Health and safety for multifamily buildings in today’s environment

When COVID-19 began to take hold in the US in the spring of 2020, those involved in multifamily real estate were thrust into uncharted territory. Buyers and sellers of multifamily properties wondered if they should—or even could—move forward with transactions, and owners and property managers were reeling at the questions and uncertainty around keeping buildings safe. The logistics of safe multifamily operations Multifamily spaces understandably present a much more complex set of concerns than single family homes. Property owners and managers have now become responsible for implementing a series of evolving health and safety guidelines that they could not have foreseen coming their way. Even the logistics around managing space and tenant safety in a duplex are significant compared to a small rental bungalow.

Increased property maintenance, hygiene, and safety, and adapting to the upsurge in home deliveries have all landed on the owner/manager’s already crowded plates. But there’s even more:

  • Essential onsite staff must be monitored weekly—and sometimes, daily—to identify personal health concerns and to ensure that all safety protocols are being strictly followed

  • Common areas like lobbies, elevators, stairwells, mailbox areas, and shared outdoor spaces need to be sanitized regularly throughout the day, and multi-lingual signage must be added to spaces to remind tenants, their visitors, and service personnel about recommended protocols

  • Common points of congestion such as elevators, mailboxes, and entrances/exits should be identified and upgraded, modified, or managed to facilitate proper physical distancing

  • Furnishings in shared spaces like lobbies and outdoor entertaining areas should be reconfigured to encourage physical distancing and one-way movement

  • Meetings such as property showings, inspections, appraisals, final walk-throughs, and signings must be by appointment, with only essential individuals in attendance

  • At-risk older tenants are a particular concern and must be monitored and protected to keep their risk of exposure to COVID-19 minimal

  • Tenants who have been exposed or become ill should be reported to local health agencies and other tenants must be informed - all while protecting the privacy of those concerned

Best practices for multifamily properties

As with any high-traffic space, best practices for multifamily buildings should include maintaining safe density and building capacity to minimize the effects of COVID-19 on tenants, visitors, and delivery personnel. This can be most effectively accomplished by utilizing real-time data culled from the buildings themselves.

There are three overarching best practices that should be implemented to help property owners and managers eliminate uncertainty and increase safety. These are:

1. Maintenance: Let data guide you

During a time when more tenants are consistently at home, it’s important to have building data to support cleaning and maintenance decisions:

  • If possible, remotely assess the urgency of any maintenance issues before taking action

  • Use building data to decide whether it’s safe to send maintenance staff into residential units

  • Share data findings with tenants to support the need for maintenance of their unit

  • Use data shared spaces (laundry rooms, gyms, lobbies) from sensor or appliance usage data to determine where cleaning crews are needed most

2. No data? Use DIY research

If building data isn’t available or doesn’t exist, make your management and maintenance plan based upon your own research:

  • Reach out to tenants and get information on issues and concerns

  • Determine their comfort level with having maintenance performed in-person

  • If your building offers wi-fi and/or coworking spaces, get tenant input into their needs around infrastructure and services

3. Make technology investments now

Future-proof your business with strategic investments in the tools and technologies that will be needed when future events impact the economy and our culture:

  • Build out the infrastructure to offer virtual or self-touring options for future prospective tenants

  • Consider deploying smart locks and apps as a lower cost, more convenient, and more efficient mode of operation

  • Look into smart appliances that give you insight that will help you assess data on maintenance needs or laundry room usage

  • Install sensors to gather data on traffic in common spaces

  • Provide remote access capabilities to streamline deliveries

With a plan built upon current health and safety guidelines and using targeted real-time data, common-area optimization to achieve compliance is significantly easier.

Capacity monitoring for multifamily real estate: HealthySpaces by Nomad Go

Our HealthySpaces solution provides metrics and insights that help multifamily owners and property managers keep buildings safe. Providing critical metrics such as room occupancy, mask usage, direct control of building management systems and more through our end-to-end computer vision platform, HealthySpaces can scale easily to serve multiple locations.

HealthySpaces helps:

  • Optimize layouts for safety and provides data to develop more accurate safety management plans

  • Provide instant updates to onsite staff and tenants on building conditions

  • Create healthier environments for tenants, staff, and visitors through direct HVAC control

Contact us at to learn more.

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