COVID-19 AND THE RENTAL MARKET
Three months ago we were in a very normal rental market for the Emerald Coast. Military movement and the arrival of Snowbirds were keeping the long-term and short- term rentals active for the December/January time frame. As we moved through February and March and the Corona Virus became a threat the rental market made an abrupt reversal as activity slowed to a crawl. This trend has continued as tenants have been confined to their homes, Military orders were halted, vacation renters cancelled reservations and non-essential employees are laid off as businesses close.
Our office has been able to operate by closing our doors and working remotely through the internet and phone system. Rents are paid through ACH or direct deposit and can be dropped off in our secure drop box outside our offices. We are only able to show vacant properties and applications and leases are handled through the internet, video streaming and doc-u-sign. Although inventories are low and those looking for rentals are few, there are some properties renting.
Rents are due regardless of a tenant’s situation. Those unable to pay rent can usually work with the owners of their rental if they notify their property manager or owner prior to the due date. Some owners get temporary mortgage relief or are willing to delay rent payments until stimulus checks arrive or their tenants return to work, however, the rent is not waived and must be paid. Evictions are delayed for government backed loans and at this time eviction processing is not a priority with the courts.
The lasting affect of the Corona Virus on our area is unknown. The economy, especially as it relates to our tourist industry, has been and will be devastated. Rentals, restaurants, attractions and any business dependent on tourism will take time to recover. Our other industry, The Military and the businesses related to it, have not been affected as greatly.
Military and Civil Service payrolls have continued, many of the local businesses in support of our Military are essential and have remained operational. Our long-term rental market will again be active as PCS moves return. The housing market on the Emerald Coast will return to higher rents and home values as we move past COVID-19 and the demand for housing continues to rise.
We are so blessed with this beautiful area and those who live and visit us and the strong presence of our Military Installations and those that serve. As we recover from this pandemic, please give thanks and gratitude to all medical personnel, police and our military who are such an integral part of our community.
- Sundance Rental Management