These are very trying times for all people living in Canada and the rest of the world as things are quickly changing surrounding COVID-19. As a landlord, some of your tenants may have been affected by COVID-19 directly or indirectly. Today, we provide some tips to consider when helping your tenants feel safe on the property:
Establish regular communication with your tenants
Maintain regular communication with your tenants and let them know what you, as a landlord, are doing to help address and limit the spread of COVID-19. Keeping your tenants informed as situations change will help them feel safer on the property. When changes are implemented on the property, inform your tenants right away so everyone is aware and can comply to these changes.
Clean premises more frequently and thoroughly
Everyone must the take necessary steps to protect their own health as well as that of your tenants. Arrange to have common areas cleaned and sanitized more frequently to protect everyone's health. In addition to common areas, clean and sanitize things that are frequently touched or handled (such as doors and door handles, mailboxes, elevators and elevator buttons).
Close non-essential common areas and amenities
In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, close non-essential common areas and amenities (including party rooms, pools, gyms, shared terraces and bars that are on the premise). By closing non-essential common areas, you can limit the shared spaces where COVID-19 can easily spread between tenants.
For common areas that you cannot close (such as the lobby and mail room) offer to provide hand sanitizer to tenants to use when entering these common areas to limit the spread of germs.
Reducing traffic coming into the building
As a landlord, try to limit the number of vendors coming to the property, unless they are coming to help thoroughly clean and sanitize. Ask your tenants to do their part by limiting the number of visitors coming into the building to reinforce social distancing measures.
If you wish, you can post a sign at the entrances of the property and at the elevators asking people not to enter or visit the property in the event that they are unwell or showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Educate tenants on available financial aid from the government
Be aware that many people are being affected by COVID-19 beyond getting the virus. As temporary closures have been implemented throughout Canada, many people are losing their jobs along with their source of income. Those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 will struggle to pay rent.
Let your tenants know that if they are going through a difficult time due to COVID-19, the government of Canada is providing Employment Insurance (EI) as well as a new government benefit program to help relief some of their financial struggles. This program known as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) offers income support to those who lost pay due to COVID-19 but can’t qualify for EI. This is important because as a landlord, ensuring your tenants are able to pay rent will help fund to pay your financial obligations every month as well.
As you may have heard, CMHC has announced that they are supporting the multi-unit residential apartment sector by offering a temporary mortgage payment deferral program for qualified borrowers. To learn more about this program and see if you and your property qualify, read First National’s FAQ section for more details.
Prevention is key and everyone needs to do their part
Let your tenants know that is it very much their part, as much as it is yours, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In doing so, ask them to:
- Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially when existing and entering the property.
- If they can’t wash their hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands.
- Cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve, and do not use their hands.
- Limit the number of visitors entering and leaving the property.
- Practice social distancing whenever they can.
Staying home when feeling sick
Advise your tenants that if they are sick, feeling sick or showing symptoms of COIVD-19 to stay home and remain in self-isolation until they are feeling better or have passed the recommended 14-day self-isolation period.
If they’re not feeling well, they should seek appropriate medical attention. If they are sick and require to leave their unit for medical attention, ask them to wear a face mask when they leave their units and avoid taking elevators or stairs with other people.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the following websites:
COVID-19 updates and resources: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
People who are financially affected by COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
COVID-19 prevention: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html