Kris Thorkelson on How Property Managers Need to Adapt to Covid-19

Shelter ranks in the foundational level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, right next to food, water, air, and sleep for a reason. It is a vital need, essential for the psychological and physiological well-being of people. Many Canadian families have faced unprecedented struggles to meet this need as their incomes dried up with the global economic downturn. Spring 2020 has been particularly difficult.

“What happened is far beyond the imagination of most people. Many people did not survive. Some well-established companies did not survive either. This is a real time for us to come together and be kind to each other, ”said Kris Thorkelson Thorwin, owner of Thorwin Properties in Winnipeg, which owns a portfolio of apartment and condominium buildings.

How property managers must adapt to Covid-19
Image created by Market Business News.

Anthony Tropea, president and co-founder of Ellicott Real Estate Group, wrote to Forbes that in mid-March, when everything first came to a halt and stay-at-home orders were in place, the unprecedented number of people who lost their jobs and filed for unemployment Caused government backlog in efforts to provide assistance to Canadians Emergency response benefits and payment terms have been lengthened.

Basic necessities have become hard to find

Historically responsible people who made it their business to pay their bills on time and keep healthy meals on the table for their children suddenly couldn’t pay their mortgages or rent and found themselves in need of basic necessities. .

The pandemic proved to be a time of humility in history with parallels only truly found in the Great Depression. Many businesses have closed their doors as families and organizations struggle and their financial situation has changed in incredible ways.

The domino effect of the pandemic on tenants has made property management increasingly difficult.

For some homeowning mothers, who spent pennies buying the property to rent for retirement, they saw their dreams of a comfortable retirement fade when their properties were foreclosed. Tropea highlighted. Others were able to pay off the mortgages, but felt like they were in a bind.

COVID-19 bad for property managers

Two recent surveys of property managers revealed that 64% say COVID-19 has negatively impacted the profitability of their business.

As Tropea noted, the relationship between a property owner / manager and a tenant should be just that – a relationship. Communication takes on increasing importance as owners, managers and tenants seek to weather the storm together.

Anticipating tenant difficulties, a Canadian landlord contacted all tenants to see if they were going to have problems with the rent. For those who responded that they would, the owner used the last month’s security deposit to ease their financial strains for that month and gave them an extra 30 days to generate income or find a solution.

“This is a great example of how communication helps solve problems and can help tenants realize that a landlord is a compassionate human being, as opposed to the misperception. It will also greatly contribute to a positive owner feedback for future tenants, ”Tropea said.

This movement for collaboration and a sense of humanity during the pandemic is not uncommon, said Kris Thorkelson.

“My company and everyone else I know has worked tirelessly to find solutions for tenants,” he added.

Income growth put on hold

According to the Buildium surveys, property managers have had to put revenue growth ‘on the back burner as COVID-19 has brought financial hardship to the doors of many of their residents, and property managers have done their part to help them weather this unexpected crisis “.

Of these help measures, the majority have worked with tenants to create rental repayment plans over time, more than a third have kept rental rates stable, and 79% of property managers have given up. charges that are a major source of income, such as late fees or convenience charges.

“The industry is adapting, as the world is, as we have to – in order to survive and to help our tenants survive this,” noted Thorkelson.

It is a unique moment when relationships can be strengthened between all people and between landlords and tenants.

“We can strengthen relationships through proper decorum, common courtesy and respect. In this time of great trial, let us be aware that we are indeed in the same boat and commit to treating each other with the respect that all humanity deserves ”, Tropea wrote.

Interesting related article: What is an owner? ”