Property Managers and COVID-19 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Property Managers and COVID-19

Why using a property manager is crucial during a crisis

In recent weeks, life as we know it has changed. In fact, the word change is rather an understatement. For the first time in nearly 100 years in the United States, businesses have shuttered, schools are closed, the streets of cities are barren and our country is coping with one of the worst biological outbreaks since the flu pandemic of 1918. The only thing that we know for certain is that nothing is certain at the moment and in the foreseeable future.

As a real estate professional, our industry, like so many, is in a complete pivot mode. This applies to every sector of the industry, from lender to broker to property manager. It is wonderful to see how quickly and creatively my colleagues in the real estate industry are working to continue to best serve their clients both safely and effectively—all while working to help support their community in times of great uncertainty.

Property Managers and COVID-19
Schluesseldienst, Pixabay

One sector of the real estate community that I think is even more vital today in helping to support both tenants and property owners is the property management sector. This is, in fact, an essential business to not only our economy, but also our communities. No one knows landlord-tenant law better than a property manager. And now more than ever it is crucial that landlords are up to date with the week-to-week changes in the law regarding payments of rent and forbearance of rent—and have the ability to collect said rent in a safe and distanced manner. Property managers are there to not only protect a property owner, and also the tenant. It's a property managers fiduciary and ethical obligation to stay abreast of all emergency ordinances during this COVID-19 pandemic. By doing so, they're able to protect their clients, tenants and landlords.

Fear becomes heightened at a frenetic pace with the uncertainty of one’s home; even more so when our country, state and local leaders and health care professionals are telling us to stay home.

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When it comes to maintenance requests and emergencies, property managers also have a stable of trusted vendors who are vetted, trusted and held to a high standard of safety and health precautions. This is particularly important during this pandemic, as we have already heard of price gouging and other unsavory behaviors occurring across many sectors taking advantage of fear and scarcity. Now more than ever it's crucial for both property owners and tenants to have peace of mind about who they're working with. In addition, it's imperative that landlords know what constitutes a maintenance emergency under the law and what kinds of maintenance requests or issues are legally able to wait until such time as it is safe to address them. Again, no one knows landlord-tenant law better than a property manager.

As we have become acutely aware, specifically in the last three weeks, our society is living in a digital age—now more than ever. Property managers have tools and software that allow them to safely handle things such as rent collections and disbursement. In addition, property managers have marketing ability that runs far beyond a one-man show, as an example. Property managers are not only pivoting with virtual showings and video; so many have vast social media outlets, websites and blogs to market available properties and support the stability of the rental market. Like many realtors, property managers have made a quick and effective pivot, making what was once considered a face-to-face business, virtual and remain operational.

The last thing I believe to be a crucial role with property managers, particularly right now, is their ability to act as a mediator. Having formally worked in the management sector of the real estate industry, the one thing know to be constant is the emotional response to fear around one’s roof over their head, the ability to pay rent and a landlord's ability to maintain the property with the income generated from the rents.

Fear becomes heightened at a frenetic pace with the uncertainty of one’s home; even more so when our country, state and local leaders and health care professionals are telling us to stay home. Property managers are skilled at mediating tough situations and are adept at finding creative and workable solutions for both tenant and property owners. Beyond that, they know how to properly document such situations according to the law and to protect all involved. They are trained to be neutral “third parties,” kind of like an escrow officer or a 1031 Exchange Accommodator.

In times of uncertainty, of which we are living in now, it is more important than ever to rely on the trained professionals within an industry.
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