The coronavirus global pandemic caught everyone off guard at the start of the year. Its rate of infection continues to increase, triggering everyone’s anxiety. As a landlord, one of your responsibilities is ensuring your tenants’ safety. This is shown by helping to curb the community spread in your property, especially if you own a multi-family building or manage several tenants.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can be easily contracted through close encounters with someone who is infected. It requires people to practice social distancing to discourage further infection. The virus is also known to remain active on surfaces for hours or days, such as handrails and door handles.
Here are some precautionary steps you can take to protect yourself and your tenants:
Pay Attention to Official Sources of Information
As the coronavirus research and development of its vaccine continues each day, it’s essential to arm yourself with the right information. As a landlord, your tenants expect you to share important information with them.
You can post guidelines or send vital information to your tenants via email, flyers or notices. It’s good to remind them to always practice good hygiene.
Some examples of useful information that tenants must follow for self-protection are:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use alcohol and hand sanitizers containing 60% and above alcohol. It’s important to sanitize after touching common surfaces like doorknobs and hand railings.
- Wear a mask to protect yourself from droplets when a person sneezes or coughs.
- Stay at home when you’re sick to avoid infecting others.
- Refrain from touching your face with your hands.
- Disinfect your surroundings. This includes frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- If you feel the onset of flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough and fatigue, call a doctor. Inform them of your symptoms to be properly guided on what to do.
As a landlord, make it a point to obtain key information from valid sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can also check the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website to remain constantly updated.
Information must remain factual to avoid misinformation. There are plenty of myths and misleading news which spread across various sites and media. You must only disseminate information from high quality sources.
Tenants want to be reassured in these uncertain times. As a landlord, it’s vital that you openly communicate with them. Every landlord must have a communication plan.
If there’s a virus outbreak in your building, how will you release the information and reduce the stigma of an infected tenant? It is just one of the many questions you need to address and prepare for in advance. Most importantly, you must also have a ready set of resolutions to further avoid a heightened state of anxiety for your tenants.
Here are some things you can share with your tenants that they’ll appreciate:
- Inform them that you’re aware of the contagious virus and initiating precautionary steps. You must tell them what steps you’re taking, such as cleaning and disinfecting common areas, handrails and providing alcohol near entrances of a multi-family building.
- As mentioned earlier, you must offer factual information and resources on how tenants can protect themselves from being infected with COVID-19.
- Reassure tenants that you’re monitoring the situation closely and will further report updates and developments that will affect the property and the laws associated with their tenancy.
- Explain to tenants that some facilities in the building are closed to ensure minimal close encounters. If there are proposed events in common areas, explain the need to cancel or postpone for the time being to mitigate the risk of a virus contagion.
Communication must be done regularly and inquiries from tenants must be promptly addressed. Your job as a landlord is to manage the flow of information and release them in a timely manner.
Establish Hygiene Protocols
It’s essential to practice disinfecting common areas to eliminate the spread of the virus. COVID-19 has a different effect on each person. Some can show asymptomatic signs and still carry the virus.
Thus, regular cleaning of the premises should be performed. This is particularly important when there’s a tenant undergoing self-quarantine who has recently traveled or come in contact with an infected person. You can also install hand sanitizer dispensers in multi-family property entrances, so your tenants are protected and hygiene is guaranteed.
Review Leases and Legal Obligations
It’s important to be prepared when it comes to breach of contracts. If there’s construction or renovation that’s ongoing, a delay might be incurred in the delivery of raw materials. It’s important to remain updated with your legal obligations and adhere to the law, even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
Always ensure you’re following building safety and health codes. As a landlord, you must also review your insurance coverage to prepare for emergencies.
Keep Reviewing and Adapting Plans
As a landlord, you’re expected to provide guidance and to remain on top of the situation. It’s best to be prepared and develop contingency plans as the infection widens in scope. You are also expected to monitor your tenants, ensure their safety and exercise caution when it comes to admitting visitors in the property.
Further, it’s also important that you protect your building staff, if you have any. As a landlord, you must be calm, alert and able to adapt flexibly in the rapidly changing environment.
It’s a tough job to be a landlord in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. During normal times, juggling multiple tasks has kept your hands full. You may find you need extra support to manage this challenging period.
You can reach out to Doug Anderson Property Management for excellent assistance. We’re well-versed with State Laws and can protect you from legal ramifications. In the COVID-19 landscape, we have developed strict and effective protocols to ensure that tenants in your property are always protected.