How has COVID-19 Affected Drummer?
The global pandemic known as COVID-19 has affected all our lives irreversibly. It is hard to imagine life-before-lockdown, but I think it has taught many of us valuable lessons in resiliency and adaptability. But that’s a conversation for another time.
Today I wanted to talk about how COVID-19 has affected our operations at Drummer Realty specifically. I’ve received several common questions when talking to potential clients, many of them valid concerns about how the management of their property will be handled with all of the new challenges COVID-19 presents. I’m going to cover general day-to-day operation, showings, rent collection, and inspections.
Regarding the company’s general operation, the only big change is that most of us are working from home. We were lucky enough to be able to move almost all of our in-office staff to working remotely without having it affect our workflow too much (apart from getting used to wearing sweatpants to work!) By utilizing technology (video calling, file sharing, screen sharing, etc) we were able to continue operating in a time where many businesses had to close their doors; some for good. We now require any clients that need to come into our offices in person to make an appointment, wear appropriate PPE, and take all possible sanitary precautions. Other than that it’s business as usual!
When it comes to showing available rental properties, we take great care in abiding by the restrictions put in place by our government. Although we are technically an essential service, we want to go above and beyond when it comes to the safety of our clients and their families. When showing property, we insist that no more than two individuals view the property at a time, all individuals wear proper PPE, and everyone uses sanitizer. We have even adopted virtual showings, though this can present unique challenges as well. There really is not substitute for viewing a property in person unfortunately, but we have been making do as best we can. If the property is tenanted, we work with the current tenant to ensure they are not present (wherever possible) during the showing, and escort visiting applicants to make sure they are not touching anything in the current tenant’s home.
Rent collection has been a tricky one, as for a time the government mandated that non-payment of rent could not result in eviction. As long as the tenant worked with us to commit to a payment plan, they could not be evicted for non-payment. We could not charge late fees either. That being said, during that time we were extremely successful in keeping track of rent owing, keeping tenants accountable for missing rents, and following up on getting all accounts balanced. That mandate is, for the time being (at the time I’m writing this), no longer in place. So, in regard to rent collection and enforcement (as of Jan 2021), it’s business as usual.
Conducting inspections (both scheduled and/or requested by the owner) has continued virtually without interruption during this time. There was a bit of a lull during the first lockdown in 2020, when everyone was getting used to the new-normal, but we’ve since caught up. Property inspections are being conducted with the same care as with showings; PPE, sanitizer, limited in person contact, etc.
So, in conclusion, not much has changed! It’s taken getting used to sure, but as I said this time has taught us resiliency and adaptability like nothing ever has before. During this time, though we are a business accountable to our clients, we have done everything we can, both within our offices and in the field, to be as sympathetic to everyone’s unique struggles as we all attempt to navigate through this difficult time. Our tenant clients are just as crucial to our business as our owner clients, and everyone has had unique challenges to overcome. Our aim throughout this ordeal has been to maintain the strong working relationship we have with our clients, on both sides.
If you have any other questions leave a comment and I’ll be sure to respond.
Be safe out there!