Landlords and tenants in Florida are navigating unchartered waters. Never before have businesses and travel been shut down by the government due to a pandemic. Never before have tenants and landlords needed to figure out how to reach mutual agreements to keep both on financially stable footing.
How can both parties successfully navigate this situation? One key factor that will impact success: communication.
How can landlords and tenants successfully negotiate during the pandemic?
Ideally, the landlord and tenant will communicate about the situation and negotiate a mutually favorable resolution. While having these discussions, it is important to keep in mind both parties are likely struggling. Tenants are struggling to make rent because businesses are likely vacant, landlords may still need to pay mortgages and insurance premiums on the buildings. Some potential points to discuss could include:
- Loan modifications. First, landlords with mortgages on properties may benefit from reaching out to the lender to discuss the potential for a loan modification. This can relax the landlord’s immediate financial obligations and allow more flexibility when negotiating with tenants.
- Lease extensions. In exchange for putting a pause on rent, landlords could ask tenants to agree to an extended lease or other guarantees.
- Use of the deposit. Instead of declaring a default, landlords may want to consider using the tenant’s security deposit towards missed rent.
In some cases, it may be wise to seek legal counsel. An attorney can provide assistance if the negotiations are not going well or if the parties would like to better ensure the agreement is legally enforceable.