Like so many businesses, we’ve been on a roller coaster ride. COVID-19 provides many challenges in our industry because there is no “one answer” across states. Right now, varying rules and, yes, even counties within states are at different stages of reopening. We also hear that there will be more phases in the future. That means that while a county may be open, there will still be restrictions that apply.
Short term rentals of all (or part) of a residential property to a person who is not a permanent resident is still prohibited in many cases, but the opening up has begun.
To complicate it further, even areas that remain closed allow short term rentals to hospital employees or other licensed healthcare professionals, military personnel, law enforcement personnel, government employees, or county residents who need a place to self-quarantine away from their family or roommates. Renters currently occupying short term rental properties shall be permitted to complete the current rental contract but are required to follow new requirements.
Right now, it’s difficult for property managers who allow short term rentals to manage it all. Not only is it confusing, but it changes weekly.
Here are just a few of the latest issues that owners and property managers are dealing with as we re-open:
– Owners of short term rentals will comply with certain cleaning and other safety requirements, even in the “go” phases of re-opening.
– Orders may change weekly. Owners will be expected to pivot their rentals quickly (back to previous phases).
– Some owners are being encouraged to provide screenings of temperature and recent travel, just like other hospitality businesses. This screening makes it difficult for someone who may have traveled hours to get to your rental. If there is an elevated temperature in the group, how do you react?
– Tracing. Owners must be able to deal with tracing issues that may happen if and when they have a renter that comes down with COVID 19. That means they must have a strong understanding of what exposure means to all others in the same building.
– Special offers. Super hosts who offer unique items like coffees, foods, or other experiences MUST comply with the same requirements as more extensive hospitality facilities. This compliance means removing items that may be shared and using plastics and other things wrapped in plastic.
– In many cases, events or gatherings are wholly prohibited. Hosts must remain aware of why and how their space is being used.
– There may be a 24-hour gap requirement between rentals in many locations.
In some Florida counties, while short term vacation rentals are open, they are facing challenges with enforcing occupancy caps, adhering to social distancing standards during daily cleaning, normal host and guest exchanges, and requiring staggered arrival times.
While property managers will still need to be aware of their county and state requirements, as it pertains to the list above and more, enforcing these new or expanded regulations can be difficult. We suspect that for properties that allow short term rentals, their need for assistance is more significant than ever. We believe part of the solution is knowing who is renting quickly so that you can monitor their adherence to policies regularly. Knowledge and communication will be the answer.
So how are we supporting this as an organization? From the start, our daily reports allow you to see who and what you may need to be addressing. Within 24 hours of a new listing, you will receive a simple email report designed to give you the information needed to confront the issue. Every week, we will email you a weekly summary of all the activities from around your property. This information can give you the edge necessary to help short term rental management on your property. Best of all, everything can be managed from your inbox, whether managing one property or a whole portfolio. And with our latest feature, we provide the ability to track active permits/licenses and hosts. Let’s look at a relevant example; if you have someone that would like to offer their space to one of the above-referenced exceptions (healthcare worker, military personnel), we can capture the data and ensure the host is obeying their county orders. We can provide notifications to you, the manager, upon expiration, or if there are any changes to the orders.
While we can’t promise that property managers’ jobs will go back to normal, we can guarantee that the right technology is one of the easiest ways to manage the new normal. We believe that the industry has changed permanently. And we continue to innovate, and pivot, to make your jobs easier.