Home Improvement and Repairs

How the Pandemic Has Affected Property Maintenance

Even though some of the country’s tallest buildings, mixed-use properties, and commercial real estate structures have less occupancy now due to the pandemic they still need to operate.

Even though some of the country’s tallest buildings, mixed-use properties, and commercial real estate structures have less occupancy now due to the pandemic they still need to operate.

Just because a property isn’t at its fullest capacity doesn’t mean it’s less costly to maintain.

Utilities still need to be paid including water, and electricity as do telecommunications and exterior amenities such as landscaping maintenance.

Landlords and property owners must pay rents and mortgages amid the pandemic even though most employees are working remotely.

Like every sector, the pandemic has affected property maintenance but it all boils down to “the lights must still stay on.”

Keeping the Lights On

In addition to all the above, the air inside a building needs to be regulated for the workers that are still on the premises.

According to Guidelines from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the Centers for Disease Control, increasing the amount of outdoor air brought into the building and using higher-grade filters must be followed. These measures are known to increase operating costs, the report said.

Naturally, air quality control costs have increased, the report added, but overall energy spending dipped only slightly with lower occupancy.

The CDC also lists other important information about building maintenance amid the COVID-19 pandemic and more ways to keep staff safe and others slow the spread.

Changes

Another survey released in June by property management software provider AppFolio reported how many of the pandemic mandates have affected the way property managers at apartments are maintaining their properties.

Stacy Holden, an industry principal at AppFolio, shared with Midwest Real Estate News how the pandemic has had to reinvent its business model of property management.

“The pandemic has changed life for everyone. Property managers, for lack of a better phrase, have turned into frontline workers. Suddenly, the people in their multifamily properties are living there 24/7.

“What would have been minor maintenance issues and inconveniences have become mission-critical. Property managers had to respond in different ways. They were also restricted from much in-person contact. They couldn’t necessarily do things face-to-face. People still needed to move and find places to live, though. People still needed maintenance and repairs in their units. Property managers have had to shift a lot during this pandemic.”

According to the survey, 82 percent of residential property management companies “had at least some of their staff working remotely and 46 percent said they were adopting new technology as a way to prepare their businesses for the future.”

The survey found, too, that 71 percent of property management companies said they were prioritizing virtual showings while 64 percent said virtual showings are the future.

Repairs and DIY

Holden added completing repairs has also changed as property managers have had to figure out new ways to handle repairs and maintenance for residents.

And don’t forget property managers must abide by social distancing as much as possible and are using technology to get jobs completed.

For instance, residents aren’t just filing work orders online but being more in-depth and filing orders with photos and videos to show the repair work they need. They are providing more information to property managers like this, Holden shared.

Building maintenance people as well are posting videos on how residents can repair things like circuit breakers in their units or how they can handle other basic issues.

There are other repairs that residents can DIY, thanks to maintenance workers who will provide supplies and guide the residents through repairs via video. This method reduces a lot of physical contact between managers and residents, Holden shared.

Common Areas

Additionally, the pandemic has changed how residents and office workers use common areas such as grassy sections and outdoor amenities, depending on each state and its local regulations.

For example, at some apartment complexes, residents can use common areas such as fitness centers but must reserve time to use it.

Outdoor maintenance still needs to be kept up so people can enjoy these areas and buildings, too, must keep up their appearances post-pandemic.

In the end property maintenance – be it office buildings or and residential living complexes – has changed since the onset of the global pandemic.

However, property managers are following guidelines and rules, and regulations to keep residents and building occupants as safe as possible while tending to maintenance needs.

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