Whether you’re a landlord, property manager, or tenant, there’s a good chance you are being impacted in some capacity by the current viral outbreak. Here are four ways landlords can stay connected with tenants while socially distant.
It’s also important to remember that this is a period of great uncertainty and it is important to be empathetic, prepared, and take precautionary measures during this time.
Explain your plan for deferred rent
If you have a plan for how you are going to handle rent during this time, communicate that proactively with your tenants. Renters who have experienced sudden and unexpected job loss are probably very worried about how they are going to cover living expenses during this time. Be proactive and reach out to tenants letting them know what your plan is and draw up any agreements in writing. (I.e., if you and the tenant agree to a deferred payment plan, layout those terms clearly and concisely and have both yourself and the tenant sign it.)
Cancel any in-person meetings
If you have scheduled in-person meetings, be proactive in cancelling them. This is important as the CDC has encouraged social distancing recommendations. There are plenty of alternatives (see below) to follow social distancing protocols and set up online meetings or calls.
Encourage social distancing
Especially if your building or property has community spaces, encourage tenants to restrict their activities to their personal dwellings (i.e., not using communal lounges or gyms) to help mitigate the risk of people gathering and interacting. Social distancing means deliberately avoiding being near people and maintaining at least 6 feet away from other people. Encourage your tenants, neighbors, friends, and family members to practice social distancing.
Set up an electronic way of communication
If you or your tenants are used to communicating in person or face-to-face, set up methods of virtual communication instead. If you are a person who prefers “face contact”, there are plenty of video-chatting platforms, such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. Additionally, if you and your tenants have iPhones, you can Facetime as well.
Importantly, if you’re new to working from home, you can set up ways to collect rent electronically and manage your properties remotely. It will be important to stay communicative and connected to your team members and tenants as you transition to a distance-landlord. Staying home, managing rentals remotely, communicating and staying connected with tenants, and practicing social distancing are important ways to be prepared and cautious during this time.