Landlords: How To Pay Your Mortgage & Property Expenses (COVID-19)

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Summary: In this article you’ll learn several options for paying your mortgage and property expenses if your tenants don’t pay rent due to COVID-19. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Grant, which is the best option for most landlords, is explained in detail. We’ve also included real screenshots of the application, so you can see exactly what information you’ll need to provide before starting the process online. Finally, discover more ways to keep cash flow coming while you’re waiting for government assistance to come through, or if you can’t qualify for relief. This article was updated for quality and accuracy on May 1, 2020. Enjoy!

Introduction

A lot of people are talking about renters right now. With so many people losing jobs, a lot of people can’t pay rent, which makes this a really difficult time to be a renter. What fewer people are talking about is how it’s just as difficult to be a landlord right now. While many of us would love to forgive rents for the next several months, we have mortgages, utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and security to think about.

What options are available to keep us up and running? 

You may also like: 8 Tips for Collecting Rent During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Recently the federal government added a second wave of funding to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act. There are several programs under the CARES Act that provide help for small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors and those who are self-employed. 

The programs include the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), SBA Express Bridge Loans and SBA debt relief. 

While the PPP is an extremely helpful option for small businesses to stay afloat right now, most landlords don’t have many (if any) employees on payroll, which means they won’t be eligible for aid under PPP. However, if you do have any W2 employees, or you pay yourself as a W2 or 1099 employee (ie: for self-managing or maintaining your property), you may still qualify for some aid. You can learn more about the PPP loan here.

Similar eligibility requirements apply to The SBA Express Bridge Loan and SBA debt relief programs.  If you already have SBA loans, these might be good options for you. 

The most advantageous program for landlords is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). In this article we’ll explain the benefits of this program and walk you through the application process step-by-step. We’ll also share a few additional ideas for how to stay afloat and even thrive during this trying time.


Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) 

The EIDL was modified and “loosened” by the CARES Act. It offers financial aid to small businesses, private, non-profit organizations and to landlords / rental property owners. The program serves to help during times of economic injury or hardship as a direct result of a declared disaster.

Here are the main points:

  • Loan up to $2 million (based on actual economic injury)
  • Loan term of up to 30 years, with interest rates of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for non-profits.
  • Automatic deferral of principal/interest for all of 2020; up to one year
  • Up to $10,000 in emergency grants (This is now only available to landlords that have employees, see the April 24th update section below.)

This loan / grant may be used for the following purposes:

  • Working capital 
  • Inventory 
  • Equipment purchases 
  • Making rent or mortgage payments,
  • Other operating expenses

How Much Can I Borrow Under EIDL?

You may borrow up to $2 million in disaster assistance under EIDL. The amount is based on the severity of economic damage suffered, which will be determined by the SBA. 

Who Qualifies for EIDL?

The EIDL is designed to help during times of economic disaster and the following organizations and individuals qualify: 

  • Landlords / Rental Property Owners
  • SBA qualified small businesses 
  • Private nonprofit organizations
  • Independent contractors
  • Sole proprietorships
  • Tribal businesses

Do I Have to Pay Back an EIDL Loan?

After applying applicants may receive up to a $10,000 emergency grant that is not required to be paid back (in many cases). You may receive your answer more quickly, because the application review time is typically much shorter than normal. Even if your loan application for additional funds is denied, applicants usually do not need to repay the grants.

Additional loan amounts are to be repaid at the interest rate of 3.75% for businesses or 2.75% for non-profits, within 30 years of the loan date. However, there is no penalty for early repayment. 

How to Apply for an EIDL Loan?

The application dates for an EIDL began the week of April 6th, 2020. However, grants are available until December 31, 2020. The application process takes about 30 minutes and funds are  issued by the SBA based on credit score and financial need. 

EIDL Application Process (With Screenshots Included)

Here’s what the EIDL application looks like:

Image Highlighting EIDL Loan Application Disclosures Page 1
Image Highlighting EIDL Loan Application Business Information Part 1
Image Highlighting EIDL Loan Application Business Information Part 2
Image Highlighting EIDL Loan Application Business Owners Information
Image Highlighting EIDL Loan Application Additional Information Part 1
Image Highlighting EIDL Loan Application Additional Information Part 2

The final page (not included here) is the summary page, which just lays out all of the information you’ve included in your application for review. If it’s all correct, press submit. We’ve heard from several landlords that this process should take no more than 30 minutes per entity.

Note: As you can see on page 2 of the application, you will have to know how much rent you’ve lost since January 30, 2020. Make sure you project any future losses that you think you can justify. But remember pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered. In other words, don’t put a number in that you can’t reasonably justify.

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and loan advance, click here.

EIDL $10,000 Advance: Updates as of April 24th, 2020

Although the SBA website has made no mention of it, it seems that landlords without employees may no longer be eligible for a $10,000 Advance (or any advance for that matter).

Here’s a screenshot of an email forwarded to us from one of our members who has applied for the EIDL:

EIDL Email to Applicants from SBA.gov

As you’ll see in the email, they mention that “the amount of the Advance will be determined by the number of your pre-disaster (i.e., as of January 31, 2020) employees. The Advance will provide $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000.” They also mention that the applicant may still qualify for a PPP Loan. However, the applicant who received this email (like many who are probably reading this article) is a landlord who owns real estate in LLCs and has no employees.

This doesn’t mean that landlords won’t qualify for an EIDL loan, it just means that landlords without employees will not receive immediate relief in the form a $10,000 grant.

This could put many landlords in a difficult position. While many U.S. states and cities have instituted Eviction Moratoriums that essentially mandate that landlords defer rental payments, no immediate assistance is being offered them. Unless you’re a landlord that has employees or a loan through Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac.

Update as of April 24, 2020: While the SBA suspended accepting new applications for the EIDL Grant in mid-April 2020, because they ran out of money, as of yesterday they have now lifted that suspension. On April 23, 2020 legislation passed which allocates another $60 billion for EIDL and grants.

Unfortunately, because of the very high demand for EIDL grants, the SBA has now officially implemented a $1,000 cap per employee on the advance (although this is still not stated on their website anywhere I can fin d), up to a maximum of $10,000. As such, if you are a landlord without employees, you will not qualify for this grant.


SBA Express Bridge Loans

Many landlords have applied for the EIDL, but with so many applicants to review, wait times for loan disbursements have gone through the roof. The SBA Express Bridge Loan is meant to get quick cash, of up to $25,000, to small business owners in financial duress due to the Coronavirus. 

Landlords who have an existing relationship with an SBA Express Lender would apply for the Express Bridge Loan as a business with less than 500 employees and receive as much as $25,000, with a much quicker turnaround time. Express Bridge Loans can be paid back from money received from an EIDL loan.

Terms

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

SBA Debt Relief

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the SBA is providing some debt relief to small businesses who currently have SBA loans and have suffered losses. Right now, the SBA has set up automatic payments to cover the principal, interest, and fees for six months on current microloans. Additionally, any new SBA loans issued before September 27th, 2020 will receive debt relief with the same terms.


Other Financial Relief Options for Landlords

What if you don’t qualify for one of the loans mentioned above? Or are you finding it difficult to submit your EIDL applications due to glitches with SBA.gov and/or your bank hasn’t started giving out PPP loans yet? Don’t worry! There are a few additional resources and ideas to get some cash flow coming in.

Apply for Forbearance or Deferment

Landlords with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-backed loans may be eligible for deferment or forbearance on mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those with multiple loans through Fannie and Freddie may also have the option to defer payments for up to 90 days. 

Select lenders have also implemented deferral plans during this declared emergency, allowing some borrowers to put a hold on their payments for up to 120 days. These deferred payments will be applied at the end or your loan period. 

These lenders include, Bank of America, Ally Bank and BB&T. If your mortgage isn’t held by any of these lenders, reach out to your lender and find out if they are providing any help during times of financial hardship. 

Take Advantage of Your Property’s Equity

Another way to pay your mortgage and property expenses is to tap into the equity you’ve built in your property. If you have paid off a solid amount of the principal balance on your loan, look into your home equity options and eligibility. 

A home equity loan or HELOC allows property owners to access a line of credit tied to the equity in their home or rental property. Another option to access your property’s equity and get quick cash is through a cash-out refinance–where your current mortgage loan is refinanced to a new one. 

During difficult times like these, your tenants may not be able to pay rent, leaving you on the hook to potentially cover multiple mortgages at once. These options can provide landlords with cash in-hand in order to stay above water for the next several months.  

Accept Partial Payments (if possible)

If your tenants have fully lost their jobs due to COVID-19, obviously you shouldn’t make them pay their rent. But if any of your tenants can swing partial payments, it would be better than nothing. 

For example, if your tenant has lost 20% of their income, offer 20% off their rent until your state has declared that the emergency is over. That way, you can still receive a portion of the rent, helping you pay the rental mortgage and avoid being as financially strapped. 

Just be sure to let your tenants know in writing that this is a partial rent payment and it will not satisfy their full rental obligation. Make sure it’s well understood that full repayment of rent is expected when all of this chaos blows over.

Rent Out Unused Storage Space

Most people aren’t looking to spend extra money right now. However, the global Coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to load up on shelf stable food, toilet paper, emergency items, etc. 

Renters with already minimal space may find it hard to store all these items in bulk. If you have some free storage space on the property, consider offering it to your renters (or whoever may be in need) for a small fee each month. Even a little bit of money can go a long way, especially in times like these.

Partner With Local Businesses

With “Stay Home” orders in place around the country and an enormous amount of people now working from home, there is definitely a demand for convenient services. This could be especially beneficial for landlords managing multi-family properties or single-family homes that are close in proximity. 

Basically, you would partner with local businesses or solo entrepreneurs to provide a convenient service (in this case, to avoid leaving home) like dog-walking, food delivery, house cleaning, etc.   You would then take a percentage of the money made from these services for setting up the deal. It may sound like an off-the-wall idea, but anything goes during times of survival. 

Sell Advertising Space

For landlords who own multi-family buildings, there may be an opportunity to bring in some ancillary income through selling advertising space on your property. While your tenants may not love the idea of having big advertisements plastered to their apartment buildings, it can be a great way to generate extra money to help supplement any missing rents in the coming months.

Cut Back on Any Non-Essential Maintenance

Most of us had some big plans for 2020 and now all of us are having to break or postpone them due to the pandemic. One of the first and easiest things you can do as a landlord is to minimize property expenses by cutting back or holding off on any unnecessary maintenance. 

While an overflowing toilet or broken furnace are essential maintenance, replacing leaky rain gutters or painting an old fence for curb appeal are non-essential expenses. Shelf your non-essential maintenance plans to do at a later date.  

Ask Your Vendors for a Payment Plan

If you regularly work with certain vendors and have a good a rapport, you might consider asking them if they’ll create a payment plan for emergency maintenance that comes up during this time. If you’re short on cash due to lost rents, this could be a great option for you to properly maintain your building during this time.

Reduce Tenant Turnover

While this may be a stressful time, it’s important to try and keep your tenants happy (within reason, of course). It’s well known to landlords that one of the biggest expenses is having to advertise and find a new renter. Not only that, vacancies are expensive. The longer your rental sits vacant, the more money you stand to lose. 

Do everything you can to work with your tenants in order to keep your properties filled. It will likely pay off in the long run and help avoid or reduce losing tenants.

Stay Current on Rent Relief Options in Your State 

Certain cities and states across America have started directing funds to help renters pay their rent. For example, both Colorado and the city of Boston have set aside $3 million for rental aid and Columbus, Ohio has $1 million designated for the same purpose. 

With more and more of these rent relief plans popping up, make sure you’re aware of all the options both you and your tenants may qualify for.


Conclusion

If you’re a landlord who’s worried about staying above water during the COVID-19 Pandemic, you’re not alone. There are many financial relief options available to you and your tenants. Apply for and take advantage of the programs you may qualify for, look into mortgage forbearance or deferment, and do everything possible to work with tenants during this global emergency. We will get through this together!

Next Steps…

If you’re looking for more information on how to make the most of this current environment, and potentially invest in additional properties, join our network.

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