How to Handle Maintenance During COVID-19

What is your maintenance plan during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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The current novel coronavirus outbreak poses a major challenge for landlords. Possible financial implications aside, you must still figure out how to handle both emergency and routine upkeep needs in your properties.

While being responsive to maintenance requests is imperative, it's also crucial to keep your tenants safe. Means of responding to your renters' requests have changed in these uncertain times.

As a landlord, you must always take the appropriate safety precautions. Only by following the current COVID-19 guidelines is it possible to counter the spread of this virus.

Now, we will list practical suggestions for conducting maintenance in your rental units during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest guidelines and issuances, check the CDC's official site.

Execute a First-Rate Communication Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic calls for a top-quality communication plan between you and your tenants. You can achieve ongoing excellence in communication by being transparent, responsive and supportive in difficult times.

Start your communication practice by contacting your tenants and telling them that you will be there in case of any problems or emergencies. Let them know that you are committed to delivering safe repair and maintenance services. Communication can also help from your tenants causing any damage themselves.

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Sharing is caring when it comes to delivering useful information about the pandemic. However, always make sure that you share videos and articles from reliable sources. These reputable websites include home pages of the CDC and your state or city health authorities.

Being vigilant about checking your sources is important because a lot of hearsay and misinformation currently circle the internet. Some of these stories are written and shared for financial gain.

Make it known that your tenants can expect emergency responses at any point in the future. These kinds of critical events include fires, flooding and any situations that pose a hazard to property and human lives.

Inform your renters that you will provide swift responses to their messages, phone calls and emails. This commitment won't go unnoticed during this complicated period.

Own Enough Supplies for Urgent Needs

More disinfectants, masks and safety gloves are being sold every day. You should secure a solid stock of essential supplies to ensure that you can continue servicing your rental properties. Otherwise, you risk temporarily running out of products and gear.

At the same time, be mindful of how many supplies you are buying. Avoid hoarding and having excess quantities as part of a one-time purchase. There are other people who need these supplies as much as you do.

Hand sanitizers. Disinfectant liquids and gels are COVID-19 staple supplies. While handwashing is your top priority, it's highly likely that some of your maintenance requests may involve the lack of running water. Under these scenarios, the use of disinfectants is your only way to stay safe.

Safety gloves. Another essential is a box of safety gloves. Just in case, have an extra pack of gloves at your disposal. You'll need to frequently change into new ones.

Masks. The CDC's new guidelines state that people should wear cloth face coverings. Note that these coverings won't protect you from the virus.

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Instead, they could help prevent the spread COVID-19 if you are a silent carrier. Medical face masks are meant for healthcare workers or first responders, though. Leave these supplies for professional use.

Take All the Basic Safety Precautions

You need to change your maintenance and repair procedures to minimize the risks involved. Your properties are still required to be safe for your tenants regardless, otherwise they have the right to break their lease. As a rental property owner, you must do your part in stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Be aware of the current standards of public health and safety. There are highly practical ways you can curtail the hazards of servicing your rental units by following strict safety protocols:

  • Disinfection. Cleanliness should always go hand in hand with managing your rental properties. Nowadays, you have to take extra caution to completely disinfect and clean your work areas. Note that it's easy to miss certain areas like doorknobs, touchscreens and keyboards.

  • Hand washing. Observe a protocol of routine hand washing, which mandatorily includes using warm water and soap. Wash your hands every time for at least 20 seconds. Anything less than that and you could be putting yourself and others in danger of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

  • Gloves. Here is an easy and practicable rule. Put on a new pair of gloves before beginning each new task and entering a new rental unit. Counter the cross-contamination risk through correct donning and doffing of your personal protective equipment (PPE).

Keep in Mind the Unique COVID-19 Considerations

Now is the time for making rational decisions and considering the unique circumstances of a major pandemic. When you conduct upkeep duties, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of showing up physically to your tenant's home.

There are always practical measures that you can adopt to make you and your renters' lives safer:

  • Essential or non-essential. Ask yourself if you really have to take on a particular assignment. Some maintenance duties could be considered non-essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can always finish these tasks later on.

  • Children. You can't expect a quiet home anymore when delivering daytime maintenance. Many children are also required to stay inside. Corrosive cleaning agents, power tools and other equipment or supplies have to be kept away from children's sight.

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  • Social distancing. Physically entering your tenant's home isn't always required. Some procedures can just be talked through with the tenant on the phone. Just make sure to explain the benefits of choosing social distancing approach beforehand.

  • Remote working. The number of people working from home has shot upwards. Respect your tenants' needs for peace and quiet during their working hours. Minimize noise levels and your time spent in the rental unit.

Reassess Your Self-Management Situation

Self-managing your rental properties is a real challenge. The stakes are higher during the COVID-19 pandemic. You must be able to balance your tenants' needs, safety and quality of life.

Consider hiring a professional property management company to help you during these difficult times. Partnering with an established firm helps your rental properties to get the best possible care.

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