COVID-19 has Changed the Landlord/Tenant Relationship for the Better

As landlords prepare to re-open their buildings, they are working closer with tenants than ever before.

Commercial real estate, like almost any other industry, has keenly felt the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many office buildings have been partially, if not completely, vacant for the past six weeks.

As the number of new cases per day decreases, and cities slowly start to lift their lockdown measures, tenants are preparing to return to work and in doing so, have found an unlikely ally: their landlord.

In some buildings prior to the crisis, communication between landlords and tenants was conducted at a bare minimum. Many landlords believed they were most valuable to tenants as a silent partner - only available as they were needed. Tenants were content with this relationship, too; provided the building staff were responsive where there was a maintenance issue, everything was fine.

In recent years, as customer service has become a bigger priority for both tenants and landlords, the relationship has improved. Landlords are taking measures to improve communication and offer more amenities, while tenants are happy to pay more for a workspace that provides a better tenant experience.

Now, as a result of COVID-19, tenants and landlords are communicating even more closely, working together towards a shared goal: getting everyone back to work safely.

It started as COVID-19 began to rapidly spread across the country. State governments began to recommend social distancing and working from home, before eventually enforcing bans on gatherings and non-essential travel. Landlords suddenly needed to alert tenants how the new restrictions would impact building access and operations, sometimes on a daily basis. This was significantly easier for landlords that were already utilizing a tenant communication platform like Elliot.

As restrictions are lifted and buildings begin to plan their re-opening, many tenants are now actively conversing with building owners about what that will look like. Sharing an objective has resulted in a willingness from both parties to expand the relationship.

For example, many buildings are now planning to become more transparent about their cleaning practices in order to reassure tenants that they are returning to a safe work environment. In turn, tenants are being encouraged to report when and what areas of the building they are using so that cleaning staff can sanitize the building more efficiently. Not all tenants, and not all tenant employees, will return on day one, so accurately reporting what spaces (and the furniture and equipment within those spaces) they are using will be critical to ensuring cleaning efforts are as effective as possible.

Some landlords are looking into building-wide food delivery programs that prioritize safety and efficiency. Others are planning to scan the temperature of tenants and visitors as they enter the building, or require that they fill-out a questionnaire about their health. While at any other time this may have raised questions about privacy, tenants are willing to comply with the measures in order to protect themselves and their employees.

Technology has played a role in facilitating all of this. Elliot enables better communication between staff and tenants, including a feature that tells tenants when the spaces they have access to were last cleaned. If the building is also utilizing sensors that integrate with the Elliot platform, additional metrics such as the temperature, air quality, and occupancy of each space can also be provided to the tenant.

Imagine checking an app on your phone to see when the restroom on your floor was last cleaned, or how busy the lobby is before you want to enter or exit the building. That’s possible with Elliot.

However, as much as technology can do these days, strengthening a relationship still requires willing participation from both parties. And as a result of COVID-19, both landlords and tenants are ready to do that.

Elliot helps building owners improve their relationship with tenants, and integrates with a range of smart building technologies that can improve health, safety, and security. Reach out today to sales@elliotmanagement if you’d like to learn more.

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