Property Management FAQs: How To Navigate COVID-19 As A Landlord


 by Dan Ferguson


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The last few months have been a trying time for all of us. If you own residential real estate you may be especially concerned about your tenants, your property, and how changing rules and regulations could impact you. You’re struggling to navigate this new territory and find the best solutions for yourself and your tenants.

If, as a landlord, you’re left conflicted and confused by the COVID-19 crisis, we can help. Get the answers to your frequently asked questions below.

Your Guide To Navigating COVID-19 As A Landlord

Q: How can I best communicate with my tenants during the crisis?

A: Without the ability to meet with tenants directly, you may be struggling to communicate and answer their questions promptly. However, clarity is especially important in trying times. In order to keep the lines of communication open, touch base regularly via email, and give people the opportunity to reach out via phone or by leaving a note in a drop box on site.

Q: How worried should I be about keeping my property clean?

A: Hygiene is a critical concern in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. When planning out your maintenance and cleaning efforts, prioritize preventative maintenance and services. This should include necessary maintenance, like seasonal gutter cleanings or filter changes, as well as routine cleaning for any common areas.

Q: How should I handle rent? What if a tenant can’t pay? 

A: As the COVID-19 crisis impacts the economy, both tenants and landlords are finding themselves in tough fiscal times. As stressful as this may be, when a tenant says they can’t pay rent due to financial hardship, it’s best to work with them as much as possible. Come up with a strategy to assess each case and determine what payment solution will work for everyone.

Q: Can I still give prospective residents tours?

A: It’s best to limit any unneeded contact during these times. If you have a prospective resident interested in seeing a unit, video tours and self-guided tours are both great options. It’s important to remember that everyone on the tour, even if self-guided, should follow all appropriate safety guidelines, including wearing a mask! 

Q: If a tenant is diagnosed with COVID, do I need to disclose it to other tenants? 

A: If you learn that one of your residents has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you’re encouraged not to share that information unless the health department says to. In fact, this can even bring up serious privacy issues.  The best course of action is to encourage precautions in other ways, such as emphasizing the importance of social distancing and wearing a mask.

As a landlord, you are often faced with challenging decisions that will impact both your property and your tenants. Especially in trying times, it’s important to have a library of resources that you can depend on. For more information for property owners like yourself, view our Property Management FAQs.