March 19,2020
These are certainly unprecedented times. Mandatory quarantines, business shutdowns and illness make for challenging times for all of us, including property management companies. For those living in multi-family buildings, in close proximity to others with shared common spaces, worry and concern can be exacerbated. Here is what you should expect from your property management company:
Regular Communication
Your management company should be paying attention to official sources of information as it is changing daily. The best source of information is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as local health authorities. These resources include personal hygiene measures, contingency planning and service announcements such as the time and location of testing centers. Your managers should be communicating with both their Boards and Homeowners frequently.
Emergency & Response
All management companies should maintain a 24/7 Emergency Line and Response Team. Offices should remain open, even with employees working remotely from home, and emails and phone calls be answered and returned.
Closing of Common Areas
Management Companies should discuss with Boards the closing of common areas such as gyms, pools, and community centers. Outdoor spaces such as playgrounds and rooftop lounges are a bit more discretionary. These decisions can be dictated by the federal, state or city authorities, but NOT by the management company. It is a Board decision what is implemented in the best interest of their residents.
Ramp Up Cleaning Practices
There should be ramped up cleaning practices. This may include increased amount of cleaning or quality of cleaning products. Your property manager should have back up maintenance services in case your employees or current vendors close or are overwhelmed with demand. All vendors or employees working on site should be washing their hands regularly and wearing protective gloves while working in common areas. Consider setting up hand sanitizing stations of the entrance of all commercial spaces and lobbies.
Financial Implications
This crisis will undoubtedly have a financial effect on many businesses and workers, some of whom live in your community. Discuss with the management company and Board temporarily lifting late fees or implementing more lenient repayment allowances for those who find themselves financially stretched. It is not recommended that all maintenance fees be waived as it may have long term effects on your building’s financial health, however understanding and goodwill will most certainly be appreciated.
Emergency Contingency Plans
There should be an Emergency Contingency Plan developed in case garbage pickup or other mandatory services are ceased. This plan may include the hiring of outside private companies, or the use of Homeowner/Board assistance.
Review Contracts, Leases & Policies
If you are a landlord, review your leases and legal obligations to your tenants. As a landlord you need to be aware of your contractual position if your contract is cancelled or payments are ceased. Whether you are a landlord or serve on a condo Board, review with your property manager your obligations to pay vendors that have ceased work temporarily.
The management company and Board should also review all workers compensation insurance policies for those buildings with employees in case workers are diagnosed with COVID-19.
Lastly, Keep reviewing and revising your plans!
Denali Property Management wishes you all health and peace during this time.