Property upkeep and repairs is an ongoing process for property managers and landlords. All residential and commercial properties need to be checked regularly to find out if any repairs or maintenance are required.
The year 2020 has been a tough one so far globally. Covid-19 has hit us hard. Most of the world is in a lockdown / sheltering in place. The businesses and economies are suffering all across the globe. Managing your investment properties has also become difficult during this time. With everyone is sheltering in place and maintaining social distancing, it's hard to do a regular inspection of the property. While some repairs may be urgent, others can wait. While we do not know for sure how long this 'wait' is going to last given the uncertainty of the virus, we have to prioritize safety.
In the middle of this chaotic situation, you still need to keep your properties well-maintained and functional. Whether it is a residential property or a commercial one, property upkeep is a must for all kinds of real estate. Realizing this, the governments of various countries have also allowed the workers like electricians, handymen and plumbers to continue their services, provided they comply with the safety measures.
If you are wondering how you can get the required repair projects done, the following are a few handy tips for you to consider.
Avoid regular property inspection##
Under normal conditions, it's good to inspect your property once or twice a year. However, during the pandemic, HomeKasa recommends holding this off. While inspection is important, it is not urgent. Inspection allows you to identify issues and do preventive maintenance. However, the health and safety of everyone involved is a higher priority.
Analyze the criticality##
The first thing you need to analyze is how critical is this repair? Is it essential to break the shelter in place protocol? If it is something that can be delayed then hold off. Make sure you put safety first for the tenants, service person, and you unless it is an extreme emergency. For example, fixing a dripping faucet can wait while a burst pipe cannot. Likewise, fire needs to be addressed right away - stop reading and take care of that first. It is a landlord's responsibility to provide a habitable house.
Consider doing it yourself first##
Minor repairs can be done yourself. Try taking care of such things yourself as much as possible, even if it's a temporary fix. YouTube is a great source for how-to tutorials.
Go for temporary hacks##
Temporary hacks must also be given a chance until the pandemic lasts. Encourage your renters to look for a temporary solution, where possible. For example, if the ceiling light is not functional, a table or floor lamp can get the job done. Consider the alternates or the hacks to avoid calling external help until shelter in place is lifted.
Avail virtual services where possible##
With many people working from home currently, these service providers may also be of help without having to come to your location physically. Call your repair person and ask them to guide you via audio / video. A minor repair can be addressed with guidance from a professional. You may even learn a few tips to make you more handy!
These are easier under the current circumstances. For example, fixing a damaged roof usually doesn't require the roofer to enter your house. This maintains safe distance between the tenants and roofer.
Ensure Safety Procedures when you call an expert##
Emergency happens! When all of the above is not possible, and you really need to send an expert for repair work at your property, make sure you ask the renters to follow all reasonable safety measures.
- Wear masks during the service call
- Request the essential services personnel to wear a mask, shoe covers, and gloves. Some may even have personal protective equipment
- Sanitize the units that need to be repaired, for the safety of the repairmen / women
- Wash and sanitize your hands frequently during the visit
- Ask the person if they have Covid-19 or if they have a cough, cold, or fever. If you observe any symptoms, do not let the person inside.
- Practice extra safety. While the worker may be busy addressing the problem, don't let your children near the tools.
- If you are calling for help at your home, make sure that the elderly or any immune-compromised individuals do not come into contact with them, as they are most vulnerable. The middle-aged people, from ages 18 to 40, are considered to have strong immunity and are suitable for such unavoidable social interactions. Even in doing so, make sure anyone who interacts also does not have any symptoms.
- Families, where you have patients with cough, flu, respiratory issues like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, or chronic illnesses like hepatitis or cancer, must be extra cautious. Such patients have low immunity against viral infection.
Do not forget to check your local regulations and laws##
All countries are coming up with their own operating procedures and safety measures to be followed during Covid-19. Make sure you know these regulations and guidelines so that you do not violate the guidelines to contain the current pandemic.
The definition of the “new normal” is changing; everything needs to be adapted until the pandemic lasts. However, safety is always better than cure. Adapt your practices where necessary, and together we shall get through this tough phase very soon.
HomeKasa offers the best property management software, including a free move-in move-out checklist, managing communications between the tenant and the landlord, etc. Get started now.