Last week, BISNOW hosted two members of the real estate community, Barry Blanton (2020 IREM SVP and Principal, Blanton Turner) and Patricia Hutchinson (President & Co-Founder, Mission Rock Residential) to discuss how their teams are handling operations and resident management in light of COVID-19.
You can watch the full recorded webinar here – we’ve also recapped some of the key discussion points, listed below:
Clear & Consistent Communication Is Key
Per Patricia, one of the most important must-do’s during this time is clear and consistent communication. This ensures your tenants receive accurate information from your organization – a critical need when things change rapidly from day to day. Here are some ways you can make that happen:
- Designate a taskforce or committee at your company to approve all strategy & messaging regarding COVID-19
- Ensure tenants know who to contact for specific needs, and how to contact those individuals/groups
- Inform tenants of steps you’re taking to ensure safety at each property
Operational Logistics Are More Important Than Ever
That same taskforce can also devise plans to ensure important operations continue, and devise answers to the following questions:
- How will your staff prioritize requests/work orders going forward?
- Will any vendor disruptions impact critical operations?
- How are you tracking what’s happening at each property?
Answers to these depend on the size & structure of your workforce, and the nature of your portfolio. For example, many organizations are only allowing staff members to enter units if they’re vacant, or if it’s a life and safety critical repair. It’s important to make sure your tenants know that, and your staff is able to follow protocol to keep themselves safe.
There Are No Easy Answers
When it comes to personal privacy (“Can I tell others in a building if a resident has a positive test?”) or financial flexibility, there are no easy answers. Barry and Patricia review suggestions they’ve found work best – for example, working with your current tenants to find financially-related solutions are always preferable to other options. Of course, you’ll want to make sure any actions you take are also in line with any local or even federal regulations.
That said, you know your tenants and your buildings best – review these suggestions with your team, and see how they work in conjunction with your current plans and operations strategy.
Click here to watch the webinar, and learn how other management teams are planning around COVID-19.
You can also check out our blog on managing risk during Coronavirus (and beyond). And if you have buildings in NYC, don’t miss our latest regulatory updates in light of COVID-19.