• September 26, 2020
 Op-Ed: COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights the Importance of Tenant/Landlord Communication

Op-Ed: COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights the Importance of Tenant/Landlord Communication

Open communication between tenants and landlords is always crucial- and typically property managers work closely with tenants to establish trust and guidance when applicable. This has been a standard practice for many Property Managers, especially at low-income housing since available income and funds are many times unpredictable.

For many, COVID- 19 has exacerbated this for thousands of families leaving many with questions and concerns about their future.  This is where landlords play a crucial role.

To help illustrate how open communication benefits both tenants and landlords, we will share one very telling story one of the many impacted and how they can benefit from working with their property manager.

Lashaundra Harper, a resident at Castner Palms in Northeast El Paso, is a single mom of five children ranging from ages 10 to 17. She has lived at Castner Palms for over a year with assistance from the Affordable Housing Program provided by Tropicana Properties.

Ms. Harper, like many, came into severe hardship with a loss of her job due to COVID-19. She was unable to make her rent. Unfortunately, many times families in similar situations feel alone and do not necessarily look for, nor know how to seek help. Ms. Harper approached her property manager in early April, and, together, they worked out a payment plan for her balance due and upcoming months.

Eventually, Ms. Harper was able to pay over $4000 towards her owed rent using mostly the funds provided by relief from the Federal Government. She was still owing one month of rent, but because of her open communication and good faith actions, Tropicana Properties chose to donate the one month’s balance remaining on her account.

The Harper family will remain in their home during this crisis and will very likely not have to bear eviction when all is said and done.

Although this is a notable time where stories like these are becoming more common, it is not an unusual story for property managers to work with thousands of El Paso families going through similar situations as Ms. Harper.

The number of families in need have exponentially increased now with COVID-19- with at least 6,000 families now living similar struggles- and making a conscious choice to be in constant communication with their property managers.

Together they are working through options and finding funds accessible to them. Tropicana Properties, as many other landlords throughout El Paso work tirelessly to assist tenants through their difficult times- which is now it is compounded as thousands are going through this at once. This is where the CARES Act will be crucial to the process in the next few months, as our great city comes alive again.

As an industry, landlords want to continue to provide assistance to all tenants- the hope is to inspire tenants who have remained silent and uncommunicative throughout the last months to feel more comfortable to speak with their landlords. Open communication with landlords is ultimately the best solution for all.

Author:  Ray Baca:
Ray serves as President of the Executive Board of UOR Gerald Carlson Scholarship, a Texas Non-Profit Organization, also known as Under One Roof.  The UOR Gerald Carlson Scholarship, also known as Under One Roof, is a Texas Non-Profit Organization formed in September 2013 to provide support to El Paso County victims of fire, flood or natural disaster by providing monetary and other means of support.  Click here for more information.
About the El Paso Apartment Association: The EPAA serves as the leading voice and preeminent resource through advocacy, education and collaboration on behalf of the rental housing industry in El Paso County, Texas.  EPAA believes that rental housing is a valuable community partner that emphasizes integrity, accountability, collaboration, community responsibility, inclusivity and innovation. To learn more, visit www.EPPA.org.
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