It’s no secret that over the past few months, COVID-19 has uprooted and disarranged your tenant’s lives. While some are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, others lost their jobs due to restrictions placed on their vocation or due to newfound issues with the economy. Everyone – from those who can still pay their rent to those who are struggling with the unemployment waiting game – is on high alert and extremely concerned about their health and the health of their loved ones. Of course, this affects landlords, like you, who are trying to hold everything together as best they can, mostly resulting in a spike in your stress levels. However, if there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, it’s that property managers are a valuable asset who are needed more now than ever.
So, how can hiring a property manager be your most strategic move in 2020?
Working with Tenants to Build Trust
Communication with your tenants is key right now. Whether they are unable to pay their rent, want to arrange a payment plan, or are worried about their upcoming lease renewal, there are probably quite a few individuals trying to get ahold of you. This can easily become difficult to manage if you own an individual property or have a sizeable portfolio including multi-use buildings. At the moment, you’re probably wishing you had 10 arms or at least some help fielding all those endless text messages, phone calls, and voice mails.
Luckily, this is where a property manager swoops in to save the day. Property managers are the “go-to” people who your tenants call to make requests and ask questions. A property manager works on your behalf to arrange those payment plans and then ensures that the tenants actually follow through once they receive unemployment funds or get back to work. They are your first line of defense, so to speak. Your property manager also handles everything else pertaining to the building. They answer tenant questions, step in should a social distancing dispute occur, and shoulder a lot of daily responsibilities, which lessens your headaches, despite the national pandemic.
Filing Evictions IF Necessary
Although evictions are currently halted through May 31, 2020, due to an executive order enacted by Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, now is the time to begin proactively gathering any required information and documentation for one, should your tenants stop paying and become uncommunicative.
A good property manager keeps all this information on hand and records every attempt to communicate with delinquent tenants. Yes, your tenants should absolutely receive some leeway right now because their world has essentially been turned upside down, but when things return to a semi-normal state, you will need to be prepared.
What’s involved in filing an eviction? There is definitely some paperwork involved, of course, that must be filed with the court. Additionally, a formal notice must be delivered to the tenant in writing. And if it comes to it, once the tenant is officially evicted by the court, they have a certain number of days to vacate the property. So, rather than ready yourself to deal with these things on your own after the May 31st stay ends, it may be in your best interest to hire a property manager to assist you in handling all these minute details and keeping your documentation in order.
Handling Maintenance Requests
Maintenance is never-ending, especially if you have multiple properties. As a property owner, you know that maintenance requests haven’t stopped due to COVID-19. In fact, you are probably receiving more than ever, because people are home a lot more now. The broken front porch light that your tenant previously shrugged off is now bothering them because they see it constantly. Appliances are still breaking down, as refrigerators and ovens don’t care about the pandemic. Drains are still getting clogged and pipes will start leaking. And whose job is it to ensure that these things are repaired, timely and affordably?
You know all too well that if you don’t have a property manager, it’s your job, as the owner, to dispatch the repair people. This is just another layer of duties to deal with. So, now not only are you dealing with calls from tenants who are unable to pay their rent, but you also have to make sure the maintenance workers do their jobs in a timely fashion to avoid tenant complaints.
Of course, again, if you hire a property manager to lessen the load, these responsibilities fall to them, freeing you up to deal with other more important aspects of your life. Your property manager would track all maintenance requests and make sure the work got done, while also ensuring that every maintenance worker followed proper COVID-19 protocol, complete with wearing a mask and gloves, covering their shoes, and staying six feet away from the tenants at all times.
Property Managers Give You “The Gift of Time”
As you can see, COVID-19 and all the other challenges it brings, have increased the need for and value of property managers across the country. Property owners, like you, have enough on your plate – so, why not make your life easier when possible? By hiring a trusted and experienced management company to respond to tenant requests, set up payment plans, and gather necessary eviction documentation (in the event that its needed), you are putting strategic operational protocols in place and freeing up your time for other parts of your life that truly require your attention.
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