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Property Maintenance with COVID-19

Managing properties and responding to tenant concerns is a challenge year-round. The current challenges of working and living in a rental environment posed by Coronavirus present a need for a new focus. It's essential to keep tenants and staff safe and avoid spreading the COVID-19 during the pandemic.

To that end, many apartment communities and landlords are revising their method of operations and responding to maintenance needs. Here are some recommendations for managing existing rental units in the age of Coronavirus: 

  1. Many managers have closed pools, gyms, business centers, and other common areas to minimize exposure risk, and promote healthy social distancing. In addition, sanitizing procedures are in place for cleaning common areas, including wiping down surfaces and doorknobs with a sanitizing solution. The EPA maintains a list of products that are effective against SARS-COV-2, the novel virus which causes COVID-19. You can find these on the EPA website:
  2. Ensure that workers are properly equipped with hand sanitizer, cleaners, gloves, and eye protection.
  3. It's important to communicate new procedures to tenants, such as six feet social distancing, and how inspections and service will be conducted. For services inside a unit while the tenant is present, it's advisable to have the tenant leave the unit or go to a separate room from where the work is being performed.
  4. If possible, work on the unit 3 hours after tenant leaves. If not possible, ventilate the area, and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet at all times.
  5. Wear an N95 mask if available and eye protection while in the tenant unit. If an N95 mask is not available provide workers with an alternative such as a high quality dust mask for construction use.
  6. Do not touch the tenant. No handshaking or elbow bumping.
  7. Thoroughly wash hands before and after leaving the unit.
  8. If water is not available for hand washing, use gloves and hand sanitizer. If there is no hand sanitizer, use an alcohol spray. When finished, remove gloves safely;
  9. If you are doing extensive maintenance in a unit, provide multiple sets of protective gear, especially gloves. Workers will need to wash hands before and after the job, or when removing gloves for any purpose, such as before and after a break or eating. Make sure that you have proper disposal available for gloves.
  10. If a tenant is ill and you must provide heat, ship a space heater. If you must enter the unit, wear gloves, a mask, eye protection and a Tyvek suit. When the work is completed, all items that are to be used again must be sanitized using a no less than 70% alcohol solution.

Safety procedures are essential at this time, for the protection of residents and workers. Ensure that tenants have information about social distancing, what to do if they are sick, and how to keep from spreading the virus.

By Janet Hill

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