We’re all a bit overwhelmed and surprised by this COVID-19 thing and it’s permeated every aspect of our lives. Everything is wired for reaction; touch something and a bell goes off across the room. We’re all on high alert. It seems hard to know what to do, who to talk to, what to say, how to do the right thing, and actually what the right thing is to do. Sort of like being caught in a spider web. The key is to be the spider in the center and not the bug caught in the web.

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has just about everyone, including commercial property owners, pulling out disaster plans or plans that include income interruption for short and intermediate term. The problem is some will find the plans haven’t been updated in some time, or they don’t have one at all. That makes the problem many, many times worse. You’re playing a game of catch-up that you can’t win.

One short article can’t cover most of the information you would want at your fingertips but a good sampling can give you an idea. And since we’re talking about COVID-19, the examples will be in some cases specific. Here are but a few necessary pieces to making it through these challenging times:

  • Accurate and updated contact information for all tenants, contractors/vendors and creditors
  • Contact information for Medical facilities
  • Contact information for all employees (Do you have all emails and phone numbers? What about for their emergency contacts? Oh wait, it’s at the office? Uh, oh.)
  • Contact information for your attorney
  • Latest approved postings from the CDC to share and post
  • Latest notices from state and local jurisdictions concerning opening and closing of the facility. I mean, who would have thought we’d be under a “Stay-at-Home Order?”
  • Copies of your insurance policies
  • Copies of lease agreements
  • Latest accounts payable
  • Latest accounts receivable
  • Latest cashflow statement
  • Draft of a notice letter to tenants concerning access to the building
  • Draft of policy concerning any rent abatement or deferral

Again, this is just a representative list and it usually gets much bigger as time and circumstances dictate. It doesn’t account for the policy decisions that need to be made. It doesn’t account for the many telephone calls coming in and going out between the many people and entities that become involved hourly and daily.

Documentation during this time IS CRUCIAL… For example, who’s occupying their space and who is not. It goes back to the spider web and the spider. The many people, the activities, the interactions, the notices, are the web and at the center is the spider taking it all in.

In circumstances like this that’s us, the property management team at Pikes Northwest. That’s what we do or help you do as the owner of commercial property. Notices to tenants, to contractors, to employees, postings that are CDC compliant, reviewing lease agreements, and discussing rent relief in some cases. The people taking the calls and passing on only the important information and decisions to you the property owner. We’re your spider and then some. The web is where we operate. We keep you from being a bug and we keep other spiders at bay.

As you look at your current situation and your disaster planning, consider including a property management team. But if you decide to go it on your own, please update your existing plan and if you have none, best get started. Be the spider.

AUTHOR: Tom Cowan, Jr. is a private investor, a long-time Salem resident and lifelong Oregonian. He is retired from the ODVA after a 27-plus year career culminating as the Deputy Director and COO. Tom’s also a retired Captain in the Oregon Army National Guard. He has also jointly owned and operated several businesses in the healthcare, real estate and education sectors with great success.