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McPherson Property Management in Alert Level 3

By Donna Jones

After working remotely from home for over a month, the McPherson Property Management team are now operating under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 restrictions. Let us share our experience of working in New Zealand’s first ever nationwide ‘lock-down’, and outline how we can conduct business under the rules of Level 3.

Keeping our ‘office culture’ alive

We’re trying to keep our interactions up while working from home (WFH) to replicate the ‘office feel’ as best we can. We meet daily via our “hangout” as we discuss ongoing situations, what’s new and our plans for being back in full business operation.

We also catch up to complete the Quick Quiz in The Press (Christchurch newspaper), which has always been a regular lunchtime team activity in the McPherson Property Management office.

Property Management under Alert Level 4 lock-down

Our approach has been business as usual (albeit under the provisions of the lockdown), so we have continued to advertise forthcoming properties using virtual tours we recorded prior to the lockdown of our vacant stock. This has encouraged continued enquiry for tenants, and we’ve been securing leases, which are subject to status level changes post lockdown.

The team has been in regular contact with both our tenants and owners, updating them on the regulation changes and establishing which properties were vacant for the duration of the lock down. This is so we know how our tenants are coping, and secondly; so that owners of any vacant properties can notify their insurer.

Dealing with urgent property issues during lock-down

Urgent maintenance has been completed — heavy rain and falling autumn leaves are always a great combination as was evidenced with a few leaks in recent weeks. We have been well supported by our regular contractors who have been very prompt in dealing with issues.

We are very mindful of all PPE requirements at this time, when entering any property for both our tenants and contractors and identifying properties where tenants may be self-isolating or unwell.

Moving forward with lease renewals and Healthy Homes implementation deadline

The team have continued to carry out normal tasks, reviewing their forthcoming lease renewals, and these are proceeding with varied terms as again — there is some uncertainty ahead for both tenants and owners.

The additional office time has also allowed us to review our files, our Healthy Homes data in particular, and update this in preparation for the planned 1 July 2020 implementation — a bit like cleaning out the cupboards at home which seems to be the order of the month.

Rental property appraisals during COVID-19 Alert Level 3

Under COVID-19 Alert Level 3, our property managers are carrying out remote appraisals where possible, before following up with a physical appraisal in Alert Level 2. If a remote appraisal cannot be carried out, a property manager can briefly visit the home to complete an appraisal, only with written permission from the landlord and tenants.

If a physical appraisal takes place, it will be completed while observing physical distancing, hygiene, disinfecting and contact tracing guidelines; while minimising time at the property and contact with landlords, residents or both.

Viewing rental properties during COVID-19 Alert Level 3

Pre-qualified would-be tenants can attend private rental property viewings strictly by appointment only. Each listing can only host two private viewings per day, and these must be contactless, with the property manager opening any relevant doors and cupboards prior to the viewing.

Can you move houses during COVID-19 Alert Level 3?

Residents of rental properties can move to a new house during Alert Level 3, including inter-regional moves. End of tenancy final property inspections should not be performed with the landlord and tenant both present. Instead, outgoing tenants are encouraged to take photos to show the condition of the property.

If you’re a landlord or tenant with questions about how to proceed under COVID-19 Alert Level 3, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how we can help.

Stay safe, kia kaha.

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