In this time of crisis, it is important for all property managers to act quickly in efforts to keep employees and tenants safe.
The health and safety of employees, tenants, contractors, and clients must be the top priority for property managers during a health crisis like COVID-19. It is critical to protect those around your properties and to take every single step in your power to reduce the risk for all.
While many factors are still unknown, it is important to use the information currently available to make educated and informed decisions, while at the same time, taking immediate action to develop a detailed action plan with regard to the protection of those in danger.
To start, there are many aspects of your business that will be impacted by this crisis. If you are just starting to develop an action plan, you might consider some, if not all, of the following issues:
- Corporate work from home policies
- Closing common areas and building amenities
- Cleaning procedures for entryways
- Virtual tours (absolutely zero in-person tours)
- Only the most essential maintenance requests from tenants
- Rent relief for service-industry workers
- Impact on leasing goals
- Educational materials for employees and tenants
- Daily communication with tenants and staff
- Supply chain interruptions
- Insurance policy review for business interruption
- Plans for senior citizen tenants and tenants with disabilities
We are at the very beginning stages of the COVID-19 outbreak and it is integral to the containment of this virus that property managers do their part to mitigate the spread.
The points above will provide you with a starting point of things to consider when planning for the foreseeable future. But, in general, remember that there are some immediate steps you can take help keep your tenants and staff safe, informed and calm during these trying times.
We urge you to consider reviewing the following quick tips, recommendations, and resources.
Tip #1: Communicate … and then communicate more
Work with your leadership team to develop a communications plan for tenants and employees, which includes educational materials on how to identify symptoms and best practices to mitigate spread. Work to send daily emails and updates based on factual data from reliable and credible sources.
Employees are already going to be feeling stressed and anxious, so the goal here is not to create panic or hysteria, but instead to educate and provide safety guidelines for all parties involved.
Recommended resource: These materials can be found on the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID19-symptoms.pdf
Tip #2: Encourage proper hygiene and cleaning practices
Protecting your tenants and staff from COVID-19 is important to your business, the safety of humans worldwide and it cannot be taken lightly. An increased focus on hygiene and cleaning practices in common areas is the best place to start while encouraging improved practices for all tenants.
Recommended Resource: These materials can be found on the MIT Medical website here: https://medical.mit.edu/three-ways-to-protect
Tip #3: Gather up-to-date information from health officials
We are all gathering the most reliable information possible during these times. That said, it’s important to know where you can find information, updated daily, to take the most preventative measures possible, as recommended by experts. We recommend a full understanding of the CDC guidelines on preparing your home or community for all potential situations that may occur.
Recommended Resource: These materials can be found on the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/get-your-household-ready-for-COVID-19.html
COVID-19 Property Management Resource Center
For more information on all aspects of COVID-19, please visit the resources below.
- COVID-19 Situation Summary (via CDC)
- Prevention and Treatment (via CDC)
- Tenant and Staff Communication Resource (via CDC)
- Immediate Steps for Businesses During COVID-19 (via U.S. Chamber)
- Disinfection Guidance for Residential Buildings (via NYC.gov)
- How to Continue Operating Your Apartment Community (via Sprout Marketing)
- National Apartment Association Guidance (via Forbes)
- NAA Coronavirus Webinar Recording (via IREM)
- Action for Property Managers (via GlobeSt)
- National Multifamily Housing Council Listserve Sign Up (via NMHC)
- NMHC & Pinnacle Webinar on COVID-19 (via Connect Media)
- NMHC Incident Response Plan for COVID-19 (via NMHC)
Remember, it is important to maintain calmness and refrain from panic during times of crisis.
Property managers are at the forefront of dealing with these ongoing issues on behalf of clients, staff, and tenants and need to be well versed in the communication of credible details and information.
We are all in this together — let’s do our part.