Property Management In The Wake Of Coronavirus

Property managers all across the country are scrambling to deal with the evolving coronavirus outbreak, and how to protect both owners and tenants from the effects. From establishing a policy for handling rent deferral requests to tackling service requests from tenants in a way that is safe for employees to implementing new technology to handle virtual tours for prospective tenants, property managers have a great deal on their hands, and a rapidly shifting situation to constantly adapt to.

April 21, 2020

Best practice guidelines amidst the arrival of the coronavirus will need to be quickly devised and updated often as the situation changes. With that caveat in mind, how should owners and landlords deal with the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, at this stage of the outbreak?

Pay Attention To Official Sources of Information

When dealing with the coronavirus, we are dealing with so many unknowns that the data we are following is constantly changing. Only a month ago, the outbreak was barely on the radar for the industry. Now it is clearly on that radar, but the story seems to change from day to day.

Times like these call for the best information available as the situation evolves, and that information comes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as local health authorities.

These resources cover topics such as personal hygiene measures, safety precautions, statistics and also contingency planning materials. Adhering to the guidelines set forth by the CDC and local health authorities is of the utmost importance right now.

For properties with a lot of public access, such as shopping centers, it is even more important for management to share information with the public.

Communicate Openly

Just as important as keeping up with the latest reliable sources of information is informing tenants and other building users about management's response to the crisis. Landlords and property managers need to be proactive when it comes to sharing information with tenants and the public.Your tenants want to know what you are going to do, or what you might do, such as closing a common area or postponing an event. Being open goes a long way to fight fear of the unknown.

While it is important to commit to sharing more information, it is equally important that you put someone in charge of actually doing the job. Establish a team to ensure that communication is streamlined and that questions can be addressed in a timely and consistent manner, and communicate with tenants on a regular basis. Encourage your tenant population to follow the CDC guidelines within their own leased premises.

Establish Hygiene Protocols

Hygiene practices have clearly ramped up in importance in reaction to the Coronavirus. Since it in not yet clear how long the virus lives on surfaces, building managers should commit to thoroughly cleaning surfaces where people congregate, but especially in retail and restaurant settings.

Property managers should be consistent with a cleaning and disinfecting schedule within all high-traffic areas, such as shopping cart handles, restrooms, handrails, elevator buttons, door hardware and so on. If you have ordering kiosks or other technologies in the restaurant, make sure you are cleaning those regularly.

There should also be installation and maintenance of hand sanitizer dispensers at all store and building entrances. Take extra care that workers are washing their hands more regularly than usual and wearing other protective gear, like gloves and face masks. Make sure bathroom soap and paper towels are being restocked regularly.

Review Your Leases And Legal Obligations

Beyond public outreach and hygiene matters, real estate owners, landlords and contractors should consider possible legal ramifications of the outbreak. Construction and other real estate companies need to be aware of their contractual position if faced with suspension, termination or cancellation of a contract, or a force majeure event. In addition, you will want to review legal responsibility clauses for delays and cost overruns.

What happens if supply chains for building materials are disrupted by the coronavirus? In that case, a building owner might not be able to fulfill their obligations for a tenant build-out.

How Evanco Can Help You with Your Legal Form Needs

No matter the type of property you own, you can count on the experts at Evanco Realty Advisors for the very best in full-service commercial administration. We provide everything you need to minimize your ownership workload and maximize the return on investment for each of your commercial properties. We provide peace of mind to owners; implement excellent property management services that enhance value for landlords.

Call us today at (619)814-1688 to see how our commercial property management strategies can help you!

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