As the social restrictions for COVID-19 have begun to die down and everything is starting to reopen, renters are likely to start looking for housing again. One of the questions many property managers are likely to hear from applicants is, “How did you handle COVID-19 with your tenants?”
There are many ways to be a good property manager, but being considerate during a widespread pandemic is likely to be at the top of many renters’ lists. With that in mind, one considerate action you can take is to check in with your current tenants to see how they’re doing. This not only improves relations and your reputation with your existing tenants, but it also gives you an honest, built-in answer to applicants: “I checked in with them to make sure everyone was OK.”
Considerations for checking in
We’re living in difficult times and many people are struggling. Some of them may have lost their jobs or taken a pay cut, and are struggling financially. Others may be struggling mentally with isolation, anxiety, or depression. If your residents aren’t getting paid, they’re not able to save for basic needs. If they get sick, they may also have to worry about medicine or medical care.
It’s important to remember that many of your tenants are likely to be feeling stressed, preoccupied, and overwhelmed. A knock on the door from their property manager may worry them even more, so giving them a call may be the best approach, especially given COVID-19 precautions.
Your tenants may worry that you’re only calling about money, so be mindful that they may be uncomfortable initially. Public relations with rental property owners and property managers have been strained in many areas since the pandemic started. Contact your tenants when you’re in a calm, collected state of mind – not when you’re in a bad mood.
Be gentle and kind
After you’ve greeted them, move forward with the reason why you’ve called. For example, you could say something like, “I wanted to check-in and see how you’re doing. Things are stressful right now. Are you staying healthy? Is there anything you need?” Let your tenants speak freely, and be a good listener. Don’t be afraid of silence, because they may just be thinking about what they want to say.
While you’re talking with your tenants, remember that there are many ways you can help them. Everyone appreciates small acts of kindness. This could be something as simple as a care package or sending a congratulations card to a family with a recent graduate. Little things that show you care can go a long way. You can offer advice as well to show you’re listening, but make sure to be considerate. Often people aren’t looking for advice so much as a friendly ear.
Checking in on your tenants can be complicated with all the stress and uncertainty everyone is facing. However, it’s worthwhile to make the effort. Showing you care during these times will mean a lot to your tenants – and they’re not likely to forget it when the pandemic is over.
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