Rental showings during the coronavirus outbreak are one more challenge for landlords and property owners. Tenants are also in a difficult position right now: Nobody is okay with letting strangers inside their house.

Even though rental business is classified as essential, some states have begun prohibiting in-person tours. In New York, for example,  residential and commercial showings can only be done virtually. Many states have adopted the same strategy to help stop the spread of COVID-19-and it seems likely that it will become a norm in the industry for the next few months. 

That means real estate agents and landlords are only allowed to enter properties to conduct showings online. They must follow public health protocols and take all the precautionary measures; including maintaining a six-foot distance and wearing a surgical mask when in-person interaction is inevitable. 

Rental tours for a new lease are usually conducted when the tenants aren’t at home, but right now that’s probably not an option. Due to quarantine protocol and many states issuing stay-at-home orders, people are generally not leaving their house. Social distancing is crucial during the COVID-19 crisis, but there are ways to continue showing a property if you need to move or initiate a lease takeover.

Let’s go over two scenarios: 

A landlord asks you (the tenant) to help with a virtual tour for their prospective tenants. 

If your lease is about to end and your landlord asks you to help with a virtual tour, you should do that. You may ask “Why?” Well, it means no one will enter your rental and put you or your family at risk. It won’t take much time for you to take a video or a few pictures of the rental and send it to your landlord. 

Before taking a video, make sure your rental is clean and neat. Try to hide personal belongings and clear clutter. After that, create a checklist of what you’re going to highlight in the video: rooms, specific objects, a window view, etc. 

Your landlord would probably like to do a voiceover on the video so you don’t need to add comments or sing the praises of your rental property. 

You need to move during quarantine.

Try to go month to month.

If your lease is up and you were thinking about moving you may want to consider re-signing your current agreement on a month-to-month basis. During uncertain times, it makes perfect sense to take it day by day. 

Renting on a monthly basis will generally provide flexibility and financial benefits. But keep in mind that the landlord might increase rent each month if this hasn’t been agreed upon beforehand. They can also insist on a fixed-term lease if you’re a new tenant with a low credit score. 

Set up a Zoom/Google hangouts link to use for virtually touring properties that are occupied.

If you need to take a look at the rental property you’re interested in, set up a Zoom/Google hangouts link to share for virtually touring the property. The current tenants or potential landlord will follow the link and show you around using a smartphone. 

This is becoming a popular practice among landlords and property owners during lockdown because of how easy and safe it is.

Use proper safety precautions if touring vacant rentals, try to schedule them in a cluster if you are looking at multiple units.

If rental showings aren’t banned in your area due to the coronavirus crisis, you’ll still need to take precautionary measures when touring vacant rentals. Scheduling them in a cluster will save you time since you can take a look at multiple units on the same day, and help minimize the amount of time you’re out in public. 

Do any of these scenarios resonate with your current situation?

Do you think virtual showings are a good alternative to traditional open houses? 

Olya Doronyuk
Olya is a real estate expert covering different topics for landlords, property managers, and tenants. She’s committed to following trends and always aware of the latest real estate news. In her spare time, she grows orchids and follows fashion trends as well.