How to Ensure Social Distancing in Shared Housing

Written by Olya Doronyuk

December 10, 2020

This year, the property management industry faced a ton of unprecedented challenges that, to a certain extent, changed the perception of effective rental management. Along with the national lockdown and stay-at-home orders, statewide eviction moratoriums forced landlords and property owners to update their current lease agreements to stay relevant in a new reality. Also, the transition to digital has shaken things up and shifted the focus to online rental tools. 

But since the world is still fighting a pandemic, health and safety remain the biggest priority. For that reason, landlords worldwide have established safety guidelines to secure their residents in both single-family homes and apartment complexes. While it’s easier to ensure social distancing and reduce close in-person contact in a separate house, living in shared housing is still somewhat of a challenge. 

The truth is, you’re unlikely to be able to monitor your tenants 24/7 to see if they are wearing protective masks when entering the building or if they’re keeping their distance on a daily basis. So we’ve collected five simple, but effective rules, on how to protect your tenants from contracting coronavirus in shared accommodations and stay sane during the tough times:

Encourage your tenants to inform you if they’ve contracted COVID-19.

According to a TurboTenant survey, only half of all US tenants would reveal their COVID-19 positive status to their landlords and neighbors, and about 34% of respondents would be worried about visiting the building’s common spaces in case their neighbor had coronavirus. 

That’s why it makes sense to take precautions by encouraging your tenants to notify you if they’ve caught the virus. This will potentially reduce the risk of COVID-19 for other residents of the housing. Send a message letting tenants know your reason for wanting to stay informed and assure them that it will not affect their tenancy.  

Remember that discrimination against Coronavirus-positive tenants is unlawful. If you’ve noticed any type of prejudiced attitude towards them, try to resolve the issue at once to avoid any possible conflicts. 

Make sure common spaces are cleaned properly.

In the midst of the pandemic, adequate sanitation is the most effective measure you can take. To make your property a safer place, go the extra mile and disinfect all the surfaces in the common areas like hallways, elevators, laundry rooms, etc. You should also create sanitation stations at each common entrance with hand sanitizer for residents coming and going.

To get more helpful information, check out the guidelines on the cleaning and disinfection of households. 

Pay particular attention to the elevators- not all the residents are going to take the stairs.

In shared housing, encourage your renters to use stairs instead of elevators. It’s hard to maintain physical distance in the elevator and the infected passengers can potentially transmit the virus or leave germs on the surfaces. 

But to stay on the safe side, disinfect both the elevator buttons and staircase railings as regularly as possible. 

Make wearing masks obligatory in common areas.

Even if masks are compulsory in public transportation and inside public spaces, most people don’t put a face-covering on when entering their apartment complex.  

For landlords, it’s easy to manage- place a “Face Mask Required” sign at the front door of your property to inform all of your residents that the masks must be worn indoors in all common areas. 

Encourage your renters to take lockdown seriously. 

Though some people may disagree, following the lockdown rules is the key to tackling the rise in coronavirus cases. Limiting physical contact, avoiding crowding in common spaces, wearing a protective mask, washing hands, self-isolating when feeling sick, disinfecting the surfaces- these are just some basic tips everyone should be following if they live in a high-density space.

You may also want to read other recommendations on disease prevention to protect yourself and others. 

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