Property Management in San Francisco has always been challenging, with the myriad rules and regulations that apply to rentals, and COVID-19 has added even more complexity to the process. Here’s how Gaetani is changing the way we work to continue delivering the best service possible to our clients and tenants, while helping support the public health:

Internal Operations: Our office is currently closed to the public until the Shelter in Place Order (SIP) is lifted. The accounting team has been working in shifts, and practicing social distancing, in addition to working from home throughout the pandemic. This setup has ensured that the cash flow our clients depend on is still there. We have also continued to process invoices for our vendors, who have appreciated the continued cash flow as well.

Our other personnel such as the property managers and manager assistants are working at full capacity but doing so remotely from home. Over the past 10 years we have gradually made the switch over to cloud software, exchange server emails, and a VoIP phone system. This technology allows our property managers to field maintenance requests as well as remain in contact with our clients, tenants, and vendors alike. Service has continued uninterrupted.

Rent/Evictions: The City of San Francisco has put a moratorium on evictions during the COVID health crisis. To comply with this directive, we are currently not serving 3-day notices. We have received hundreds of requests for rent deferrals over the past 6 weeks and have executed many rent deferment agreements.

Our biggest challenge has been with commercial tenants shutting down and unable to pay the monthly rent. Their leases are not as straightforward and the State of California has not extended any protections, other than the eviction moratorium, that make it easy to negotiate deferrals or rent waivers. So each situation needs to be handled individually with our clients.

Showing Apartments: We are only showing apartments in properties that do not have common area hallways. We heard concerns from tenants regarding apartment showings so have put in place our own policy to only show duplexes/single family homes that do not endanger our current tenants. This policy will change as the SIP orders are lifted. All showings are conducted with a facemask, gloves, hand sanitizer, and individually – not in larger groups like an open house.

Maintenance: We have asked our tenants to only submit requests that are absolutely necessary and relate to life safety issues such as broken fridge/stove, broken windows/locks, or routine plumbing repairs. Overall our maintenance has been down portfolio wide as bringing vendors into units puts everyone at risk and our tenants don’t want strangers in their units completing repairs as well.

Property Inspections: In the early days of the outbreak, we instituted a temporary hold on our property inspections as we didn’t want to put our inspectors and tenants at risk.  But we recently made the decision to resume a scaled back version of our property inspections. Outfitted with the proper PPE, our inspectors are now doing walkthroughs of the common areas and exteriors, with a focus on life safety issues. 

As this crisis will be with us for some time to come, our clients and tenants are benefiting from Gaetani’s 70+ years and three generations of expert property management in San Francisco. For more information about how we’re working to keep everyone and every property under our management safe, please contact us.

Photo: Philippe Put via Flickr/Creative Commons

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