Tenant Payment Performance Update through March 2023
We’re not aware of any other local management company sending their clients these types of updates!
Please be sure to share this with anyone you know interested in real estate investing or looking for a better property manager, so they can see what they are missing!
The courts continue to catch up on their caseloads, even the City of Detroit’s 36th District Court. We obtained 7 Writs of Eviction in March and numerous judgments. We were able to execute 4 four evictions, and several tenants with high balances also vacated on their own.
Tenants have realized eviction is now an actual reality and they are reaching out earlier in the eviction process to work out payment plans. When working out a payment plan, even if we accept one that makes sense, we still continue the eviction process to keep pressure on the tenant to follow their plan. We make the tenant well aware that as long as the tenant follows the payment plan, we will not continue the eviction process past the possession judgment state. If the tenant defaults, then we continue.
We communicate about eviction cases with our owner clients, going over their options and what the best business decision may be. In some cases, it may be allowing a tenant to stay in the home, ignoring the past due balance for now, and just focusing on getting them back on track to paying the current rent.
In other cases, the best decision may be just to evict the tenant as quickly as possible and start fresh with a new tenant.
Some clients are having us pursue collection cases against their tenants. We do need some type of money judgment to send to a collections agency. They then take on the challenge of starting a collections case and pursuing garnishment of wages, assets, and future state tax refunds. While this may sound easy, it is a challenge to track down a tenant after eviction. They might be living with friends or family or renting under a different name. Which can make getting them personally served very difficult. Even then a judge may grant ridiculously low weekly or monthly garnishment payments. Tenants make this even more difficult by job-hopping to avoid wage garnishments.
GOVERNMENT AID FOR PAST-DUE TENANTS
Michigan shut down the CERA application website on June 30, 2022, stating applications will be processed until the program runs out of money.
Despite numerous approvals, we’ve not received CERA funds since February. So, we’re telling all our clients not to hope for any further payments.
TENANT APPLICANT SCREENING CHALLENGES
We’re still dealing with the highest amount of application fraud we’ve ever experienced. We anticipate it getting worse as more and more evictions are processed and desperate tenants with recent evictions on their background checks get more & more creative. We continue to research all we can to stay up to date on new types of fraud and how to catch it.
Unfortunately, this is all causing our application screening & approval process to take longer. We hope you understand and will be patient with us!
EVICTION & SQUATTING WAVES
If you actually read these updates, you know we’ve been predicting the current wave of evictions for almost a year.
Now, unfortunately, we’re predicting a wave of squatters. All these tenants currently getting evicted will have a recent eviction showing up when they apply for their next rental home. Many will resort to frauding their rental applications or offering several months of rent upfront to avoid a background check.
In the end, many will have nowhere to go and will have to live with family & friends – or break into a vacant home to squat.
We’re recommending to all our clients the following for their vacant homes:
- Removing mechanicals to prevent theft
- Turning off the water on the street to discourage occupancy
- Installing metal door jamb reinforcement to prevent kicking in of doors
- Installing double-keyed deadbolts to make it harder to break in via a window and then open doors from the inside
- Metal gratings over doors & windows to discourage break-ins
The police in Detroit do not have time to properly address squatters currently and we don’t anticipate much assistance from them. Their standard practice is to label it a civil matter for the courts – meaning removal by the eviction process.
RENT PAYMENT TRENDS 30-60-90+ Days Behind Update
Our numbers for tenants paying full rent have continued to improve! This is due to a combination of tenants using tax returns to pay off past due balances, the realization they must pay or be evicted, and finally the actual removal of non-paying tenants.
As you can see, we seem to have leveled off at around 90% of tenants paying full rent. Overall though we are seeing continued improvement due to a slight increase in the number of tenants paying partial rent and a decrease in the number of tenants paying no rent (almost zero!).
Our number of tenants paying full rent dipped slightly due to bringing on another new client whose previous Property Management Company caused a mess with nonpaying tenants. We are currently in the process of evicting them, although one may work out an acceptable Payment Plan with us. The partial rent number increased with a corresponding dip in those paying zero rent. So, overall performance is heading in a positive direction.
As you can see, we continue to see a strong improvement in the metrics of tenants paying full rent, with a corresponding decrease in those paying partial and no rent. Wayne tenants are still trailing the performance of Macomb & Oakland tenants, but have shown the most improvement. This is a combination of being able to remove more non-performing tenants, and tenants realizing that they need to pay in order to stay. We saw an increase in the number of tenants who have used their tax refunds to help pay off past-due rent.