenant’s rent?

There are costs associated with maintaining rental properties.  For example apartment have designated workers, which means landlords still need to pay their salaries.

Most property investors will be hit by the Corona Crunch at some time and it won’t just be from tenants not being able to pay their rent.

Clearly this is the time for understanding and compassion, nobody wins by making things difficult for a tenant who is in financial trouble.

It’s important to understand the tenants don’t want to be in rental arrears, but if paying their rent leaves them without money for food or medical attention, the decision most tenants will make is obvious.

But remember, the moratorium must not allow tenants to simply walk away from their obligations, it’s not a rental holiday.

Don’t be tempted to get personally involved in discussions with your tenant, that’s what you employ a property manager for, so take their professional advice.

Your property manager should ask your tenant to demonstrate true financial hardship directly related to Coronavirus – simply saying “we can’t pay the rent” is not enough.

They will ask evidence of hardship including details of their employment or loss of it, other people living in the property who can supplement the rent, assets including cash at bank, and to establish whether the tenant’s claims are authentic.

  1. Should I agree to reducing the tenant’s rent?

While it is important to be considerate, and I can understand the desire to support a tenant through this difficult time, our recommendation is not to offer reducing or forgoing rent unless the government releases rental relief packages for landlords.

Until the tenant and landlord relief packages are made available, our advice is for landlords to put a payment plan in place for any tenants who are genuinely suffering financial difficulties.

For example, you could offer them an arrangement where they pay less rent (maybe half) for the next few months, but agree to catch up their rental payments through increased rental in 3 or 4 months once they secure employment.

Property owners should also speak to their bank about getting a mortgage holiday – either pausing or reducing their monthly repayments.

 

Read on…..

Now is the time to take action and set yourself for the opportunities that will present themselves as the market moves on

If you’re wondering what will happen to property in 2020–2021 you are not alone.

You can trust the team at Spectrum Real Estate to provide you with direction, guidance and results.

 

If you’re looking at buying your next home or investment property here some ways we can help you:

 

  1. Strategic property advice. – Allow us to build a Strategic Property Plan for you and your family. Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now!  This will give you direction, results and more certainty.
  2. Buyer’s agency – As Uganda’s most trusted buyers’ agents we’ve been involved in Billions worth of transactions creating wealth for our clients and we can do the same for you.
  3. Property Management – Our stress free property management services help you maximize your property returns. Click here to find out why our clients enjoy a vacancy rate considerably below the market average, our tenants stay an average of 3 years and our properties lease 10 days faster than the market average.

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