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Rental Move Out Inspections During a Pandemic

A move out inspection and cleaning is a routine part of rental property maintenance. But while COVID-19 is an active threat, nothing is routine! It’s essential to have a plan in place for move out inspections and unit cleaning that keeps everyone safe and healthy.

Many property managers conduct their move out inspections without the tenant being present. With Coronavirus, this is especially beneficial. The fewer people present, the better. If the tenant is present for any part of the inspection, do not touch the tenant, shake hands, bump elbows, and maintain a distance of six feet. It is preferable that the inspection not occur with the tenant present.

It’s best to wait to begin the inspection at least three hours after the tenant has left. Wear gloves and wash your hands before entering the unit, and when you leave.

For cleaning the unit, wait until three days after the tenant has vacated. Ventilate the space 24 hours before cleaning begins. When you clean, wear protective gear – gloves, eye protection, mask. Be sure to wash your hands before and after.

The CDC has a list of best practices for cleaning. The best way to proceed is to wash surfaces with soap and water, and disinfect with an EPA registered household disinfectant. Diluted household bleach can be used for some surfaces, or a solution of 70% alcohol. The most important areas to disinfect are high touch areas – doorknobs, light switches, countertops, faucets, handles, and of course, areas that routinely need disinfecting such as toilets, sinks, showers and bathtubs.

If the tenant moving out was sick, you may need additional follow up. If they have not been in the unit for 7 days, no additional action is necessary. Use extreme caution when cleaning a unit that was previously inhabited by a tenant who was ill. Coronavirus is not the only hazard.

Always make sure that disposable gloves, masks, and protective clothing are available and used for everything in the cleaning including the disposal of trash. Protection of workers is essential. Make sure that workers dispose of gloves and protective gear properly.

With proper planning, procedures, and supplies, property managers can ensure that workers and residents are safe while the SARS-COV-2 virus is still active.

By Janet Hill

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