The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly kept rental property management companies, property managers and landlords on their toes. As the world continues to change from one day to the next, we’re all doing our best to understand our responsibilities.
Even as many parts of the country are beginning to reopen, rental management companies still have a responsibility to help ensure the health and safety of their tenants.
How Rental Property Management Companies Can Support their Tenants
Emphasize Tenant Health and Safety
Rental management companies are still facing the reality that we’re not out of the woods yet. Health and safety must remain the top priority, and that means the health and safety of staff and employees as well as tenants. There are a number of ways you can help tenants and staff stay safe:
- Increase cleaning efforts, especially common areas and high-traffic spots. Put extra emphasis on bathrooms, kitchens, countertops, hand rails, door handles, and any other areas likely to be touched.
- Place hand sanitizer stations on parts of your property where staff and tenants can easily access them, such as near exits and entrances.
- Instruct cleaning staff and other employees to wear gloves and face masks, and to continue using established social distancing guidelines.
- Close common areas if possible, and keep them closed until you are certain that they are safe to reopen. These areas include pools, playgrounds, workout areas and clubhouses.
Prioritize Essential Maintenance
Let your tenants know that essential maintenance tasks will be prioritized, while non-essential maintenance may have to wait. Examples of essential maintenance include leaking plumbing, lack of electricity or hot water, broken windows or doors, heating and air conditioning issues, or essential appliances that need to be fixed.
If a repair is needed that requires entering a tenant’s living space, rental management companies should schedule it at a time when the tenant will not be home. If that isn’t possible, be sure to talk with the tenant to establish a plan that prioritizes safety and feels comfortable to all parties.
Keep Communication Open
Rental management companies can help their tenants by keeping them up to date on all the latest COVID-19 developments. That includes posting any new guidelines or policies that have been put in place on the property, as well as letting them know that they can contact you with any issues or questions they may have.
Work with Tenants on Rent Issues
With record unemployment numbers, it’s no surprise that a lot of tenants are having trouble paying rent. Even as reopening continues and many of your tenants are probably returning to work, it will be a while before financial stability returns. With that in mind, it’s important to approach tenants with compassion when it comes to issues like collecting rent.
Try to reach an arrangement that works for all parties, like allowing tenants to pay what they can now and make up the balance at a later date within reason. At the end of the day, collecting partial rent is better than none, and keeping a good tenant is more economical than finding a new one. Coming from a position of empathy is beneficial for rental management companies and tenants alike.
The best thing rental management companies can do to help their tenants during COVID-19 is to stay informed. Keep up to date on the latest information from federal, state and local health officials, as well as the most recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As the situation continues to change, information is a rental management company’s best friend. Contact us today to learn more about how you can continue being a good property manager during COVID-19. Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996.