Article by Carl Dy
There are a lot of property questions coming out right now, such as “If I’m a tenant, should I be paying my rent? Do I get rent free?” and “If I’m a landlord, should I be collecting rent?”
3 Types of Tenants
1. Financially affected — you lost your job, you have no income, you are in an anxious place.
2. Potentially but not yet financially affected — you are financially okay, you still get your salary, you’re working from home and you are just worried.
3. Your industry thrives in this environment — you are a tenant wherein your business is thriving during this time. It’s no worry for you.
3 Types of Landlords
1. You rely on rent for survival — you live on the rental income, you rely on the rent pay for your daily needs.
2. You have mortgage to pay — you use this to pay for your mortgage, you’re also in an anxious state right now.
3. The rent is just a bonus for you — you are financially okay and the rent income is just a bonus.
To help you manage this situation, I want to give you 3 major steps that will help you in this situation:
1. Have a gratitude mindset instead of an entitled mindset.
From a tenant point of view, an entitled mindset is thinking, “I’m struggling and I deserve rent free.” When we shift it to a grateful mindset, you start to think, “I’m so grateful that during this hardship, I’m still surviving. I still have my family together. I still have enough funds. I’m just tight right now and I’m just worried.”
From a landlord’s point of view, we should move from an entitled mindset where we think, “I’m the landlord. I own the property. I deserve to be paid. I’ve been serving you. I’ve been giving you a house to stay in. I deserve to be paid.”
Then, shift to a gratitude mindset: “I’m so blessed and thankful that I’m the being able to be a giver right now. I’m the one who’s in a financially better position to be able to give people a house over their head so they would feel secure and safe.”
2. What does God want us to do?
As a tenant, I’m sure you’re worried about a lot of things right now. It’s a chain reaction. You’re worried about your family, your income, and your livelihood. Our landlords are also going through the same thing. Therefore, we should also understand that they have their own challenges, expenses, maintenance costs, bank payments, and they’re counting on the rental.
We’re all in this together. We’re all facing this challenging period together. Challenging means, “What does God want us to do?” This is a challenge from God, how would you respond knowing that He is watching?
Some landlords have come up to me and said, “I can absorb 1 month, but 2 months, 3 months, it’s going to be difficult.” Especially for those with large rental properties, they’re now worried about their bank payments and they’re also struggling right now. If tenants don’t pay their rent, the landlords might not be able to pay their mortgage. For some landlords, they’re also worried because they want to be kind but they also don’t want to be taken advantage of. They want to extend their hand, but they don’t want their whole arm to be taken.
3. Carry each other’s burden.
It says in Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burden and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” It’s a wonderful verse that paints a picture of what is happening right now. Right now, we’re all carrying a certain burden. What do you do with this burden? Do you want to all pass it on, or do you want to help each other carry the burden?
So, that’s a good analogy from Galatians 6:2 wherein we look at this as a burden and instead of passing on the burden and blaming other people, finger pointing, how can we all help each other carry the burden?
4 Tips for Tenants
1. Communicate with your landlord.
Send them a message. Tell them what you’re going through. Tell them about your worries and see how we can all carry the burden together.
2. Assure your landlord.
Give your landlord assurance and tell them that you appreciate them. That’s what landlords want to hear — the appreciation, that even when you’re not able to pay rent, you are being given a place to stay. So have that kind of communication, not threatening them or have an entitled mindset.
3. Contribute what you feel you can afford.
You can tell your landlord, “I’m tight right now, can I help clean your property? Can I do something for you? Can I help out? Can I do social media marketing for you? Can I eventually pay you back with services?” That sounds much better and doesn’t sound like you’re entitled.
4. Commit to exit if you cannot pay.
For those who are really unable to pay and are financially affected, it’s a good idea to consider having a plan B by telling your landlord, “I’m financially challenged right now, can I stay a few more weeks? When the lockdown ends, I promise I’m going to move out.” Things like that make the landlord feel more at peace and it gives that “share your burden” kind of relationship.
4 Tips for Landlords
1. Give a 30-day grace period.
You can follow the Bayanihan Act and give a 30-day grace period. The 30-day grace period means no interest and no penalty, and the tenant can just pay you after 30 days. That’s a good way to lessen the burden of your tenant.
2. Give a discount.
You can give your tenant two options: (1) They can pay after 30 days, but (2) if they pay today, they can get a discount. Maybe you can give them a 50% discount to share the burden.
3. Give free rent.
If you have a tenant that is really burdened and they just lost their business or they had to go to the province; you can financially carry this burden. This would be a good time to show compassion, show love, and show God’s love and kindness.
To the tenants, I just want to let you know that it’s not easy for landlords to shoulder the costs, especially when they have a vast amount of rooms to collect payment from. Oftentimes, it’s just a case-to-case basis. If they give you a 30-day grace period, be grateful. If you get a discount, be grateful, be thankful. If your landlord gives you free rent, be grateful. Try your very best to recover and repay them.
As simple as sending over food, sending a nice little card made by your kids will really create that relationship and that gratitude mentality between you and your landlord.
To the landlords, if you have a tenant that’s a frontliner, people who are out there, and everybody’s who’s out there right now risking their life, their health to make our society move, now would be a nice time to show them a little bit of kindness, and extension. I’m sure God will see what you are doing and He will be pleased.
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