To help multifamily companies balance safety, resident satisfaction, company viability, and legal compliance as they begin to reopen communities, Grace Hill has launched a series of articles and tools that support the reopening response. Part one of the series introduces strategies for reducing liability risk. Part two of the series discusses establishing new leasing practices.
Part 3 – Resuming Amenity & Maintenance Services
The way you resume amenity and maintenance services plays a big role in how safe your residents feel in their community. Our May Resident Sentiment Survey shows that only 52% of residents feel safe in their community since the COVID-19 outbreak, compared to 62% in April. This impacts overall resident satisfaction and willingness to renew at and recommend their community: NPS scores shifted down in the recent data, with 54% being detractors (unwilling to recommend their community) vs. 48% in April.
Document & Communicate New Policy
It’s important to remember that reopening is not a return to the pre-COVID-19 environment. To preserve safety and reduce potential liability, you will need to make changes to your former amenity and maintenance protocols. New guidelines need to be written down to provide guidance for your employees, expectations for your residents, and documentation in the case you are called on to defend your practices. If you don’t communicate your actions, employees and residents will assume you’re doing nothing.
Tailor Guidelines to Individual Communities
While it’s important to reference any guidelines you use to develop community policy, you should always tailor these guidelines to the individual community. For example, the CDC supplies excellent recommendations for maintenance during COVID-19; however, not all of their recommendations will apply to every community. It is not effective or efficient to simply hand these materials over to your maintenance team or cleaning staff. You need to tailor the guidelines to individual community policy.
Download our Reopening Multifamily: Strategic Response Workbook to establish your strategy for resuming amenity and maintenance services and identify where new communication, technology, policies, and training are needed.
Get Resident Input
Many companies assume that residents are clamoring for a reopening of amenity spaces because that is what they are hearing from the residents who contact them. However, it’s important to remember that the residents who contact you directly are only a subset of your resident population and often don’t represent the views of the full population. Our May Resident Sentiment Survey revealed that 48% of residents are “not comfortable using at all” the gym (even with social distancing measures in place) and 47% feel the same way about the pool. (13% said they were “not at all comfortable” with resuming in-unit service requests.)
While it is unlikely that you will design reopening policies to fit the comfort level of every resident, it is helpful to know what your residents really think when developing policy. In addition to telling you what their reopening comfort level is, surveying your residents can help you get a more accurate reading of your residents’ level of satisfaction with their community and the community’s pandemic response
Follow the Series
Stay tuned for our next installment, Reopening Multifamily: Handling Rent Collection, Late Fees & Evictions.