Adapting in a Crisis

Katie McMillan
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Unless you live in complete seclusion (if so, send us a pin drop, we want to join you!), you have likely seen or heard about the important changes businesses have implemented to ensure the safety of their team and customers due to COVID-19.

As property managers provide an essential service, adapting to these changes while maintaining the ability to keep a roof over our customer’s heads has been a surprisingly easy transition for our company. In fact, it motivated us to implement service changes that have benefited our team, as well as our customers. Some of these changes have been so positive that we will continue to offer many of them even as social distancing guidelines and other restrictions are eased.

One of the most popular initiatives has been to allow prospective tenants the opportunity to “rent remotely”. We adjusted our leasing process to give tenants virtual tours rather than in-person showings with our leasing agents. If you live far away from Brandon, this service is ideal to help determine which rental property is a good fit for your future relocation to the Wheat City. We are excited to continue to offer virtual tours indefinitely to help with the vetting process, specifically for the convenience of customers who don’t live within the city.

Once apartment seekers have had a virtual tour and have given their stamp of approval on a particular unit, they can then take advantage of our online application process. Again, we have found this to be an excellent remote service for those who wish to social distance or for those who live outside of Brandon. While this isn’t a new service offered by VHP, it has been extremely beneficial during the pandemic.

With the initial onset of strict social distancing guidelines, one change that we had to implement was a self-guided move in, but this service did not prove to be popular. As a result, it has dwindled from our leasing process with the easing of restrictions. We discovered that tenants prefer the guidance of our leasing agents and that we missed not being able to meet our new tenants! Our agents are still respecting and adhering to the two-meter rule, or as our CEO says, “Staying one hockey stick away at all times!” However, those with health concerns or those who prefer the added safety of social distancing can still request a self-guided move in.

In the past, automatic payment options have always been a preference of our company through our automatic rent withdrawal service, however, as part of the changes we made due to COVID-19, we also implemented an e-transfer payment option for deposits. This is great for those who aren’t set up for automatic withdrawal, and it’s convenient for our customers as it saves them a trip to the bank or post office. Another great service that we plan to keep in the future.

So while the circumstances of the 2020 pandemic have challenged and affected many of us (some positively, some negatively) we are proud to say that we have been able to adapt and the outcome of our changed business practices has been positive for our customers and our entire team.

Vionell Holdings Partnership (VHP) provides rental housing and property management for an array of residential and commercial customers, including Condominium Management. VHP currently has over 4,000 units under management in Manitoba.  For more information please visit www.vhproperties.ca.