Our new ‘normal’ has changed everything for landlords and property management during COVID-19. With regulations surrounding essential maintenance, services and showings differing between regions, it’s no wonder there is confusion over what you can and can’t do regarding property management.
As a landlord, you no doubt have questions like how can you access the property if your tenant is shielding? What if a tenant won’t grant you access to carry out a repair? Are you at risk of a potential lawsuit if one of your tenants coincidentally got ill?
Our Property Management expert Elizabeth Adams has compiled some practical tips to help answer these questions and ensure that you safely and legally meet your maintenance responsibilities.
- Safety is and should always be your number one priority.
Staying safe should be everyone’s priority during this pandemic. Work together with your tenant whilst maintaining social distance and wearing a mask when meeting inside. Communication is key so let your tenants and any staff know the safety precautions you are taking.
- Emergency repairs and maintenance must still be carried out.
All major works, like dangerous structural issues or a leaking roof, must be completed. Whilst all non-essential work should be postponed to minimise the risk to all, maintenance of equipment and systems are also critical. These might include boilers, lifts, fire systems and water supplies. Where possible do not attend with your tradesperson to reduce the number of separate households
- Move what you can online.
At the time of writing, marketing and arranging a property letting whilst ensuring social distancing is possible. Tradesmen are also able to enter the property and carry out work. But why not minimise the risk for all and move things online? Video calls such as FaceTime can be a great way to help your tenants carry out simple repairs themselves. Why not replace a face-to-face viewing with a virtual tour? With technology more powerful than ever, many processes like applications, payments and renewals can also be handled online. An added bonus is that it may well be more cost-effective.
- Open your portfolio to a wider audience.
With falling demand it is time to consider how to stay competitive so it doesn’t hurt to review your current rental preferences. After all, an empty property isn’t earning you any income. Here are two options to help you fill vacancies as soon as possible:
- Reduce your minimum stay policy – accept tenants for a shorter rental period
- Adapt your tenant preferences – extend your criteria on age range, gender and working status
- Keep calm and carry on!
You’re doing a great job! If you keep up clear communication chains with your tenants and they know you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe then you will have mutual trust. Utilise your resources and technology to continue operating during these uncertain times. We don’t know how long the pandemic will last so working together and planning for the long-term will ensure services run smoothly for all parties.
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed during these challenging times. If you need further advice on how to handle specific or general issues regarding Property Management then please contact Elizabeth Adams – firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 706 11100.