Managing Your Portfolio from Afar — Part 2
Your responsibility for maintaining your properties up to the legal standards established by each state (for a full list of habitability statutes and laws by state click here) has been made more difficult due to social distancing and the guidelines set out by the CDC. As we discussed last week you should communicate with your tenants about how you are preventing the spread of the virus within your properties and share updates and best practices for maintaining the safest and healthiest environment possible during these difficult times. This includes updating them on your revised maintenance policies that should be geared towards maximizing the safety of your residents, maintenance staff and contractors in the short to medium term.
Best Practices for Property Maintenance During COVID-19
In light of social distancing and the CDC’s guidelines you may need to alter how you prioritize maintenance requests and how/when you should allow your maintenance team or vendors enter a tenant’s residence. We suggest that you consider the following while adjusting your company’s policies and procedures in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:
Prioritize Maintenance Requests
To ensure the safety of your employees, vendors and tenants you should only perform maintenance that is critical for the safety of the property. Suspending routine and nonessential maintenance activity will reduce the opportunity for infection and help ensure the health and safety of all parties.
Identifying Essential vs. Nonessential Repairs
Essential repairs are repairs that are critical to the safety and habitability of the property. For example, a leak that could lead to unsafe living conditions or extensive/expensive damage to the property is essential, while a dripping faucet is not.
Maintaining Best Practices for Social Distancing and Safety During Repairs
At every site where maintenance needs to be performed the personnel working on the site and the tenants should maintain appropriate social distance per the CDC’s guidelines. Work orders should be scheduled in advance with the tenant, and during service the tenant should stay in another room while your maintenance team or contractor is working.
You should also do everything in your power to provide appropriate protective gear for your maintenance team. While there are massive supply shortages everywhere on personal protective equipment (PPE), we were able to find a couple of sources for protective masks that can be shipped directly to you in manageable quantities. Please check out Elevate Medical for KN95 or Surgical Masks: https://elevatemedsupply.com/collections/all
For every mask Elevate sells, they donate a mask to doctors working through the crisis.
For smaller quantity orders of protective masks, you can order from https://givingmasks.com/shop/.
Using Online Maintenance Requests
The safest and easiest way to collect and review work orders is by offering your residents a way to submit maintenance requests online. Generally speaking, online work order management systems give your tenants a convenient, easy way to communicate maintenance issues, upload photos of the problem, and stay updated on the status of the repair over time.
In Revela, tenants are able to request maintenance through their tenant portals, upload photos of the issue, submit their availability for granting access to the maintenance technician or vendor, and receive a survey to rate their experience after.
For property managers, Revela’s work order management system allows you to:
- Schedule work orders for their maintenance team
- Assign vendors to work orders
- Directly text/email tenants, vendors, team members and owners
- Upload photos and closing notes through Revela’s mobile app
During these difficult, challenging times it is absolutely critical to ensure that you have a plan in place before a major maintenance issue is to be addressed. A comprehensive understanding of the CDCs guidelines and proper planning in conjunction with strong, consistent communication will allow you and your team to maintain your properties while simultaneously creating a safe and healthy environment for everyone, To learn more about how we can help set your property management company up for success during this challenging time, please feel free to reach out here.