Like most people, a contingency plan for a pandemic like Coronavirus might not have been part of your protocols as a landlord. However, when a crisis hits, your ability to bounce back right away and respond promptly helps ease your tenants’ anxiety.
You should practice excellent management in a time like this, when your renters need you most. How can one achieve this? We here at T-Square Properties have written this article to give you some ideas on what measures to take.
Tips for Handling Maintenance in a Crisis
1. It’s vital to stay in communication with your tenants.
You must understand that a reassuring message coming from you can make all the difference to your tenants. It’s important to let them know that maintenance services will still be offered during this difficult period. Your reliability will be highlighted in this crisis, and knowing they can count on you will lead to more loyal renters.
Establish safety measures when dropping by a tenant’s unit. This sends the message that you care for their well-being. While essential maintenance duties may still need to continue, there’s no reason to forgo sanitary practices.
Your tenants will also appreciate if you send them useful information as a good resource. It shows you’re looking after their health and safety as well. Providing reminders on how to practice sanitation is another way to send the same message, too.
Even in the midst of COVID-19, emergencies still happen. Since many tenants will be staying home due to the virus, your property needs to stay safe and comforting in this distressing period. Make sure to send them a message, letting them know that you’re within reach if needed. You should prioritize quickly responding to all calls and emails.
Now is the time to prove to your tenants that their decision to rent your property was the best move. It also cements your relationship, and shows that you are a landlord who can be depended upon in dire situations.
2. Implement maintenance precautions for everyone’s safety.
When you have to send in maintenance professionals to your tenants’ units, remind them to observe proper hygiene measures, specifically by washing their hands before entering the property. Always ask the workers to carry soap, hand sanitizers or hygienic wipes with them when working.
Using gloves is a sanitary way to perform a maintenance job, so remind your maintenance staff to always wear fresh ones when entering your property. Remind them that it’s also important to discard used gloves properly to avoid contamination.
It’s also essential for them to keep their working area clean and to have them wear masks, PPEs or shoe covers while performing their job.
Never allow a sick maintenance contractor to work, and always have a ready replacement. This will help control the risk of spreading the virus. If a tenant requests for an emergency repair, the maintenance worker you send should be completely healthy.
3. Be sure to have your own set of supplies ready.
When your maintenance worker needs to conduct repairs in your property, you should be ready with the essentials. As a landlord, you should have masks, alcohol wipes, sanitizers and gloves. You never know when you yourself might need to enter your tenant’s home with a contractor.
Always be prepared so you’re ready to visit a renter and attend to the different property needs. This is also for your own safety. It’s a given that even in this pandemic, you’ll be in contact with a number of residents, especially if you’re self-managing multiple properties.
Things to think about when receiving service requests during COVID-19
- Consider having a phone call to walk a tenant through the repair problem, if it’s minor.
- Weigh the essential versus non-essential repairs so you can prioritize the urgent cases.
- Consider the presence of children and seniors in the property when sending maintenance staff. You’ll need to advise the repair staff to be even more cautious in this case.
- Inform your tenants and reduce their anxieties by telling them the initiatives and precautions you’re taking while maintenance work is being done.
- Inform the tenants beforehand (especially if they’re working from home) that maintenance work will be conducted and there may be noise. Advise the maintenance contractor to minimize noise when a tenant is working from home.
As a landlord managing your own rental property, it’s especially challenging right now to carry out your duties. You need to communicate with your tenants in a clear manner, be on top of things and practice good hygiene for your safety and that of your tenants. If there’s repair work to be handled, you should make sure that the workers are also practicing good hygiene and taking safety measures.
This added layer of precautions and stress could take its toll on you. You might find it easier to hire a property manager to handle your property while you focus on your own well-being.
Property managers have adequate resources, efficient protocols and an experienced maintenance team that will save you a lot of time, money and resources. You may find hiring one invaluable during this stressful COVID-19 period. Standards must be strict since COVID-19 is highly contagious and there’s currently no cure or vaccine.