4 Things Property Managers Can Do To Create A Healthy Living Environment
One of the most significant challenges that tenants face regarding their living conditions is an overall lack of control. They aren’t in charge of their own maintenance, generally can’t paint or change the carpeting, and are overall highly limited. In older properties, this is further compounded by issues like mold and poor air quality, which has been linked to increased asthma rates. What, then, is a concerned tenant to do?
Unfortunately, while tenants may not have much recourse in these matters beyond appealing to the property manager, property managers should be very concerned about creating a healthy living environment. Not only can hazardous conditions create legal risks, but unhappy tenants will move on to new properties.
By focusing on these four manageable elements, however, property managers can support tenant health and satisfaction, and increase their loyalty.
Set Ground Rules
Property managers help maintain both the physical housing units and the community among tenants, and addressing tenant behavior can go a long way towards easing air quality issues. In particular, property managers may include rules against pet ownership and smoking in the rental agreement, since animal dander and smoke can trigger asthma and allergies. These rules may be contentious and involve balancing issues, and you may have to mediate some conflicts over second-hand smoke, but it’s an important health rule and could even amount to an ADA issue if it is making other tenants sick and you fail to intervene.
Among the many responsibilities that fall to property managers, day-to-day maintenance is among the most important. Often this means responding quickly to plumbing problems or leaky ceilings – emergency calls – but property managers also need to plan and direct regular maintenance. As part of this, property managers should ensure that they schedule HVAC maintenance and have the maintenance crew install high quality, HEPA air filters. This will minimize particulate matter in the air and improve indoor air quality.
Manage Mold Issues
Mold is a serious problem in many properties, especially in parts of the south that are humid and vulnerable to hurricanes and flooding, but it can happen anywhere. For example, older apartments may have mold behind bathroom tiles, or caused by roof damage, and it may not always be visible. How, then, are you supposed to prevent or eliminate mold?
There are several steps that property managers can take to address mold damage, starting with regular inspections. It’s important to inspect the boundaries of the property to ensure water doesn’t pool against the foundation. That can cause the sort of slow moisture seepage that mold thrives on. If you notice persistent water pooling, your maintenance team can install additional drainage channels to funnel water away from the foundation.
Another way property managers can prevent mold issues that might make tenants sick is by making sure the gutters are kept clean. That’s because when water backs up in gutters, it can get under the roof, causing leaks that lead to mold. In colder areas, ice dams can further damage the roof, making the property even more vulnerable.
Carpet can make a space feel homey, and it’s cheaper to install budget carpeting than it is to place wood flooring. The downside, though, is that carpeting can make air quality much worse by housing dust mites and other allergens, and it’s even worse if tenants’ have pets.
When planning renovations, look into installing attractive but affordable flooring options like bamboo, which mimics the appearance of hardwood. Tenants can always place area rugs in their apartments if they wish, but in the long-term, eliminating carpet will benefit everyone.
While tenants can take steps like placing portable air filters and dehumidifiers in their apartments, vacuuming regularly, and managing their own bad habits, as a property manager, you need to lay the groundwork. It will make a big difference in their living experience and may even make your properties some of the most in-demand rentals around.