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With self-isolation rules in place, your condo complex is working at full occupancy. That means residents might start to scrutinize their units a little more closely. They also might be using their appliances more often. These new norms could lead to issues with higher demand for “urgent” fixes. So what does the urgent services request model look like in the age of COVID-19?
Here we offer advice to help you make the right call when managing your urgent requests.
Protect the Property and Assets
As directors of your condo’s board or members of property management companies our job is to ensure you maintain standards of care that protect your residents, your property, and your finances. Your standards for urgent care requests should remain the same. Focus on issues that can lead to serious damage to condo units, the outdoor property, your residents, and your common areas.
Consider the Essential Services List
Following the list of essential services provided by the Ontario government will help. These services ensure the property is running efficiently and include:
• Property management services
• Building superintendents and/or urgent repair services
• Custodial/janitorial services to manage the COVID-19 guidelines
• Private garbage and recycling removal
• Landscaping such as cutting grass, but not new landscaping projects
• Security and concierge services
• Snow and ice removal services
• Legal, engineering, and other professional services
• Routine building systems maintenance for plumbing, electrical, elevator, HVAC, mechanical, fire systems, sprinkler systems, alarm systems, etc.
This is an excellent guide, but keep in mind there are always extenuating circumstances that can arise.
Address Extenuating Circumstances
Address issues on an individual basis. Consideration of the resident’s safety and protection of the property will be the deciding factors.
If the repair doesn’t happen will it cause further issues?
Are residents at risk in the long run or immediately?
Is more serious damage possible due to delaying the resolution?
Asking these questions help you identify requests that will minimize liability, possible harm to residents, and financial risk. For example, a damaged window could cause the glass to fall on the property or people below. This is the type of risk you need to avoid.
Collect Information About the Condo Service Request
You won’t be able to determine urgency without the necessary details. Ask the resident to send images and describe the issue in detail. Understand their experience from their perspective and why they feel the situation requires urgent attention. This will allow you to make the right call.
Condo Property Management Companies Must Remain Responsive
The key is to remain responsive and address each request as soon as possible, depending on its level of urgency. If you determine a request is non-essential, provide a thorough explanation to the resident. People might not realize their repairs are not considered an essential service. In some cases you might consider arranging a visit to assess the urgency.
Practice COVID-19 Social Distancing
Schedule both assessments and repairs when the resident isn’t home. Also, ensure residents inform you if they are experiencing symptoms of the virus. This prepares the worker to use proper protection. Disinfect the work area after repairs, including light switches and door handles.
During the pandemic, stopping minor issues from becoming emergencies and reducing risk for secondary damage is the goal to aim for.
If you are in the process of looking at condo property management companies in Toronto, consider speaking with one of our team members from CPO Management Inc. Our experience in managing properties in crisis situations is tremendous. And the results that we achieve for our Toronto condominium clients speak for themselves. Reach out to us today.