What’s Normal? Working as a Property Manager in Unprecedented Times is Not

by | May 4, 2020

Property Managers are some of our favorite people. First, they are our clients, but they are also a diverse and energetic group of people who tend to love other people. And if not, they may be in the wrong industry.

As a property manager, you are used to dealing with your tenants and residents on the usual things – rent, or HOA fees, marketing, appearances, and a large bucket of responsibilities that fall under the “other” category. In the last month – that category has expanded. Property Managers are now feeling the pressure to up their game in the maintenance and cleaning area, making sure entryways include hand sanitizers and the ability to safely distance, and requesting owners and renters are wearing masks in common areas. All this amid fielding questions about spread through vents, elevators, and other shared spaces.

Just when you thought you had a handle on some new protocols, we are beginning to open up the country. Our research shows this will start to bring on a host of new issues from dealing with visitors who may not be using proper safety protocols, to owners wanting to re-open their short term rental opportunities. Indeed, many of the short term rental marketing platforms (Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO) are itching to see this happen.

If your building(s) allow short term rentals, are you prepared?

While preparation should not be much different from standard safety procedures for your common areas, ensuring your owners comply with new processes when renting is mostly uncharted territory.

Here are some ideas to help. 

1. Host an owner’s Zoom call. This meeting will allow you to make clear your policies concerning short term rentals. Most buildings are merely following state decision making, and this is always the way to go; no one needs to get in trouble. Be specific about what will happen if you find properties being rented early or without agreement.

2. Be proactive and positive that things will return to as close to normal as possible. Your owners who have benefited from short term rentals are probably feeling the loss (of STR income). By showing them you are looking towards the future, you are helping to alleviate any anger or issues that may occur from the loss of financial stability.

3. Share your new policies even if you aren’t yet allowing short term rentals. This policy review gives owners time to prepare. If they need to make sure you examine their cleaning processes, do it now while you have the time. If they need to include new questions about travel or reasons for renting on the short term rental applications, go over it now. Be prepared to have issues pop-up.

4. Discuss who you will not allow renting in your building. Will you allow travelers from hot-zones and front-line workers to stay in your buildings? It’s essential to have these discussions now, in case we have a future flare-up of COVID-19 or a new virus.

5. Make sure everyone in the building (those owners or renters who may NOT be taking advantage of short term rental opportunities) are confident you are doing the right things to make sure they are safe in their properties.

6. If you don’t allow short term rentals, or you do so on a minimal basis, make sure you have the right short term rental compliance software. This compliance software gives you the ability to know what is going on in your building at any given time.

2018/2019 showed a new level of interest in people using platforms to rent their spaces. If you were able to monitor this manually in the past, you might not want to take on the task now. This short term rental compliance software is where we come in. We save you time on this aspect of your daily duties while you deal with all the new responsibilities that have arisen out of COVID-19.

The question isn’t really what’s normal; it’s what you will tolerate in this new normal. We know our property managers have been rising to the challenge (during COVID-19), and we tip our hats to them. Dealing with diverse people about their living conditions and safety can be a challenge at any time, but in today’s environment, it’s complicated. We are grateful for those ensuring the safety of renters and owners in apartment buildings, condos, and communities throughout the US.

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