Protecting our guests, homeowners, and staff
As most of the nation remains on lockdown to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, businesses across our industry have had to rethink how to protect employees and customers. Property managers, in particular, are in a unique situation. Not only are we responsible for the safety of our staff, but we also play a key role in the health and safety of our residents, our property owners, and our vendors. Nationwide, property managers are grappling with maintaining social distancing while keeping essential services available for our residents and our owners. There are a number of ways we can do that, and every day more resources become available to help us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) have all published guidelines to help property managers establish social distancing protocols. Here are some of the actions we have put in place to help us do it.
Protecting Our Guests and Homeowners
So much of our business is about meeting and interacting with people. But maintaining social distancing doesn’t mean we cant provide vital services.
All Units Cleaned And Sanitized
Every surface inside the unit is cleaned and sanitized between guests. Although this takes a long time, it is absolutely necessary during these difficult times. The safety of our staff and guests are our #1 priority.
Reservation Procedures Are All Online
We use web based portals to allow all our guests to make reservations online so nothing is done in person. From ad syndication, application portals to tenant screening, everything can be done online without breaking social distancing guidelines.
Rethinking Property Showings
Even before governors and mayors restricted their residents’ movement, property managers had to rethink showings by making only vacant properties available, limiting visitors, and sanitizing between visits. Now, with social distancing guidelines still in place, we have decided to upload video online of all of our properties, both the units for rent and the homes for sale.
Transitioning Payments and Fees to a Portal
In-person payments are pretty much out of the question these days. And although experts have no evidence COVID-19 can be contracted from the mail, residents still put themselves at risk going to the post office or nearest mailbox. The best way to eliminate all risk is to move payments online. We accept all forms of payment including credit cards, debit cards, Venmo, Paypal, Zelle among others.
Knowing Residents and Keeping in Contact: Some of our residents may be at higher risk of contracting or developing complications from coronavirus. We use email, texts, or good old fashioned phone calls to check up on them from time to time. Make sure they have the resources they need.
The major challenge with owners is keeping them updated on the status of their properties and the health of their residents. Payments, work approvals, and maintenance issues have to keep moving, as well.
Moving Meetings Online
Video conferencing apps such as Zoom have allowed us to keep communication open. This allows us to meet with our property owners without putting ourselves or our owners at risk.
Frequent Updates: We keep our owners updated! We keep them informed of new regulations and developments that affect their property and also how we are responding. For more urgent updates and communications, we use text messaging.
Moving Payments and Other Transactions Online
All of our transactions are now online via wire transfer. No more checks! Allowing online payments keeps everyone from having to leave their homes to drop off or mail payments.
Safety is our #1 priority. These are the tools and tools and tactics we use to make sure our business stays open and we can meet the needs of people counting on us.
Move Non-Essential Staff Online
We are taking advantage of communication apps, such Zoom, to keep work going.
Triage Work Orders
By using a priority system, we track work orders coming in and determine which are urgent and which can wait. By doing so, we can limit contact between residents and maintenance staff, so that everyone stays healthy.
Prepare Maintenance Staff
When maintenance staff must go on-site to fix an issue, we use the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) if needed. We make sure everyone has masks and gloves as well as clothing and shoe coverings. We also provide the proper sanitizing products for equipment, as well. The CDC has provided guidelines on how to keep from contracting and spreading the virus, as well as how to sanitize frequently touched surfaces properly.
The world hasn’t seen anything like the coronavirus pandemic for decades. The situation evolves daily and so does the response of governments, businesses, and individuals. The best way to keep ourselves, our staff, our owners, and our residents safe is to stay informed, take swift action to follow government recommendations, and keep everyone updated as the situation changes.