We are living in unprecedented times. The coronavirus has seeped into nearly every aspect of our working and social lives; social distancing has become a watchword for American society. To protect ourselves, we’ve shut down our offices, closed down restaurants and limited our ventures outside to masked trips to the grocery store or local pharmacy. Millions of people have receded into the safety of their homes to wait out the crisis — and, in the process, posed an entirely new challenge to the landlords who are charged with maintaining a safe home environment for their renters.
Managing property is no easy feat during ordinary times, much less during a global pandemic. Property owners are responsible for a near-endless task list, from making sure that their rental units are livable and safe to juggling the taxes, utilities and maintenance of the building itself. In a pandemic, providing a haven for renters becomes critical not only for tenant health, but also for the well-being of the community at large — especially in places with dense populations.
Take my home city of New York as an example. In recent weeks, NYC has emerged as the epicenter of the pandemic; its infection rates have outstripped those in established hotspots like Wuhan and Italy. As of May 3, the city had experienced over 168,800 reported cases and over 42,900 hospitalizations. “These are just incredible numbers, depicting incredible loss and pain,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo in a daily news briefing.
Now, the only solace that many New Yorkers have is the security and comfort of their homes. As property managers and landlords, we need to step up and ensure that we do all that we can to maintain that sense of home during these uncertain times. Here are a few steps that all property managers can take to protect and support their tenants through this crisis.
Be Proactive About Sanitization
First, it’s essential to understand how this virus spreads. According to information published by the CDC, the virus transmits via respiratory droplets that an infected person spreads when they sneeze, cough or talk. People may also contract the infection by touching a shared surface or object that has been contaminated and conveying those germs to their mouth, nose or eyes.