As restrictions across the country begin to lift, shudder to a halt, and drop back down again in the face of rising case rates, we know that the novel Coronavirus is here to stay—at least for the time being. Property owners have already been facing changes as a result of COVID-19, so it comes as no surprise to most landlords in Ashburn that the "temporary" changes they made back in March and April are carrying into July. These changes to the way you run your rental business should have included updates to how you planned to address any maintenance needs the great people living in your great spaces have during the pandemic.
As an Ashburn property management professional, we made emergency changes to our maintenance policy early on to prepare the property owners and renters we serve in Northern Virginia. If you have yet to make changes of your own, there's never been a better time to begin drafting a plan to help you stay on top of upkeep for your property! Even in the middle of a pandemic, the great people living in your great spaces expect hot water and cool air. If you encounter a maintenance need or even an emergency request, you need to know how to handle it. Neglecting maintenance is one way to kill your lasting returns.
It will require some extra steps to maintain your safety, the safety of any vendors you work with, and the safety of your renters. However, with the right guidance from a seasoned property management company, you can ensure everyone’s safety and get the job done. Here are some guidelines to follow during the novel Coronavirus pandemic to manage your maintenance.
A quick note: This article is not intended as legal or medical advice. However, it can be a great introduction to steps landlords can take to safely manage maintenance. If you're facing a situation that requires legal counsel, work with a competent attorney, or get in touch with the Ashburn rental property experts at RentSimple!
Social Distancing and Maintenance Basics
First, you need to create a policy or a plan so that all of the great people renting your great spaces are on the same page. To ensure that you adhere to CDC guidelines and recommendations, there are three main areas of protection you should consider when addressing how you plan to enter someone's home or interact with them. This includes the expectations you have of your vendors if you work with professionals to handle your maintenance needs.
If you work with a skilled Ashburn property management provider, it's likely they already have protocols in place to address this. If not, it's worth asking yourself if you're working with the right property management partner.
- When working in your great spaces, be sure to keep your hands sanitized.
- You can opt to wear disposable gloves or be sure to clean your hands immediately after leaving the premises.
- If you aren’t able to use warm water and soap, hand sanitizer will work with at least the minimum alcohol content recommended by the CDC. Be sure to thoroughly work the sanitizer into your hands and get complete coverage.
- If you choose to wear gloves, be sure to dispose of them by pulling them off from the inside out to avoid contact.
- Face masks will be necessary if the tenant is home at the time you will be going over to complete the repair, just as they are in public spaces across Virginia.
- Based on some of the most recent testing data, a combination of a plastic face shield and face mask is more effective at preventing inhalation of small particles than either alone.
- Even with a face mask and face shield, you should try to maintain a safe distance from your renters of six feet or more.
- Make sure you communicate your policy and guidelines to both the people living in your great spaces and any vendors you work with.
- You can also notify your tenants about the steps you’ll take to ensure their safety during the coronavirus pandemic as part of your regular contact with them to provide peace of mind give them peace of mind.
- It makes sense when creating your policy to address different priorities among maintenance needs. This prevents confusion and the appearance of favoritism.
- Now that we’re dealing with this unprecedented situation, you can put non-emergency issues on hold for the time being. Let your renters know this is just a temporary measure to protect them and ensure that emergency requests have priority.
- Another way to ensure a higher level of safety and social distancing is to plan your maintenance scheduling around your tenants’ schedules.
- For example, you could plan to do the maintenance repair work when they are not home. When your renters leave to run an errand or even go on a walk, you can be in and out before they get back.
- If you decide to go this route, you need to make sure they agree with that since you don’t want to enter the home without their knowledge or permission.
However, keep in mind that even if you go over when the tenant is not home, you’ll still need to wash your hands or wear gloves. The risk might be low for the virus to be on surfaces, but there is still some risk.
A Property Management Partner Can Manage Maintenance, Too!
The best course of action you can take to safeguard your property and your renters is to work with a professional Ashburn property management company.
- Property managers also have a vast network of professional, licensed, and insured vendors they can call on in a crisis.
- These vendors have all the tools and PPE they need to perform safe work at their disposal, and will be up to date on social distancing guidelines, as well.
- Maintenance needs are handled effectively with property management through the simplicity and effectiveness of online portals—you'll never have to manage or schedule a repair.
The last thing any property owner needs with their great spaces is more stress! That's why RentSimple is here to show you a better way to rent. Plus, maintenance isn't the only thing we manage!
Few things cause a property owner more stress than trying to maneuver rent collection during a crisis. That's exactly why we put together a free resource to help you address that very issue. Tap into our insight now by downloading your free copy of our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook!