COVID-19 has evolved into a global health crisis, and now, millions of Americans are worried about falling ill. As a landlord or property manager, it's your responsibility to provide a safe living space for your tenants, and that means taking extra steps to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 in your building, especially with people spending more time at home now than ever before. Here are some of the things you can do to maintain a healthy, sanitary environment for the folks living under your roof.
1. Ramp up your cleaning schedule
When you own or manage an apartment building, you're responsible for maintaining its common areas. Given the ease with which COVID-19 can spread, it's now more important than ever to be vigilant about cleaning. Hire extra staff if you need to, and make sure your building's lobby, elevators, mailboxes, and stairwells are frequently sanitized and wiped down. Do the same for your building's laundry room, storage area, and any other spaces tenants are likely to utilize.
2. Close off spaces where tenants tend to congregate
If your apartment building has an outdoor playground, indoor gym, or other nonessential amenities that tend to draw a crowd, make it off-limits for the time being. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised that one of the best ways to limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to have people distance themselves from others, so take points of temptation off the table.
3. Make sanitizer stations available in commonly used areas
Your tenants have no choice but to press elevator buttons or access their mailboxes in the coming weeks. But one way you can keep them safer is by installing hand sanitizer pumps (either standalone or wall-mounted) in those areas so your tenants can easily cleanse their hands before potentially touching their faces and risking infection.
4. Ask tenants to limit guests
Though you may not have the right to tell your tenants they can't have their parents or babysitters come in and out of the building, the fact of the matter is that fewer visitors means less exposure to germs for everyone who lives there. As such, it wouldn't hurt to ask your tenants to limit the number of guests they let into the building.
5. Offer leniency with regard to paying rent
You may have tenants who see their income decline or go away completely in the coming weeks -- namely, those who don't have the option to do their jobs from home. By letting these tenants defer their rent payments until the COVID-19 crisis subsides, you'll not only reduce their stress tremendously but help keep them and anyone else who lives in your building safe.
How? It's simple. If you make it clear that you'll be flexible with rent, those tenants may be able to hunker down at home for a month or two rather than go out and look for work that puts them at risk of picking up germs that could harm not only their health but the health of others in the building as well.
The COVID-19 outbreak may be unchartered territory for you, but the above steps will help you maintain a safe living space for the people who pay you rent. Not only should you take these measures, but you should also communicate them to your tenants so they'll know you're doing whatever you can to help keep them safe.