Maine Landlording During the COVID-19 Pandemic
We are six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and it does not appear as though its going anywhere any time soon.
The pandemic has affected individuals and businesses alike, all around the country. As a landlord, you may be especially hard hit and impacted in numerous ways.
As property managers, we have had to adapt and change our way of doing our routine day to day business in order to ensure we are complying with the new rules, regulations and guidance and ensure the safety and health of our employees, tenants and clients. In this post, we will give you some advice on how you can do the same, as a Maine Landlord, during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Local, state, and federal regulators have and continue to take action, by setting rules, regulations and guidance, in an attempt to mitigate the health risks. Laws are being created, changed, and modified it seems almost daily. Some of these laws and regulations affect your rental property and you as a landlord. Because of this, its critical that you keep up to date on this ever changing and evolving situation. As always, we recommend you seek the advice of a qualified legal professional to ensure you are complying. Non-compliance could be costly to you.
Strict hygiene standards will help protect you from contracting the virus and can limit the spread. If you must enter one of your tenant’s units to conduct maintenance, inspections etc. it is important to follow a strict hygiene protocol.
Below are some ways to help prevent the spread of the virus:
- Disinfect: All types of surfaces can contain the COVID-19 virus and its important to sanitize all surfaces you have contact with after you finish the tasks. Pay special attention to doorknobs and light switches.
- Hand washing: We have heard it time and time again. Wash those hands using proper handwashing techniques. Use warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Some experts have said this is the single most important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19. If you are unable to use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Chances are, your tenants and prospective tenants are concerned about the spread of COVID-19. Its important to keep them updated on how you are handling things such as cleaning and sanitizing common areas and units in between tenancies.
You should also keep them informed about your process if you or a maintenance professional need to enter their unit to do repairs or maintenance. Its equally important to continue to maintain their unit and commit to a quick response if there is an emergency, just as you would before the pandemic. Tenants need assurance, for example, they need to know that they will not be left without heat in the dead of winter because no one will come to fix the issue.
Communication is key, now more than ever!
Your tenants need some reassurance that their calls, messages and emails will still be answered, and their problems addressed.
Keep an Open Mind
The COVID-19 pandemic is happening in real-time. Its constantly changing. Its fluid! It is essential that you remain flexible and are ready to change your protocols and ways of doing things as soon as new information, guidance, regulations, and rules are established.
Make long term plans but make sure that those long-term plans are easily changeable. Consider all the outcomes and possibilities of the long-term plans. If you can, it’s a good time to sock away some reserve cash and make smart decisions.
Consider Professional Management
Let’s face it, being a landlord was no easy task even in 2019. Now that it’s the year 2020…Well, you get the point. Being a DIY landlord now could possibly be one of the most challenging jobs, especially if its not your only job. A good Professional Property Management company has established protocols and is keeping up to date and making the necessary changes to those protocols. They should have the legal support in place and they should be constantly adapting. Now may be a good time to consider hiring a Professional Property Management partner to help you through this unprecedented time.