Create a COVID 19 Protocol for You and Your Team to Follow

Keep Calm and Manage Property:
Lease Ups & Rentals
in a COVID 19 World

Things have changed in the past 4 months, and they have changed a lot. The new normal under COVID 19 is “keeping it clean.” This steps by step guide will assist you in developing your own company policy handbook to meet the challenges of being a first-responder property management firm and rental agency in today’s new COVID19 world.

We know, it is just a matter of time before someone out there figures out an angle to sue the property manager and property owner if someone in the property gets sick, or even worse. Having steps to follow and document may reduce the liability, but not totally eliminate the risks. At least having a protocol in hand will be able to show the courts, and your insurance adjuster, that reasonable measures were taken to protect both your team members, contractors, vendors, and your residents. 

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“Five 2 Survive”

Put together a box of these supplies that you can easily travel with and take with you. Have these items handy at all times when planning to visit the property and make sure your team members are also well-equipped and trained to handle these day to day procedures. This will make it easier to maintain safety protocols throughout your day.

1. Masks 

2. Gloves 

3. Wipes 

4. Sanitizer 

5. Disposal

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A mask should be worn whenever entering any building or business that is outside of your home. Most businesses now require masks for you to enter the building. If you are entering a property that is not your home, wear a mask for your safety and for the safety of the other people in the property. When you do get home, it is a good idea to use hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes before entering your home.

Disposable Masks

It is a good idea to try to not reuse disposable masks for an extended period of time. If you can, you should discard these items daily in a secure trash can or receptacle. When the panic started, masks were in high demand but short in supply. You can now order these online in bulk for home delivery.

Washable Masks

There are now several types of masks that have recently become available that are washable and reusable. Some of these come with filter inserts that can also be rinsed out and sanitized as needed. Washable masks are a good idea to save money rather than buying disposable masks in quantity. You may still need to have a few of these on hand, so you always have a safe mask, ready to use.

Custom Masks

In addition to purchasing washable masks, the marketing and merchandising world has jumped onto the band wagon: you can now order custom masks printed with your company logo. You can enter the COVID 19 world putting your best face forward. Custom masks might make sense if you know you will be “mask-to-mask” with your clients. These tend to be a bit pricey too, so weigh the costs and your options.

Face Shields

Face shield are primarily used in high risk situations like medical, industrial cleaning, or when you run a higher risk of becoming infected by splashes or airborne liquids. Some who are uncomfortable with the breathing restrictions of a mask may find face shields provide more breathing comfort.

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Gloves seem to be optional at this point in the pandemic, but they are still a good idea to wear in order to protect your family, loved ones, and properties. When entering a store where many people may have handled the same objects you will be handling, it may make more sense to wear gloves. Once you are done with the gloves, they should be disposed of in a secure trash can or receptacle. Once gloves are removed, you should still be washing your hands. If you are working remotely from a water source, then resort to using hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

Areas where gloves still make sense:

  • Wherever you buy your supplies
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Grocery Stores
  • Gas Stations

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Home Protocol

Most of us in our own homes assume that we are safe because we are home. It is still a good idea to wipe down frequently touched surfaces daily. We have adapted a forward/reverse strategy that, so far, has kept us safe.

A good place to start is the first place you start: your bedroom and bathroom. The surfaces you touch often should be frequently. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Door knobs
  • Faucet handles
  • Toilet handles
  • Shower handles
  • Your toothbrush
  • Hair dryer, combs & brushes
  • Mobile phone
  • Keyboards and Mouse Devices
  • TV Remotes
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Coffee maker
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Counter tops
  • Dining table

Car Protocol

This one takes a little more practice to get used to. We have a designated spot in our service van to keep a wipe station for the driver and passenger sides of the auto. We have broken this one down into two phases: getting into your car and getting out of your car.

Getting Into Your Car:

  • Start with your keys
  • Outside door handle
  • Open the door
  • Wipe down surface you will be touching
  • Wiper blade control
  • Steering wheel
  • Directional
  • Arm rests
  • Cup holders
  • Radio or MP3 player
  • Have a designated way to dispose of used wipes

Getting Out of Your Car:
(You may have guessed this is a reverse process)

  • Start with your keys
  • Steering wheel
  • Inside door handle
  • Open the door
  • Wipe down surfaces you will touch when you get back into your car
  • Directional
  • Arm rests
  • Cup holders
  • Radio or MP3 player
  • Have a designated way to dispose of used wipes

Common Areas Protocol

Some recommendations are to go to your property everyday to clean these areas. We are not in a position to visit each property everyday so we have adapted to take these steps whenever we step onto a property for routine maintenance.

  • Laundry rooms both washer and dryer
  • Any and all controls that may be handled
  • Any other common amenities you provide i. e. vending machines, or grills
  • Dumpster handles, trash can lids and covers

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Hand Sanitizer – Washing Hands

Before Making Contact

It’s a good idea to go into a property clean to assure your residents you are looking out for their well-being. It doesn’t hurt to do this before your cleaning or repairs ritual. Do not share towels or reuse paper towels. Have a designated space to dispose of gloves, wipes, paper towels, and trash.

After Making Contact

It goes without saying that you should be cleaning up after the job and doing the best you can to eliminate the threat of spreading germs. In an ideal situation you should wash your hands at the end of each job. Do not share towels or reuse paper towels. Have a designated space to dispose of gloves, wipes, paper towels, and trash.

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Congratulations! You have successfully completed your task of safely making a round trip in and out of the property for the showing, repairs, maintenance, or for whatever other reason, but now you have gloves, wipes, maybe a sweaty disposable mask in your freshly sanitized hands. Develop a system to regularly dispose of these items before driving away.

The best idea is to take these items with you. You do not want to destroy the trust and rapport you have just worked so hard to build by leaving the disposable items in your resident’s kitchen trash barrel. Perhaps, have a bucket with a trash liner in the van, or a designated trash bag in the trunk of your car, but set aside a place that you will not make contact with until the end of the day when you can properly contain and dispose of any remaining items to be discarded.

What’s on Your Mind?

Do you have any other ideas on this topic you could share to help our online community? Please chime in to share a comment or review. All feedback is welcomed. Thank you in advance for your continued support!

Warmest regards,

Brian Lucier
Belaire Property Management
Regional Property Manager
(978) 448-0669 office
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