The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped some local property management companies in their tracks. When Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced their “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order on March 20th, non-essential businesses across the state closed their doors. While housing is undoubtedly an essential service, management companies throughout the area have reacted to these orders differently. Some have responded by adapting their operations to comply with new social-distancing guidelines. Others have decided to essentially close down and wait the crisis out. Those actions have significant ramifications for investment owners and tenants alike because both groups still require service during these unprecedented times.
Unlike some other local property management companies, Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew remains open. Potential tenants can still tour available homes. Our team can facilitate move-ins during the Stay Home, Stay Safe orders. Our construction teams can conduct inspections and repairs. However, we’ve adjusted our operations with COVID-19 in mind. Here’s how:
Our Office is Open, but We’re Limiting Visitors
While our team is still hard at work, we’ve closed the Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew offices to the public for the duration of this crisis. Our team is always available by phone at (503) 515-3170 or by email for questions, concerns, or emergencies. Tenants can minimize person-to-person contact by paying their rent online. Or they can deposit their payment in the dropbox located outside our office.
Remote and Socially-Distanced Home Tours
Housing needs don’t stop during this time, so we’re finding new ways to work with potential tenants. We’re big believers in video home tours. When you visit our YouTube page, you’ll find hundreds of videos of the homes in our rental inventory. Over the years, we’ve found these video tours to be an excellent way for potential tenants to get a realistic idea of a home’s interior. Once they’ve watched a video, they can decide if they’d like to take an in-person tour. As a result, the people who arrive for in-person showings are not casual tourists. In the age of COVID-19, this allows us to limit the number of people who tour a home to only serious shoppers.
We’ve also adjusted the way we handle in-person showings. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, one of our team members would meet potential tenants to conduct a guided tour. Today, we arrange tours over the phone and set up our calendar to stagger visits. That way, only one potential tenant tours a property at a time. Then, when each prospective new tenant arrives, our team member waits in the car while they access the home using a key lockbox. We answer follow-up questions over the phone or by email.
Some property management companies have resorted to using an automated service called Rently, which allows potential tenants to conduct self-guided tours. However, this approach provides a very low level of service for both prospective tenants and owners. People still need their questions answered, and most of them would prefer talking with a real human — even if it’s over the phone. We’re here to provide that.
Leasing and Move-Ins from a Distance
In addition, we can perform tenant screenings and lease-signings online. In the past, one of our team members would meet new tenants on their move-in day to pass off the keys and conduct an inspection. To enforce social-distancing, today, our construction staff conducts inspections between tenants while the home is vacant. On move-in day, tenants access the keys to their new home from a lockbox. As always, our staff is available for questions or in the event of an emergency.
Contact Us Today for More Information
Despite the challenges that come during these difficult times, we’re doing everything we can to limit in-person contact while still providing the same high level of service we always have. If you’re an investment owner that feels like your current property manager isn’t meeting your needs, we’d love to talk. If you’re a potential tenant looking for a trouble-free leasing experience when face-to-face interactions are increasingly challenging, we’re here to help. As always, our existing owners can contact our staff anytime with questions about how we’re managing their investment during the COVID-19 lockdown.