Are you curious on how to respond to maintenance requests during the COVID-19 crisis?
Rental property owners and managers have also been affected by the current pandemic. As a landlord, you may be wondering how to handle maintenance tasks and requests in the current times. What used to be regular duties could now raise justified concerns.
Regardless of the responsibilities you are facing, proper safety measures need to be taken at all times. You have to make sure that you protect yourself and the tenants from the coronavirus.
A major concern for many landlords is dealing with maintenance requests in the middle of a pandemic. There are many questions that must be addressed during this time:
- What kind of supplies do you need?
- How do you communicate with your tenants?
- What are the safety precautions for conducting maintenance?
- Is self-managing a good option right now?
- Which other aspects need your attention during these critical times?
Now we are going to list practical suggestions for maintaining your rental properties during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information on guidelines and important updates, refer to this prevalent website section by the Government of Canada.
The Starting Point: Quality Communication
Quality communication is a pillar of great property management. Be transparent, responsive and supportive at all times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to reach out to your tenants. They want to know that essential services will still be provided and that you are ready to help in case of any issues.
Let your tenants know that you will adhere to all the safety rules. Make sure to focus on the fact that you’ll minimize the risks that come from entering their homes during the pandemic. Their health and well-being is your number one priority.
Sharing useful information with your renters is a good thing. However, always guarantee that the articles you find come from reputable sources. Unofficial websites may contain false information.
Focus only on these sources:
- Practical information and guidelines from your province or city authorities.
- Latest updates and directions from the Government of Canada and Public Health Authorities.
Your tenants may be worried about what to do in case of emergencies. Tell them that you will always respond to emergency repair and maintenance requests. The definition of a rental property emergency varies, but everyone should agree that incidents involving flooding and fires constitute an emergency.
This is also a good moment to assure your tenants that you are reachable and ready to address their concerns. Inform your renters that you will answer their emails and phone calls at your earliest convenience. They will appreciate your commitment to delivering quality communication during uncertain times.
Important Precautions for Safe Maintenance Procedures
Both routine and emergency maintenance efforts call for the use of enhanced precautions. Taking adequate measures and following the official guidelines is essential for stopping the increase in coronavirus infections.
Personal protective equipment forms the basis of you and your tenants’ safety. The principle of wearing necessary equipment should extend to anyone in your property management team. No exceptions can be made here.
- Each new task and rental property demands a fresh pair of gloves. Study the procedure of donning and doffing your personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Ensure that all staff are familiar with these protective principles. Noncompliance with this approach to changing your gloves may lead to cross-contamination.
- Clean and disinfect your work areas. There is always a risk of missing some crucial components. Mitigate these risks by paying extra attention when sanitizing surfaces and professional appliances.
- Washing hands is an essential safety measure. Use soap and warm water. Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. While it’s a simple protocol to follow, washing your hands properly makes a big difference. Remember that hand sanitizer should never be used in place of hand washing.
Supply Needs for Rental Property Maintenance
The demand for certain sanitary and safety products may outweigh the production capacity right now. Order your supplies before you discover that you have run out of any essential items. At the same time, order reasonably because everyone should have access to basic supplies, such as gloves and sanitizer gels.
- Always have an extra box of gloves at your disposal. Gloves are critical for performing your maintenance duties.
- You don’t need a mask unless you are infected, hold a justified concern about being infected or you are a caregiver. According to the governmental guidelines, you don’t need to have a mask as a non-infected person visiting your tenants to carry out maintenance.
- Some maintenance requests could be accompanied by the lack of running water. That’s why you should have enough hand sanitizer supplies to stay safe when conducting maintenance.
Other Considerations During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Solving the current crisis rests on everyone making smart and considerate decisions. Weigh the risks of entering your tenant’s home before doing routine upkeep. Take all the basic precautions when responding to an emergency repair or maintenance request.
- Consider the suspension of repairs that are not essential. Drawing the line between key repairs and fixes that can wait is up to you as a landlord and what you decided in the lease.
- There are going to be times when you won’t need to do more than talk your tenant through the necessary steps. This is a great alternative to physically entering the property. Explain to a tenant in need how this approach reduces the spread of COVID-19 and potentially saves lives.
- More people are working from home now. Be considerate about not making too much noise because the renter you are visiting may be working remotely. Let your entire team know that they should conduct fixes without disturbing the tenants.
- Daytime service requests during this pandemic are likely to involve children in the premises because many of them stay at home. That means being especially careful with power tools and supplies that should be kept out of reach and sight of children.
- People want to be kept reassured that you have their health and best interests in mind. Communicate the safety protocols that you have established in order to tackle the challenges unique to this pandemic.
Is Self-Managing Safe & Sustainable Right Now?
On a final note, consider hiring services from a reputable property management company. Self-managing involves a lot of responsibilities regardless, so the COVID-19 pandemic could become a breaking point for many landlords doing everything on their own.
Professionals are equipped with experience, skills, contacts and practical knowledge that make it easier to ensure safety and high service standards during the crisis. This option benefits both you and your tenants.
Consider an option that could provide safety for everyone involved while making your life easier as well. Working together with an established property management firm preserves the value of your rental investment and your tenants’ quality of life.