No one is immune to the effects of COVID-19. Everyone must adjust their pre-existing practices, establish new procedures, and remain adaptable to changes as they persist — and landlords are no exception.
Ensuring the safety of tenants and staff is of the utmost importance. We’ve provided a few actions that landlords can take to minimize risk, while continuing to run their business as smoothly as possible.
Establish a Detailed Plan
First thing’s first, create a clear and detailed plan of response. Not all areas are experiencing COVID-19 equally, but you’ll be glad to have a plan laid out in the case that your region experiences a harder hit. Your detailed response plan should make clear how to proceed if things go south. Leaving ambiguities and room for interpretation will complicate things further. Be clear and concise.
What your plan should include:
- Measurables to assess and identify the severity of an outbreak within your property
- Best practices for sanitation and social distancing
- A consolidated team of decision-makers
- A breakdown of what materials will be available
- Criteria to determine which services, staff, and amenities will be essential
Remain Actively Informed
At this point, it has become evident that circumstances are constantly and continually changing. With this comes shifting regulations and guidelines. One of the most effective ways to ensure the safety of your tenants and staff is to remain informed on updates to restrictions and best practices as they are released on the local, state, and national levels.
As regulations are adjusted, the services and processes that landlords are able to complete will continue to change. Staying informed guarantees that you’re acting in accordance with best practices for responding to maintenance requests, enforcing late fees, carrying out evictions, opening/closing amenities and common areas, and more.
Prioritize Health and Safety
Maintaining social distancing is one of the key ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.Any non-essentially common areas should be closed or open with restrictions to maintain social distancing. Encouraging tenants to stay home by sharing your own personal measures could also be a step in the right direction.
While everyone is doing their best to socially distance, some contact is unavoidable. Share with tenants and your team the CDC’s guide to prevention and treatment, and encourage them to follow it. Try to keep heavily-trafficked common areas as clean as possible by disinfecting regularly. Asking tenants to help out by disinfecting their own areas will make a meaningful difference. Displaying signage, sending out reminders, and applying some social pressure will help ensure that tenants are doing their part to keep themselves and others safe.
Digitize as Much as Possible
In order to minimize face-to-face contact, transition as many of your processes online as possible. Taking these steps to further social distancing displays a commitment to protecting the health and safety of your tenants and staff.
The easiest way to digitize your real estate business is property management software. The good news here is that property management software has a well-established history of assisting landlords, meaning it can be relied on even during these times of uncertainty. You’d be surprised how much of your business can be done online.
Process landlords can move online:
- Collecting rent payments
- Signing and renewing leases
- Screening tenants
- Accepting rental applications
- Fielding maintenance requests
Create Open Communication
Communicate, communicate, communicate! The only thing that is certain during this pandemic is that everyone is experiencing uncertainties. Handling doubt and a lack of stability is best done through open and productive communication. Share your plans with your tenants, and continue to update them as things change. Provide reliable resources and information to your staff and tenants. Encourage tenants to reach out to you with questions, and respond to them promptly. The best thing you can do is inform, educate, and offer support.
It’s easy to get bogged down with worry, anticipation, and planning during these unpredictable times. While preparing yourself for the worst-case scenario will certainly equip you with an unparalleled readiness, there’s only so much planning you can do. If you take the recommended steps to maintain cleanliness, encourage social distancing, and stay up to date on the regulations that apply to you, you can rest easier knowing you’re doing the best you can — which is all anyone could ask.
Author Bio (If required) –
Anuj Singh is a content marketing manager and marketing expert with more than 7 years of experience. He is passionate about real estate, property management, customer services and all things digital. When not working, you can find him either listening to Music or reading Tech stuff. At present, he is with Innago – simple property management software for landlords and property managers.