COVID-19 pandemic impacts many industries. With rent strikes and unprecedented unemployment rates, the property management industry is particularly affected. With that said, the industry must continue to work hard and protect their tenants and staff during this time. So, what should property managers be doing right now during the COVID-19 outbreak? See six things property management companies should be focusing on right now during the virus below.
6 Things Property Managers Should Do During COVID-19
The pandemic can’t be a reason to let your property management company fail. There are tasks that all property management companies should be completing right now to maintain business as well as protect their staff, tenants, and potential tenants.
- Virtual Tours: Virtual tours are becoming increasingly popular, not only in the wake of COVID but generally as our word becomes more virtual. Now is the best time to learn how to do great virtual tours if you haven’t already. The pandemic isn’t changing the fact that people need a place to live. Therefore, the need for touring is still there, but it needs to be safe and efficient. Types of virtual tours:
- Live Video Tours: The use of FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype allows a prospect to see the unit in real-time and ask questions without putting themselves or your staff at risk. Pre-recorded tours and 3D tours allow for recordings of units to be done ahead of time and are ready to send to prospects immediately.
- No Contact Tours: no contact tours are another conscientious, efficient, and safe option right now in our industry. In this case, the unit will be unlocked by an agent as prospects do a self-guided tour around the home. This option is best for those ready to make a rental decision soon and would prefer to see the unit in-person. A staff member is still needed to unlock the door and stay close by for safety reasons. The unit will need to be sanitized before and after tours for the safety of everyone as well.
- Zoom Inspections: Using Zoom, Skype, or another virtual video chat service is preferable right now for doing routine property inspections. Have a procedure in place to do these virtually! It may be beneficial to keep this going even after the pandemic ends.
- Clean and Disinfect: Cleaning and keeping vacant units and common areas clean is more important than ever. In multi-family buildings, maintain common areas closed and double up on cleaning schedules. Even in single units, up the cleaning schedule and disinfect commonly touched areas like counters, doorknobs, and mailboxes.
- Flexible and Remote Work: Flexible and remote work environments are essential right now for the safety of your employees. It might be difficult in the property management industry to do this, but it’s possible! Allow leasing agents to do follow-ups from their home office and only perform non-contact tours. Also, property managers can do inspections and process applications from home/virtually. Minimize the need for your staff to go into an office or interact in person with prospects, tenants, and other staff members. How you treat employees during this pandemic says a lot about your company and impacts employee retention.
- Rent Collection: The pandemic is no reason to stop collecting rent. Don’t accept rent via cash or check as this increases the risk to both tenants and employees. Make online payment options available for tenants via ACH or credit/debit cards. Of course, right now, some tenants are unemployed and won’t be able to make rent. Your job is to provide them with resources to pay rent and keep them informed of their options. Evictions are not allowed, but tenants need to understand that they will have to pay any unpaid balances, so if they can pay rent even just partially, they should. As a property manager, you should be available and flexible during this time but also firm on collecting rent and how non-payment and strikes will impact them.
- Electronic Contracts and Applications: If your property management company doesn’t already use digital contracts like DocuSign or Panda Doc, now is the time to do so. Electronic options allow tenants to sign applications and leases from anywhere. This convenience is imperative right now due to the pandemic. Still, it will set your company apart going forward and allow prospective tenants to move from a distance and sign needed documents quickly.
Are you a landlord trying to navigate the new normal brought about by COVID-19? It may be time to look for a property manager! Bay Property Management Management Group Howard County offers full-service property management with cutting edge technology to manage your property during the pandemic effectively.