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9 Questions to Ask When Moving Apartments During Coronavirus

By: Justin Chaplin
April 28, 2020

Just because we’re living through a pandemic doesn’t mean moving and renting an apartment during coronavirus is off-limits. However, there are ways you can reduce your risk for exposure and successfully rent an apartment in your wishlist neighborhood. 

Stay safe and be proactive to protect your health and those around you. Before you sign the next lease, here are nine questions to ask before you move to a new apartment during coronavirus

1. Are Common Areas Regularly Cleaned?

Your brand new apartment may offer a safe space where you’re in control of how it’s cleaned and disinfected and who enters and exits. However, common areas like the lobby, fitness center, laundry facilities, roof deck, and even the elevator and hallways are out of your control.

Ask the property management how common areas in your apartment complex are cleaned during coronavirus. Hopefully, they are following CDC protocols for cleaning and disinfecting facilities.

After you move in, make sure you properly disinfect your apartment.

2. How Are Repairs Handled?

It’s always good practice for finding out how repairs are handled at your apartment complex. Coronavirus can complicate maintenance requests and creates a sense of urgency around its protocols.

Will your property management enter your apartment and practice social distancing? Can you wait in another room for repairs or take a walk? Find out what to expect and ask to put it in writing, so everyone is on the same page during a change in management.

3. How are Contractors/Vendors Being Handled During Coronavirus?

Contractors from cleaners to maintenance specialists need to access any apartment building for necessary repairs and services. Ask what the process is to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Will they arrive at a time when tenants are working and out of common areas? Is there a set schedule so everyone can plan?

Things will be in flux and up in the air as we learn how to live with the ups and downs of coronavirus. But as a general rule, it’s a red flag if property management has no pandemic plan for handling contractors and shrugs off your questions. 

4. How Does the Doorman Handle Social Distancing?

If you’re fortunate enough to score an apartment with a doorman, you can look forward to someone signing for your packages and keeping the building running smoothly. But a doorman building also comes with added stress during coronavirus.

Ask property management how contractors will perform their duties while maintaining a safe distance. You can also ask who their preferred contractors are to look into their coronavirus processes yourself.

5. What Methods Does Property Management Use to Communicate with Tenants?

Whether you’re renting an apartment during coronavirus or during a time when the world feels a little more normal, it’s essential to ask about property management communication. Find out how often and what method they use for tenant communications, including:

  • Text
  • Email
  • Common area bulletin board
  • Dedicated tenant portal

It’s also important to ask how tenants should communicate with property management and what the response time looks like.

6. How are Monthly Rents Being Impacted?

It’s an unfortunate reality that non-essential businesses across the country are still shut down. Albeit it's what's best for public health, it's also unclear how long we will need to shelter in place to reduce future spikes and flatten the curve.

Arm yourself with difficult questions about rent emergencies. For example, ask property management how situations are being handled when tenants are being laid off or having hours reduced significantly. Would there be an opportunity to renegotiate the lease terms or develop a repayment plan?

7. Can I Tour My Apartment Virtually?

Virtual tours were already trending before coronavirus, but are rapidly growing in popularity. Instead of scheduling in-person appointments, ask if you can take a virtual tour and ask questions, or request a closer look at specific amenities.

Virtual tours may also be available for the lobby, rooftop, fitness center, or other on-site amenities. It’s also an excellent time to ask if common areas like fitness centers are still open during the pandemic. 

8. What Are the Best Practices for Moving In During Coronavirus?

Whether you’re moving out of state during coronavirus or just relocating one zipcode over, it’s essential to ask property management about their preferences and best practices. Your moving company should have its own list of protocols; however, your property manager should also offer instruction on:

  • The best day and time to move, especially in an elevator building
  • Recommended movers with a reputation for moving safely during coronavirus
  • A request of your moving plans so neighbors can be alerted to keep their distance whenever possible

9. What Happens if Someone Gets Sick?

Experts agree that not everyone is symptomatic or experiences severe illness with a coronavirus infection. However, it’s still essential to know when a doorman, property manager, or even a tenant is sick to control its spread and prepare. 

For privacy reasons, the property management will likely refrain from saying who is sick, however, they should give you insights into the situation and encourage tenants to get tested. 

Final Thoughts

Renting an apartment amidst the pandemic requires some extra precautions and diligence, but can be done with success. Reduce your stress and empower yourself to find the perfect apartment with your nine go-to questions. Happy moving!

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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