The team at Charleston Home Rentals (CHR) is experienced in adapting to the ever-changing Charleston real estate market, but COVID-19 brought a new set of challenges this year as it has for so many industries. In addition to shifting to a work-from-home model, the local property management company quickly implemented operational changes to respond to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on both residents and property owners.
Charleston Home Rentals invested in 3D virtual tours from a safety standpoint to help people feel more comfortable applying for a rental home online. In addition, all CHR properties are SERVPRO cleaned and disinfected per CDC standards before occupancy. As a result, properties are still leased even though vacancy rates are on the rise in the local rental market.
“In addition to increased safety measures, our team truly wants to help people navigate through the financial challenges the pandemic has presented,” said James Cargile, CHR Controller. “It has been so rewarding to offer our residents in need programs and payment options to allow them to stay in their homes and avoid an expensive move. And, our owners appreciate the fact that we have found ways to still collect the rent even if our residents are struggling to pay.”
The CHR team has facilitated several financial assistance programs for residents this year. The SC Thrive COVID Rental Assistance Program directly pays landlords for qualifying situations throughout the state. The Resident Relief Foundation also offers a wide range of resources to tenants, from employment assistance to direct rental payments. Additionally, the Trident United Way 211 Helpline offers a host of programs, including food, housing, employment, utility assistance, and more.
“Charleston Home Rentals helped me apply for the SC Thrive program. Once the paperwork was submitted, my rent was covered. I am so thankful.” said Sabrina W., current CHR resident.
A credit building program is also in place to help residents build their credit based on making their rental payments, and there have been no negative impacts submitted during the pandemic. CHR reports for all monthly payments received by the 26th of the month to help residents receive positive credit reporting. This could be especially helpful to build positive credit for those who may have been financially struggling during the pandemic.
Due to COVID, some of CHR’s residents have lost their jobs and have a hard time paying rent. In response, the team at Charleston Home Rentals has worked with owners to allow residents to enter into rent modification or payment plans. They can essentially pay less than their normal month's rent temporarily and break out the remaining balance into monthly installments. This helped numerous residents who dealt with short-term difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
Youriy Karadjov has used CHR’s property management services for a couple of years. “The family renting my property would not have been able to continue making payments without CHR’s new payment plan option,” Karadjov said. “It feels good that we could help them stay in their home during this difficult time, and we were able to avoid a vacancy in the process.”
The company has further urged property owners to offer a very generous rental discount upon renewal. Many times these discounts have equated to half a month's rent. This has been highly effective at allowing CHR to renew many existing leases, particularly in conjunction with one of the financial assistance programs mentioned above.
“Money was tight when my lease was up for renewal, and CHR actually discounted my rent that month to help me stay in my home. It would have been so expensive to move, which made this even more helpful,” said Laura M., current CHR resident
Be Happy Renting
Charleston Home Rentals is committed to providing nice homes to individuals and families throughout the Charleston metro area while helping property owners generate steady income. Even in these times of uncertainty and financial struggle, it appears that the property management company’s Be Happy Renting approach is still resonating with residents and owners alike. CHR had an 80% renewal rate this year, which is very high by industry standards, especially during COVID.
Learn more about Charleston Home Rentals, their property management services, their agent referral program and available listings at BeHappyRenting.com.