Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has been taking action to protect tenants from eviction. Particularly local governments have enacted numerous COVID-19-related tenant protections because the pandemic has thrust our community into unknown territory.
We know these are a bit frightening times for both our health and economic status, and we are here to try and help. IPG has assembled a few explanations that Bay Area property managers and rental housing providers can use to communicate with residents about key issues affected by the pandemic.
Setting New Standards In Property Management
As the COVID-19 continues to spread and affect our daily lives, the only certainty that seems we have, both the short term and long term, are the significant economic effects of the outbreak. In light of this, real estate clients are asking important questions regarding the potential legal issues that the pandemic might inflict on their rights as real estate owners and operators.
Property Management & Maintenance
Landlords and property managers of commercial and retail properties are now monitoring their local departments while the Center for Disease Control and Prevention takes steps to support applicable directives and maintain a clean and safe environment.
Most, if not all, Bay Area communities are currently being advised to avoid travel and to practice “social distancing” meant to restrain the spread of the infection.
This generally includes increased handwashing and the regular use of hand sanitizer, cleaning high-touch surfaces, and maintaining a six-foot distance from other individuals in public places.
Several California counties are also now subject to mandatory self-isolation of individuals in their residences, except to the extent necessary to obtain certain “essential services” and functions.
Following Prescribed Measures
Owners and managers are complying with all the suggested and controlling the transmission of the virus to the extent of providing hand sanitizer stations in high traffic areas, routinely cleaning surfaces, and increasing janitorial services provided to tenants and common areas.
Regular communication with tenants is being taken regarding building policy recommendations and posting materials in multiple languages to educate tenants, their employees, and visitors about proper hygiene.
Tenants allowed or required to remain open, are provided with assistance, following the promotion of the “social distancing” and, storing customer seating to emphasize take-out and delivery services, only.
The fee structure in California is pretty straightforward, but during the Covid-19 breakout, the whole County has been improving and refining their property management practices, and not taking money or charging for the maintenance when tenants are not able to make any income.
The lease agreements forged in the pandemic are clear and upfront about all the fees and property managers will always go above and beyond your expectations to make sure that your property is cared for, and that you know exactly what is going on with your property at any given moment.
At IPG Property Management, you get the best return on your property investment. We help tenants and landlords avoid problems that could cost you money down the road because we understand how important your real estate investment is to your financial well-being.
Assessment of Applicable Lease Terms
Landlords are more than earlier assessing their risk exposure due to possible lease terminations and the bad economic impact caused by the virus. That is why lease agreements should be reviewed and contractual rights and obligations during the outbreak understood, for the wellbeing of both the landlord and the tenant.
The starting point for any inquiry will be to review applicable lease terms. First of all, a well-written lease won’t allow for a tenant to withhold rent or terminate their lease based upon a downturn in the economy.
The “force majeure” clause in the lease, excuses the time action for the performance of some lease obligations, preventing from performing the obligation. The tenant is required to provide rent whether or not a force majeure event has occurred.
Landlords should, therefore, review their leases and confirm if such carve-outs exist, and if not, a landlord may be subject to claims by their tenants that the obligation to pay rent itself has been delayed by the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic (or some other disruption).
Eco-Consciousness Concerns and Developments
In the eco-conscious Bay Area, people are struggling to balance current health needs with more traditional environmental priorities. Consumption of single-use plastics like takeout containers and bags has escalated with the pandemic.
Cleaning supplies are another reason for tension creation. Stores should remove signs prohibiting reusable bags and post signs welcoming customers to bring their own reusable bags according to specified measures.
Plenty of people have already switched from “green” cleaners for more traditional choices, in at least one instance during the pandemic because of their affordability.
Commercial property management faces unique operational challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with health and safety plans becoming more important every day. This often means creating operational plans for employees, tenants’ employees, visitors, and customers.
And will it last? Will it make its way into our everyday routine even after the Coronavirus? Given the magnitude of federal, state, and local laws and guidance changing daily, keeping COVID-19 operational plans fully compliant is no easy task. There the more sure thing is the opportunities to implement creative new ideas and find innovative ways of achieving goals.