The COVID-19 pandemic changed so much about how we live and work, but for Daniel Management Group, what it couldn’t change was our commitment to delivering exceptional service to our residents. At a time when people had so much to worry about with respect to their health and their livelihood – we knew they were entrusting their wellbeing and security in their homes to us.
Remaining hands on, even off site
The biggest change for us, like for many businesses, was learning to run the office side of property management entirely remotely while still providing the same efficient, responsive care to our properties. For some of our smaller properties that are located on scattered sites around the city, we have always run without on-site office staff, and so the transition was less jarring to our employees or residents. However, for our larger properties with on-site staffs both here in the Chicago area and out of state, we were in uncharted territory.
Because we’ve always embraced technology and had ways for our residents to communicate, schedule and pay rent online or through a mobile application, we’ve been able to provide the good service our clients expect and keep our buildings running smoothly. Our office staff is working entirely remotely and can answer existing resident questions and take inquiries from apartment seekers, providing 3-D digital tours of our vacant apartments and videos of occupied apartments (supplied by the existing residents). Demand is still strong for our apartments, and people have adapted to leasing without physically touring the apartment. We think virtual tours will be here to stay because they dramatically improve the experience and efficiency of a prospective renter during their apartment search, reducing the number of apartments they actually tour to one or two.
On the maintenance side, we are following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to clean common areas, with an additional focus on high-touch points. For the safety of our residents and our maintenance staff, we also made a temporary shift to only completing emergency work orders. In all cases, our staff is practicing social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment provided by DMG.
Helping residents in a challenging time
In addition to residents’ concerns about staying healthy, COVID-19 shutdowns of many businesses also created financial burdens including loss of employment. We have residents with long histories of timely payments who have lost their capacity to pay. We are communicating with our residents more and supplying them with as many resources as possible – including where to go to sign up for unemployment, how to sign up for direct deposit with the IRS, a list of companies that are hiring, etc. Ultimately, we want to help keep our residents part of our community, if possible.
Management matters more than ever
Daniel Management Group’s slogan is “Management Matters” – this sentiment is never truer than in challenging times. The most sophisticated, experienced and efficient operators will be best positioned to communicate well and keep their residents safe and happy, provide excellent service to their owner clients, and adapt procedures according to the best practices the moment requires.