Helping Work from Home Tenants
We’ve covered the high cost of tenant turnover, late rent, rent default, and more here on the ManageCasa blog. For apartment managers, the issue of keeping work at home tenants leased is pressing because they’re likely to move.
Work at home is great, until the cracks in the beautiful picture appear. As renters, particularly apartment tenants, find their unit too confining to work in, they will move. Add fatigue, stress, loneliness, and it will translate to turnover, vacancy and lost rent. Some of the rent payment turmoil isn’t just shutdown related.
Acting to prevent these future losses is wise.
An Accent on Communications
While you can’t add rooms and amenities, you can at least improve tenant communications to help them. And good communications is simply about being helpful, caring, and courteous with tenants. Tenant management is a much under-rated benefit of your property management software so you can do this.
Many locked down residents are experiencing spring fever. This inclues work from home landlords and mobile property management staff. And as Covid 19 variants spread, our battle with the Corona Virus is not yet over.
Many of your tenants are loving work from home, however, now in 2021 after a tough winter, isolation, boredom, lack of exercise, and low social interaction are becoming work liabilities for the stay at home crowd. It’s becoming too much for some to bear.
Great Benefits of Work From Home
The work from home productivity boost is well documented, but many apartment buildings were not designed for it. For those living in crowded conditions, the friction of work at home can eventually wear down creativity, energy, enthusiasm, quality of work and productivity — and sometimes lead to unemployment which is not conducive to consistent rent payment.
If work from home employees are going to continue productivity for employers, they’re going to need to cope with confinement and isolation, and keep themselves vibrant. Even after Covid 19 disappears, this challenge will remain.
Apartments not Designed for 24 Hour x 7 Habitation
Apartments and even rental houses weren’t designed for 24 hour habitation. Being stuck in one environment 24 hours a day for months can be unbearable, especially as the months keep passing.
Rental homes may offer more rooms, a deck or backyard for variety and a break. Apartments unfortunately do not offer that variety.
“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University in APA Report.
More people are calling their doctors for various health ailments, and many don’t realize their issues are actually stress related. Confinement is stressful. They’re not active, are eating poorly, and have lost social connections. Amidst this isolation is the threat of disease, unemployment and lack of income.
How Can Landlords Help with this Situation?
We’ve got a list of helpful pointers below. However, showing compassion can go a long way to helping them feel comfortable, confident and capable. Keeping them informed and encouraging communication is also compassionate. This can help them keep their lives together so they stay leased.
Simply communicating well to discover which tenants are suffering can help avoid rent default, lease terminations and evictions.
A Medium for Productive Communication with Tenants
Your property management software and company blog can be great ways to get vital messages out and gather feedback. Yes, it’s all been said elsewhere, but it hasn’t been said by you. Blogs written by you take a special meaning to your tenants.
Here’s a Few Ideas:
- post a blog on work from home tips to help tenants keep a positive mood and enjoying working from home
- write blogs on positive topics such as better nutrition, muscle relaxation, listening to nice music and not watching TV newscasts, avoiding alcohol and getting exercise to keep circulation optimal, creating their own projects to keep busy, and encouraging them to socialize online with friends and family, and on visualizing their lives being back to normal soon.
- advise them to open up windows, use bright LED light bulbs, and hang up some new pictures on walls to improve their interior.
- conduct a survey (most tenants will respond to questions about how’re they’re feeling and how they’re kids are faring in these tough times.
- ask them if they think they think they could experience challenges paying their rent in 3 months
- ask to rate their mood, anxiety levels, energy, and physical pain so you can gauge how everyone is doing
- ask them if they have sufficient personal support for daily living — offer tips such as local support networks, meals on wheels, and food banks if necessary.
- ask them if they’ve made necessary medical appointments or an appointment to get their Covid 19 vaccination shots (many countries have barely started their vaccination program).
- notify them where Covid 19 vaccination sites are or arrange to have vaccination crews visit your buildings.
- ask tenants what additional amenities or services might be valuable to them. For upscale tenants, they may be willing to pay for these additional services or amenities (they’ll tell you what they’d like).
Work from Home Will Continue
It’s a trend that will stick. And if your tenants can’t work from home in their apartment, they will move somewhere where they can.
Work from home means increasing demand for single detached houses or townhouses with room to work and live. Apartment landlords will find it difficult to renovate to satisfy tenants needs. Converting available rooms in your building into usable space and designing a relaxing garden in any vacant land you have can increase their comfort.
New developments, such as build to rent developments are being designed for additional services and tenant activities.
Your communication strategy with your tenants will be appreciated and it could help reduce your renter churn rate. See more on how to keep tenants happy, reduce turnover, and how improve tenant communications and create a good tenant.
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