5 Things Your Property Manager Wants You To Know During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Learn more about how Apartment Guide is responding to coronavirus and taking steps to help renters and property managers during this challenging time.

The coronavirus has interrupted all of our lives in a somewhat dramatic way.

If you were planning a spring move, chances are looking for a home or apartment to move to has become a bit trickier. With travel bans in place in almost every state, it can be challenging to know what to do when you need to move in the next couple of months. One of the toughest things is that no one knows when this might end.

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If you’re planning a move and you’re searching for apartments or mobile homes for rent, or if you’re currently renting a place and not sure what your rights as a tenant are, here are some tips your property manager wants you to know.

1. They’re willing to work with you if you can’t pay rent

As many people are losing their jobs, one of the biggest concerns is how you’re going to pay your rent. You do have some legal rights. Many states have passed a moratorium that will give you some time to catch up on your rent. Depending on the state that you live in, there may be a law that’s passed that will not allow your property manager to evict you for nonpayment.

It’s important to note that this does not mean that you don’t have to pay rent at all. It simply means that you’ll have more time to pay rent and that your property manager can’t evict you for non-payment.

If you’re truly struggling to pay rent and other bills, there are several emergency assistance programs that provide people with payments.

It’s extremely important to keep in contact with your property manager and let them know what’s going on. Ignoring their requests and simply not paying your rent on time can lead to legal battles that you don’t want to deal with. Most property managers understand that circumstances are very hard right now and will likely be willing to negotiate repayment plans.

2. You can still move in or out of an apartment

Another question you might have is whether or not you’re even allowed to move at this time. If your lease is up soon, this can be an issue that you’re facing at the moment. The short answer to this question is that most states are allowing people to move.

Moving companies are considered essential services under most of the state mandates that have been put in place. Knowing exactly what moving entails is very important.

man moving during coronavirus

3. Overcommunicate your plans if you’re going to be moving

If you’ve found an apartment for rent that you want to move into, it’s important that you remain in contact with the property manager of the new apartment, as well as the property manager of the apartment that you’re currently living in. Some property managers might not be amicable about facilitating moves right now.

Another issue that you might run into is that there are only a few moving companies that are still providing services. You’ll need to make sure that you’re in communication with your moving company to ensure that they’re still offering their services at this time.

4. You can likely extend your lease for a short term

If your lease is expiring soon and you haven’t yet found a new place to live, it might be a good idea to talk to your property manager about staying in place for a bit longer. Many property owners are being very flexible right now and will do their best to work with current tenants to keep things as normal as possible.

One solution might be to ask for a month-to-month extension for your lease. Another option is to agree to stay for at least three months. It’s understandable that for some people this might not be possible, and there are some options for finding a place during this time, such as using remote apartment searches. However, if you don’t absolutely need to move at this time, staying in your current place is the best option.

5. You can’t be kicked out if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19

If you’re diagnosed with coronavirus, it’s important to know your rights as a tenant. A property manager can’t kick you out, evict you or ask you to leave your rental if you have COVID-19. The same rules apply if you’ve been quarantined in your home. Property managers can’t discriminate or harass you in any way during this time.



Published at Tue, 07 Apr 2020 14:20:03 +0000

How to Submit a Maintenance Request During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Learn more about how Apartment Guide is responding to coronavirus and taking steps to help renters and property managers during this challenging time.

Living through the coronavirus pandemic means many everyday activities have changed. We no longer eat out in restaurants. We use drive-up delivery instead of going into the store. One thing that won’t change is the necessity to live in a safe home.

As such, apartment maintenance will continue throughout this unique time. While maintenance requests will still come in, the way in which they’re handled can change. Knowing how to deal with this can help you get your own requests dealt with faster.

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Are maintenance personnel still working?

Yes. As of publication, workers handling property management, maintenance and related service calls are still considered essential. Even if you’re living in an area with a shelter in place recommendation, you can still have repairs done in your apartment.

How should I submit a maintenance request?

Before coronavirus changed the way we interacted with people, a written apartment maintenance request was the best way to go. It allows you to keep a paper trail of the request. It also helps the maintenance staff categorize the level of importance for your issue.

If what you need isn’t that serious, they can shift your request back without losing it in the shuffle. Conversely, if you have a more immediate need, they’ll get to it faster having a formal document to reference.

Phone calls may also work, but during busy periods, you may end up going straight to voicemail. Then, you’re dependent on that message getting heard in time. With no paper trail, your request may be harder to track. A good strategy is to send in a written request and use the phone as a way to follow up.

Digital maintenance requests

If your apartment community offers a digital submission form for apartment maintenance, take full advantage. Living in an apartment building with this amenity works in your favor during the coronavirus isolation.

Digital systems help maintenance staff move from order to order. They don’t have to go back to the office each time they’re ready for a new request. Using these types of systems can help get your requests handled faster. It can also make communication from management and service staff to you easier and more efficient.

man fixing sink

Will all apartment maintenance requests get handled?

The answer to this question stems from many factors, from the size of your apartment building to the available maintenance staff.

“When more residents are home, the need for service and work orders escalate,” according to Amy Groff, senior vice president of industry operations at the National Apartment Association.

Speaking to Forbes, Groff says that coronavirus can impact the ability to handle requests. If workers are sick, fewer repairs will receive service within a single day. This can cause things to pile up a little. Your property manager should over-communicate their maintenance plans and capabilities to you often. If you haven’t heard anything from your property manager, follow up directly and ask:

  • What service requests are top priority?
  • Should I only report emergency repairs, and what qualifies as emergencies right now?
  • What is the average time for non-emergency requests to get handled?
  • Can I still submit maintenance requests if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you do test positive for the coronavirus, notify your property manager. Take extra precautions in disinfecting commonly touched objects in your home when you know someone is coming to fix something. Try to stay in a separate room, with the door closed, while they’re there. At the very least, practice appropriate distancing of at least six feet.

What safety precautions should I expect from the maintenance staff?

When maintenance personnel do enter your apartment check to see they’re taking proper precautions to limit the spread of germs. They should wear gloves, putting on a fresh pair in front of you before they begin their work. They need to also maintain a clean work area and wash their hands each time they trade out gloves. Hand washing is the best defense against the spread of germs. It helps protect both of you from passing germs to each other.

To stay on top of what you should expect, check in on maintenance information regularly. The protocol for personnel entering your apartment should be listed, as well as any changes to hours of operation or how to submit requests. Keeping on top of this helps ensure your maintenance needs get processed correctly.

Living safely during the coronavirus pandemic

Now that you’re spending way more time at home, you need to feel sure you’re living in a safe environment. Continue staying informed about the apartment maintenance procedures in your building. While they may continue to change, don’t hesitate to submit a maintenance request should the need arise.



Published at Mon, 06 Apr 2020 13:32:11 +0000