June 5, 2020

Property Owners: Making Your Rental Unit Covid-Clean.

Covid-19 pandemeic

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, cleaning your property between tenants has taken on a whole new importance. As traveling healthcare workers like travel nurses battle on the frontlines, they need safe and affordable housing while they’re working through their short-term contracts.

Covid-19 pandemeic

Even though a lot of leisure and business travel was shut down, landlords continued to tap into a consistent source of reliable tenants by looking to rent to traveling nurses. Now more than ever, it is imperative to ensure that your unit is properly cleaned and sterilized between tenants.

Learn how you can make sure your rental property is COVID-Clean so that you can continue to make a positive contribution to efforts to control the virus by supporting travel nurses. Here is a recent article from VRMA (Vacation Rental Management Association) specifically for vacation rental housekeeping professionals.

Communicate with Your Cleaning Company

Most landlords hire a cleaning company to help prepare units for the next tenant. Your cleaning company should already have new protocols in place that not only protect their workers, but thoroughly disinfect your home. In general, workers should:

  • Wear disposable gloves and wash their hands before and after cleaning
  • Avoid touching their face
  • Properly ventilate the space while they are cleaning
  • Practice social distancing within the property if more than one worker is present

You should speak with your cleaning company and ask them about new practices they have implemented in order to address CDC recommendations. If they don’t have a clear plan of action and haven’t taken additional steps to combat the spread of COVID-19, it may be time to look for a new cleaning company.

Covid-19 pandemeic

Wear Protective Gear

Anyone who is tackling cleaning a rental unit should be sure to wear the right protective gear. At the very least, you should be wearing protective gloves and a mask. Once gloves are removed, it is important to immediately wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Also, be sure to properly dispose of your gloves and other protective equipment to prevent further contamination.

Pay Special Attention to High-Touch Surfaces

Covid-19 pandemeic

When it comes to cleaning your unit, you will want to pay close attention to what are considered “high-touch” surfaces. These include things like: light switches, door knobs, cabinet hardware, toilets, countertops, etc. The best way to clean these surfaces is with a two-step approach. Begin by cleaning them with soap and hot water and follow-up with a disinfectant.

The CDC recommends that you look for EPA-approved disinfectant products to make sure that you are using something truly effective against the virus. Click here for a list of EPA-approved cleaning products.

How to Clean Soft Surfaces

When it comes to soft, porous surfaces such as rugs, drapes and carpets, begin by spot cleaning any visible stains or signs of contamination. If you are able to put these items in the laundry, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid causing any damage, but also be sure to use the hottest water possible when washing. Also, make sure that the items are completely dry before placing them back in the home. The same recommendations apply to linens, towels and any clothes in the home. You will also want to disinfect laundry baskets and hampers that were used to hold or transport unwashed materials.

Don’t Forget about Electronics

Remote controls, tablets, keyboards and touch screens are also important areas to clean and disinfect. Before you clean these items, check the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you can’t find any information, use sprays and wipes that have at least 70% alcohol. While you don’t want to use enough liquid that it collects, you do want to thoroughly wipe all surfaces. You may also want to consider putting wipeable covers on certain electronics to make them easier to clean more often.

Allow Disinfectant to Sit

Whenever you are using disinfectant to clean a surface, be sure to let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it down. This vital dwell time gives the products the opportunity to kill viruses and microbes

Lengthen Turnaround Times

Usually, landlords are looking to eliminate any periods of vacancy and make sure that their properties are always occupied and bringing in rental income. However, slowing down the turnaround process can help fight COVID-19. According to the most recent findings, airborne virus particles take up to 3 hours to settle. Allowing the property to sit for at least 24 hours before starting the cleaning process can reduce the chances of respiratory transmission. The cleaning crew can then go to work washing and disinfecting surfaces more safely.

Once the property has been cleaned, it is a good idea to have it inspected to make sure that all surfaces have been cleaned according to CDC recommendations. After the inspection, allow another 24-48 hours to pass before moving a new tenant into the rental. Simply spacing out this process can help control the virus and make it safer for new tenants to move in.

Provide Extra Supplies to Guests

While there are still many things we don’t know about COVID-19, we do know that handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus. As a landlord, you can help by providing guests with extra hand soap and sanitizer. Not only is this a thoughtful gesture, it can also encourage your tenants to wash their hands more frequently.

Covid-19 pandemeic

Update Your Listing

Take the time to update your property listing and let potential tenants know exactly what you are doing to make your units safe. Travel nurses are concerned for their safety and want to know that landlords are doing their part to protect tenants. Adding this information to your listing can help you stand out from other properties and let travel nurses know that you are actively working to protect them and provide clean, safe and affordable housing.

There is a good chance that you have always taken great care to clean your rental properties before allowing a new travel nurse tenant to move in. However, diligent cleaning practices have taken on even more importance due to the spread of COVID-19. Once infection numbers begin to decline and the country begins to reopen, it will be vital that landlords continue to implement CDC cleaning recommendations in order to prevent any future outbreaks. Follow these tips to make your unit COVID-19 clean, attract tenants and continue to support the efforts to fight the virus.

For more tips about renting to travel nurses, visit Furnishedfinder.com or Travelnursehousing.com.