COVID-19 has shaken up the entire world, and now everyone from airlines to amusement parks is implementing new safety measures as we slowly transition to living with the virus. Landlords and the real estate market are also making changes of their own in an effort to keep their office tenants safe and more comfortable. We’ll break down the adjustments they’ve been making in this new age of viruses and security and what tenants ought to look for when considering renting.
Precautions for Tenants’ Safety
Of course, landlords can’t control everything or protect their tenants from every aspect of COVID-19, but they can take certain precautions. That means they’ll take measures like suggesting wearing masks in areas with heavy foot traffic like gyms, lobbies, or common areas. They can also encourage tenants to use frequent hand washing or hand sanitizer, as well as have more frequent cleanings and wipe downs of frequently used or touched objects like door handles or stair railing.
This one is a bit tricky. If a tenant is diagnosed with COVID-19, they are not legally required to inform their landlord, or anyone else really. Still, landlords should have a so-called “disaster plan” written out, which is an actionable plan that can be followed if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in the building. It includes strategies to keep other tenants safe, what steps to follow to inform the media and health authorities, if necessary, and how to keep everyone calm and communicative. This plan, unlike fire escapes, does not need to be displayed publicly, but a good landlord should have one devised and ready to implement.
Use Resources to Prevent COVID-19
Of course, most landlords are not running hospitals or other medical facilities. But that doesn’t mean they can’t adopt some measures to secure against COVID-19. In addition to having extra cleanings and sanitation in heavily trafficked areas, landlords might consider updating their infrastructure against any potential viruses. This could be installing more effective air filters, spacing out tables or sitting areas in public spaces for social distancing, providing tenants or common areas with hand sanitizer dispensers, and more.
Unfortunately, crime and violence have increased in the wake of COVID-19, so it’s important to have a landlord that values your security. Be on the lookout for landlords whose property utilizes technology to secure the building and even the parking areas. This includes smart keys and keycards, and surveillance cameras. Note that, while landlords can place security cameras in common areas, they cannot put them in private spaces like your room or apartment.
We hope this information was valuable to you. Even though COVID-19 is a divisive topic, we believe it should be taken seriously. And so will a good landlord, and they’ll take precautions and security measures to guard against this and other viruses and their collateral effects. These are several ways that a good landlord will do so, and we hope that you find them helpful in your search if you’re a soon-to-be tenant. The first step in any search for new space or discussion with a property owner should be engaging a broker to look out for you and your needs. The team at ChicagoBroker.com is always available to answer your questions and assist with any commercial property transactions.