There are many things that Covid 19 significantly changed. The way we socialize, work, dine in a restaurant, travel, the school set up, and many health and safety protocols have been added to our daily lives.
The Covid 19 pandemic has also affected businesses and industries as it continues to spread worldwide. Many businesses owners are struggling with how they can handle and respond to this pandemic.
In particular, property managers and landlords are dealing with assessing the situation and carry out the best action to protect the health and safety of the tenants and staff. It is also essential for the property managers and landlords to have an emergency plan that tackles the present challenges, whether in the optimum or adversity.
The property management company should focus on the things that need immediate attention, like the health and safety of their employees, clients, tenants, finances, and short-term and long-term liquidity. Since all the non-essential businesses are closing, many people are losing their jobs and may continually affect their ability to pay rent in the long run.
Property managers and landlords are now under a lot of pressure in facing this most challenging situation. However, they are learning to adapt to the changing world. They would primarily manage to have a safe community for their tenants, and at the same time, be profitable and productive in the most efficient and effective ways.
Working actively, efficiently, and effectively to deal with COVID 19 is very crucial. You should always find ways as a property manager to work efficiently despite being in the middle of a COVID 19 outbreak, social distancing, and quarantines.
There are many things to consider as a property manager amidst COVID 19. Here are our top things to consider :
Creating a Pandemic Action Plan
Most property management companies were unprepared for the onset of COVID 19 and its effect on the business. But it is better to create one to overcome the further glitch in the operations.
Several guidelines have been rolled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) in the operations of a business to avoid the transmission of infections.
Before creating a pandemic plan, you must consult your state legislation and the CDC to know more about the protocol and regulations during the pandemic.
Safety First on The Property
As a successful property manager, safety is always at the front line of your rental business operations during the pandemic. You should always ensure that your staff and tenants follow and understand the importance of health protocols such as the proper wearing of a mask and social distancing.
Residents and staff should be involved and make an effort to ensure the safety of the community. Additionally, here are some safety guidelines:
- Wearing masks on elevators and common areas – Implementing a policy for wearing masks of tenants to the common areas and elevators can reduce infections in multifamily units. Awareness through displaying signs and notices will help the residents in the health protocols in the property.
- Revise package delivery policies – Most multifamily units and apartments have storage for mail and packages for their resident. But this setup requires direct contact with the courier and tenants. You should advise the courier to drop parcels at the door or in a common area.
- Restriction of service providers – Property managers, should have open communication with the service providers such as phone, plumbing, internet, and HVAC to know the health and safety protocols taking effect in the community for the safety of the tenants. And service providers should only be allowed if there is an urgent request.
Strengthen Proper Cleaning Practices
One of the best ways to fight the virus is to have clean surroundings, so you have to strengthen the cleaning policy in the community. As a property manager, you should highlight the importance of cleaning different surfaces like tables, light switches, doorknobs, and phones.
It would be best to consider installing hand sanitizers in most congested areas such as elevators and entryways and providing tenants with suitable cleaning wipes to sanitize and eliminate the spread of the virus.
Posting signages in common areas is a reminder always to practice cleaning for your tenant’s health and safety.
The usefulness and popularity of virtual tours have drastically increased during this COVID 19 pandemic. The availability of applications like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime make the virtual tour easy for the landlords to get potential tenants for the vacant rental properties.
There are several ways to make it happen. One way is by video recording the property and posting it online and on different social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. You will only need a smartphone and a few clicks. And eventually, a potential tenant will contact you about the property’s information.
The second way is through guided video tours. This method will take more time and effort but will have a positive result in the end. The good thing about this method is that there is a chance for the potential tenants to have a conversation with the property manager and ask questions directly. In addition, there is a personal touch with this video tour that makes it outstanding among other property managers that use a different approach.
Large high-end properties and multifamily complexes property managers and landlords are considering hiring a company that creates a 3D representation of the unit. Potential tenants will visit the website and look at the identical model unit they want to rent. There is an increase of trends using this 3D representation due to the comprehensive view of the property. The potential tenants will be able to browse every detail without the camera.
Reevaluate Eviction Policy
You should check the local and federal laws for eviction in your location if there is a change in the guidelines. It is an excellent point to reevaluate the eviction policy to adjust your tenant in these trying times like the pandemic that we are facing nowadays.
Waiving of late fees should be considered during these pandemic times while many people aren’t getting back to work. Even though it may not have a good impact on the financial side of the business, but it will be beneficial in the long run to retain tenants.
Remotely Handling of Renewals
One of the successful aspects of property management is renewals. Retention of tenants should be the goal nowadays since there is an economic dilemma in the realm. So without personal contact with the tenants and visits to the office, you should maintain the present finances that you have in the business.
With the use of property management software, there are tasks that you can do and update remotely. As well as on your tenant’s side, they can read and review contracts comfortably and hassle-free. And you can communicate and update your tenants with the use of this software.
Temporary Suspend Non-Essential Repairs
To minimize direct contact between staff and tenants, performing maintenance should only be done in the event of an emergency. In this way, it will help to reduce the personal contact of tenants and staff.
Here is a list of essential repairs that should be conducted :
- Lost or broken keys
- Power loss
- Mold presence
- Pipe and roof leaks
- Defective air conditioner
- Defective stove and refrigerator
- Presence of toxic fumes and gas
Communication with Tenants
There are people the are not open to change, mainly when it causes inconvenience to them. Opening the line of communication with tenants and constantly update them to lessen the complaints and not-needed emails.
Tenants must be aware of all the essential changes that need to implement within the community. Having communications in this kind of situation is very important between landlords and tenants.
Traditionally finding tenants like rent signages, print media, and other physical advertising is an excellent option for getting a potential tenant. But with the increase of people working from home, this method is out of trend.
Your property management company should be involved and invest in the different forms of digital and social media marketing. In this way, you will have a wide range of potential tenants.
It would be best to start by venturing into different social media platforms like Zillow, Craiglist, and Trulia. And if you want to bring up potential leads, Instagram and Facebook are also excellent tools. You can also post listings and digital followings through these social media platforms.
The most important tool to fight this COVID 19 pandemic as a property manager is knowledge. It would help if you constantly stay updated on the latest news within your area about reported activities to help you with the planning.
Assign a team member to monitor updates from CDC covid summary and index. As a property manager, it is for you to create more preventive measures that are applicable in this situation. And update this to your clients and tenants if necessary.
As a property manager, you need to remain the entirety in its perspective. Covid 19 pandemic is a significant threat to health, and being in a panic state is not helpful, and as much as possible can worsen the situation.
Remaining in a calm and relaxed state of mind, implementing new policies, constantly opening the communication line, and utilizing the advancement of technology and social media networks will give your clients the excellent service they deserve.
Remember to keep calm, practice social distancing, follow health and safety protocols and always wash your hands.