While the pandemic has turned all of our lives upside-down, property management teams need to get ahead of each new twist before it happens. Impossible? We know, but that doesn’t stop us from helping our residents as best we can.
Whether their struggles are physical, financial, or emotional, property management teams need to step up to support their residents. Apartment communities are their home, their safe haven, and sanctuary away from the world. Here, they should feel safe and happy. Property management teams are integral to making this possible.
We’ve had to adjust some of our management strategies during the pandemic, but we’d love to share a few ways we’ve made it work.
‘Safe Spaces’ have always seemed like more of an idea rather than a definitive thing, but with the pandemic looming over us, we’ve taken this phrase literally. What does that mean? Cleaning, rules, and masks. We increased our cleaning regiments and expanded our focus, sanitizing everything from floors to doorknobs. Speaking of sanitizing, we provided hand sanitizer stations throughout buildings to give residents peace of mind every step up to their apartments.
Rules? We’ve got’em. We operate in several states with differing levels of restrictions and, in doing so, chose to be more restrictive even when face masks and social distancing protocols were not necessarily mandated by the government. Whether enforced city-wide or just in our building, we require masks to be worn at all times in all common areas. You’ll find social distancing stickers on the floors and strict limits for the elevators, reminding residents to keep a safe distance from their neighbors.
We cancelled non-essential maintenance, but when work needs to be done, our team is ready. Our staff enters apartments with an abundance of precautionary measures, including face masks, gloves, shoe coverings, and a plethora of cleaning supplies.
We’ve tightened restrictions for potential new prospects as well. We only offer in-person tours of occupied apartments if the current resident agrees and is not present. In addition, we’ve offered new tour options including virtual tours, videos, and tours of similar vacant apartments.
For many, the pandemic cancelled more than just social events. With most businesses struggling, job loss has been a hard reality for far too many people. Financial insecurity is a devastating battle that can quickly spiral out of control. We believe that working with residents is essential to help them get back on their feet. At the start of the pandemic, we offered residents a temporary rent decrease when they paid on-time.
As the pandemic continued, we created individualized plans to help struggling residents stay in their homes. We offered these services before it was required by the CARES Act and chose to work with our residents rather than evict them for a situation that is out of both of our control.
We worked with residents to create payment plans for their unique situation without negatively impacting their credit history. These payment plans ease the pressure of paying large bills, allowing residents to also settle other important debts and purchase groceries, without fearing additional late fees for overdue rent or being evicted from their home.
Working from home, social distancing, and the uncertainty surrounding just about everything has affected us all, both mentally and emotionally. As a home-base for our residents, we genuinely care about their well-being. Periodical check-ins with residents and open-communication of property updates can foster a greater sense of community. Providing resources for neighborhood therapists, local food drives, and other helpful resources shows residents that we care.
To accommodate for our residents spending more time at home, we increased services available to our buildings to make their lives more manageable. Residents took advantage of our community portal, asking our property teams and their neighbors when they needed additional assistance. Whether it was picking up packages, getting groceries, or finding cleaning supplies while under quarantine, our community stepped up to help one another.
Everything we did and continue to do has been to keep our residents happy, healthy, and in their homes. It was an obvious answer and an easy choice for us to make.
Check out a few ways we were also able to transform our resident events virtually and increase resident retention during the pandemic.