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What It’s Really Like to Find and Rent an Apartment During a Pandemic

October 7, 2020

flat girl brunch outside
The procedure for leasing an apartment fluctuates from landlord to landlord, but something is still the similarly: There are places out there.

Real property is broadly considered an "essential business," and specialists in the business have lasted flat showings while the book coronavirus pandemic rages on. But, renting a flat isn’t business as usual, particularly when it regards the leasing and viewing procedure.

Here’s exactly what property pros and flat seekers state you need to expect should you’re searching for somewhere to lease.

Virtual excursions will be the newest "open house"

Shovkat Mamedov, a RE/MAX 100 broker in New York City, has discovered that many prospective tenants are dissatisfied with preexisting videos of flats instead of on-the-go excursions. To make the trip more private, some brokers are utilizing FaceTime to reveal prospective tenants the area in real time to abide by social bookmarking hints.

Besides the bedrooms, kitchen, bath and cabinets, James McGrath, also a Yoreevo LLC broker also in New York City, urges tenants ask the landlord or broker to reveal them views outside the window in a video tour. "That’ll help you obtain your bearings straight as to where the apartment is in the building, and what’s outside," he states. "Then you can walk by the building yourself and take a closer look to see if there’s everything nearby that concerns you, like a fire station or rowdy bar. "

Or self-tour the area

If you would like to visit a spot in person, some Realtors and renting offices will willingly adapt while also following bodily distancing principles. Mamedov proposes after viewing the movie tour when a customer is still curious, they take a look at the location in person with no agent. In that case, prospective tenants will be extended a lockbox code to join the apartment by themselves.

Brenna O’Leary, an apartment hunter in Los Angeles, says she prefers getting a lockbox code from a property owner or manager and touring the apartment on her own. Although it’s less personal, she says there’s more freedom being able to self-tour and asking questions afterwards.

"We essentially have the capability to lease a home from begin to finish without actually fulfilling the customer in person. "

In instances where the landlord lives in the building, there may be no avoiding in-person contact: She says it’s more common for an on-site landlord to want to meet those taking a tour.


In addition to lockbox and virtual tours, O’Leary has completed some online trips tours. She’s already been demand to put on a mask and gloves and also maintain a space whilst going to the space.
"It is an awkward exchange situation where you’re not going in shaking somebody’s hand or you’re standing across the room from each other," O’Leary says.
Most of these showing processes have been easy to adapt to, O’Leary states, but she’d run into a circumstance where the renters occupying a apartment were uneasy with her seeing.

Rent fractures are a "maybe"

Mamedov out of RE/MAX accounts that though property earnings are down, the leasing store in New York City – a COVID-19 hotspot – remains alive also. Translation: Landlords don’t want to reduce rents yet.

O’Leary discovered the similarly to be accurate at several areas she appeared in Los Angeles. But as it came time to sign a rental, following the house manager assessed her charge they provided a free month of lease should she paid three weeks of rent beforehand.

Even when a lease break isn’t stated upfront, ask for a move-in deal or other financial accommodation, especially if you have good credit. (For more see our credit score explainer.)

Renting an apartment while unemployed

More than 80% of apartment households nationwide have made full or partial rent as of May 6, according to a rent-tracking report from the National Multifamily House Council. But the fallout from job losses is far from fully played out. Even with stellar credit, Mamedov has found some landlords hesitant to rent to unemployed tenants.
Alexandra Alvarado, from the American Apartment Owners Association, says landlords maybe more flexible with proof of income if tenants are honest about their situation. "Landlords are all prepared to assist; we’ve noticed that in the latest poll of 1,160 landlords who 80 percent are eager to reevaluate rent for people who want it,” " Alvarado says.

Sealing the deal … virtually

Rob Carrillo, a Century 21 Haggerty property manager in El Paso, Texas, says once tenants are approved for a place, they can sign a lease, pay their security deposit and finalize the renting of their apartment, all online. Renters can also hop on a Zoom call with a Century 21 team member if they’d like to be walked through the lease.
Once this is completed, tenants can fetch their keys from a lockbox on the property and begin moving in. "We essentially have the capability to lease a home from begin to finish without meeting the customer in person," says Carrillo.
Although the rest of Texas is pushing to re-open, Carrillo plans to go on social distancing apartment showings. El Paso is getting hit with a stream of positive COVID-19 cases daily, he says.
If finding a landlord or company like Century 21 Haggerty that pushes for social distancing policies is important to you, seek them out. Your health is important, just like finding the perfect home is.