LYNCHBURG, Va. – The coronavirus pandemic has thrown curveball after curveball, forcing property managers nationwide to adjust on the fly for their renters.
“In the beginning, we were afraid that it would cause people to just stop paying rent,” Chloe Rawlings says.
Rawlings got her gig as the assistant property manager at Pinnacle Properties around the time the pandemic hit. In the last year and a half, she says she’s seen state and federal programs come and go.
The rules and regulations are constantly shifting regarding evictions for those who don’t pay rent. It’s been a challenge for the whole staff, especially Property Manager Kim Rose.
“There was a lot of uncertainty as to what that would require of us,” Rose says.
Rose started Pinnacle Properties in Lynchburg in 2008. She says when it comes to helping tenants and protecting themselves, this year has been the most difficult.
Rose says they haven’t had to evict anyone. However, they’ve had several tenants apply for a COVID-payment plan multiple times over the course of the pandemic. They’ve all been approved, but it can take a while.
”At first there was a lot of paperwork, a lot of time that went into it and it could take up to,” Rose says. “I’d say, almost six months to be able to get that information in.”
If a renter misses a payment, landlords are required to try and work with them to get a payment plan set up. However, if the renter refuses to work with them, they can still be evicted.
While navigating through the new normal has been challenging, managers say it’s getting easier and they’ve learned a lot too.
“It’s given us an opportunity to work with our tenants,” Rawlings says. “We can create payment plans with them or apply for assistance.”
Managers say the laws in place allow them to protect themselves, and more importantly, their renters.
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