Tenant Payment Performance Update v2023-11
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Overall, things are back to normal in the suburbs of Detroit. There’s still an occasional challenge in court, but not often.
The 36th District Court in Detroit is improving but still has many challenges.
We successfully recovered possession of 4 City of Detroit homes in November, one of which was a squatter.
The free Legal-aide attorneys are the biggest challenge we face in 36th. They are getting very creative in delaying evictions due to repair issues and legally extorting landlords with the threat of jury trials (which can take another 6 months) to force acceptance of Conditional Dismissals – that keep an eviction off a tenant’s record.
Evictions in the City of Detroit will continue to be a challenge for owners who choose not to get the required Certificate of Compliance for their property(s).
TENANT APPLICANT SCREENING CHALLENGES
We’re now in winter, which means a slowdown in real estate transactions – both sales and leasing.
December and January are the two slowest months for leasing. Paycheck-to-paycheck tenants are spending any extra money on the Holidays instead of saving up to move (1st month’s rent + security deposit). The market usually picks up around the end of February when income tax refunds are received, giving tenants the funds to move.
The overall quality of the applications we are currently receiving has dropped. A higher than average percentage are being evicted or have recently been evicted. Fortunately, we always verify the last 2 years of rental history – unless an applicant has acceptable compensating factors.
Given the trend in Conditional Dismissals mentioned above, our Application Department has started checking court records for eviction filings. This is a time-consuming process as the records of several courts must be checked manually. Also, due to human error, we must check several name variations. Our efforts are paying off though as we are finding an increasing number of applications with recent eviction filings. When we ask for an acceptable explanation for these filings, most applicants withdraw their applications or disappear.
Due to concerns about being accused of Fair Housing discrimination, and getting sued, we have to proceed carefully with every application we receive. As a result, it’s taking us longer to process each application.
RENT PAYMENT TRENDS 30-60-90+ Days Behind Update
The number of our tenants less than 30 days behind on their rent has been maintained!
We’re, of course, doing everything we can to keep improving this number. We do expect the standard drop through December and January due to holiday spending. We’ll be doing a lot of Payment Plan negotiations until income tax refunds provide the funds to pay past-due balances.
The number of tenants paying full rent slightly increased. We continue to work with the number of tenants paying partial rent on payment plans to get them back on track.
The good news is that the number of tenants paying partial rent has decreased and no rent stayed the same. Surprisingly, it’s been back-to-back months of decreasing tenants paying full rent. We looked deeper into this and found most of it’s due to the Class C Pontiac rentals we manage and several new properties we just took over that had tenants already behind in rent (hence why we were hired). We’re working on Payment Plans with all of them and anticipate getting them all back on track.
For Wayne County, we saw a slight decrease in tenants paying full rent, and an increase in tenants paying partial rent. The number of tenants paying no rent has dropped. This is due to us working hard to get tenants on payment plans and evicting non-performers.
We do anticipate some deterioration of Class C tenant payment performance due to Holiday spending – unfortunately, many tenants prioritize holiday spending over making their rent payments. We go through this every year with a percentage of tenants and many of them will enter Payment Plans and catch up when they receive income tax refunds near the end of February.