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COVID-19 and Spring Cleaning for Landlords

The recent COVID-19 global pandemic has affected everyone here in Pittsburgh, PA. Many businesses have been forced to shut down, and we all face an uncertain future. In the property management world, we realize that while our busy consumer world has come to an abrupt halt, humanity has not! People do and will continue to require basic needs for survival such as food, utilities, and shelter. 

Landlords are in the shelter business. Landlord  responsiblity to provide clean and safe housing more crucial now than every before. As spring is upon us, for many residents, it means that it’s time to move. What measures need to be taken to make sure we do all we can to reduce the chance of exposure through a resident turnover?  We came up with a list of things to consider:

-At this point, it is unknown exactly how many days the virus can live on a surface. It may be wise to consider a time gap between residents to increase the likelihood of viral die-off.

-In between residents, a professional cleaning company should be hired to conduct a thorough cleaning in adherence to the CDC guidelines for decontamination (see below for a guideline summary).

-Depending on the location of the rental property, it may be in a jurisdiction that is under a mandated ‘shelter in place’ order. This means that showings likely need to be delayed until the previous tenant has moved out.

-For vacant properties, we advise giving prospective renters the option to have a virtual tour. This will allow anyone to take a thorough tour from the comfort of home, eliminating the potential for exposure.

-All leases should be negotiated remotely. With special technology software, even leases can be signed online.

-While all resident health information is confidential information, residents should be asked if they would voluntarily let the Landlord know if they or a loved-one has tested positive for COVID-19 so that scheduling for property evaluations and maintenance repairs can be done around quarantines.

At Real Property Management Pittsburgh, we are fortunate to already have online systems in place to make dealing with the COVID-19 breakout easier for our clients. Our employees continue to work on all cylinders remotely to make sure our residents have all the support they need during this turbulent time.

Below are guidelines for coronavirus cleanning and disinfecting from the CDC.

Cleaning and disinfecting:
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
      • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
        • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
        • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
    • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
      Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples at this link) that are suitable for porous surfaces.

Clothing, towels, linens, and other items that go in the laundry

 

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
    • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
    • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.