Do you want to handle the COVID-19 pandemic better as a landlord?
The coronavirus pandemic challenges people from across a variety of industries. Property owners have a unique set of demands during these times. Every day calls for quick adjustments and decision-making, considering new information.
Despite constant news updates, you can follow the best practices for landlords during the pandemic. Establishing quality communication with your tenants while keeping up with the changing legal landscape currently forms the groundwork. Additionally, it's vital to observe a strict hygiene protocol.
We are taking a closer look at the best approaches you can use as a landlord during the novel coronavirus outbreak. Rely on the following principles to protect yourself and your tenants from the risks associated with the COVID-19 virus.
Check Official Sources of Information
The amount of information about COVID-19 circling the web is staggering. However, not all videos and articles are of equal quality.
There are people and companies who use the current situation for personal gain. They spread rumors and false information for advertisement profits.
Use official sources of information. The most reliable outlet for updates and guidelines is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention homepage. Check the sites and newsletters of your local health authorities as well.
As a landlord, it's important to share practical finds with your renters. Before sending out any information, check that the content is from a trusted and reputable source. Confirm that this material isn't outdated.
Here are the major red flags of false information to watch out for:
- You are not able to find credible sources for their statements.
- It's the first time you hear about this website or media channel.
- There is an underlying sense of the information being "too good" or "too bad" to be true
Follow an Essential Hygiene Protocol
Hygiene measures must be impeccable during the pandemic. Following strict hygiene measures is crucial for stopping the spread of this novel coronavirus.
It has been established that COVID-19 can live on many types of surfaces. Only thorough sanitation of these contact surfaces can mitigate its spread. You need to take stringent measures while conducting repairs and maintenance.
As a landlord, the starting point of great hygiene practices is adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). Make sure that you and any staff have the required equipment prior to entering the rental properties.
Washing your hands is an underrated measure. According to official guidelines, washing your hands using warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds can greatly reduce your risk of spreading the COVID-19. Hand sanitizers may prove to be useful in certain situations, but these products are not a replacement for hand washing.
You should ensure that your work areas are continuously disinfected. Take extra care to see if you may be missing some components or areas that are susceptible to spreading the virus.
Make sure you have enough extra gloves in stock. As you begin each task or enter a new property, you should put on a fresh pair of gloves. Familiarize yourself and any of your team members or partners with proper donning and doffing practices to decrease the chance of cross-contamination.
You must wear a mask only if you are a caregiver, an infected person, or someone who has a justified concern of being infected. As a non-infected landlord, you don't need a mask for entering the rental property to answer a tenant's maintenance request.
Deliver Stellar Communication to Your Tenants
Landlords need to focus on the communication aspect of having tenants in their properties. You should aim to establish a communication plan that is transparent, responsive and supportive. Your tenants deserve this in these challenging times.
Reach out to your tenants and describe how you will continue to deliver essential services. Let them know that you will be there to help them and provide ongoing support throughout this pandemic and beyond.
Many tenants will worry about their safety. Communicate clearly that you will follow all the current safety guidelines whenever entering their homes. Stress that you'll keep yourself and any service partners up to date on the latest policies.
Similarly, it's important to confirm that your tenants will get the needed responses in case of emergencies. The definition of a rental emergency is up for debate, but you can clarify that fires, floods and events of similar magnitude will receive quick and dedicated responses.
Make it known that your tenants' phone calls, emails and messages will be answered as soon as possible. Give your renters the reassurance they need and that their issues will all be acknowledged. Some minor problems, however, may require improvised solutions that minimize physical contact.
Ensure Full Legal Compliance
The COVID-19 pandemic creates economic and social challenges. The whole situation amounts to much more than just a matter of public health. It's important to update your knowledge of any changes regarding laws and regulations relevant to you as a property owner.
The updated legal affairs may concern regulations on the federal, state and local levels. Make sure to check reputable sources of legal information on all the levels of legislation. Inspect your lease agreements and see if they appropriately reflect current changes.
The situation regarding the novel coronavirus could demand tough decisions. Keep in mind that every action of yours needs to have a legal basis. Any "creative" interpretations of the rules put in place can have judiciary consequences.
Manage & Review Your Plans
Adapting to changes is crucial in uncertain times. As a landlord, you must be ready for unexpected things to happen. For instance, fires, floods and serious property damage are already risks that property owners need to acknowledge and manage.
The spread of COVID-19 is another factor that you should include in your contingency plan. Review the strategies of caring for your investment on a continual basis. Adapt to the changing circumstances to continue growing your property investment.
Professional Property Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The role of professional property management is especially strong in the current situation. At InterWest Properties, we stand by all the principles laid out in this article. Our extensive knowledge and experience allow us to take care of our landlords' legal issues and keep their best interests in mind at all times.
There are many challenges to tackle as a landlord during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's why the major benefit of partnering with a professional property manager in times like these is the accompanying legal support.
Contact us now to learn more about how you can benefit from our property management services and legal assistance! And click here to learn the most successful ways you can advertise your properties.