Silver Lining: Making the Most of Low-Occupancy

August 10, 2020 | By: Molly Looman

While many properties are beginning re-entry, some may remain at a lower occupancy than usual. This gives maintenance professionals a golden opportunity to complete projects during workhours that may not have been possible when the property was full capacity. Here are a few options for ideal projects to complete if tenants are remaining at home.

1. Parking Lot Maintenance

There are very few times in a property’s lifecycle where its parking lot will be emptier during the week. This means that parking lot and parking deck repairs can happen during daily work hours. Considering moving up cleaning or repairs to the concrete. It is also an opportune time to conduct a thorough walkthrough inspection. With less care, you will be able to see more of the deck or garage and plan for future repairs.

2. Reset Building Systems

When a building’s systems are originally set up, they are programmed to an optimal temperature for efficiency. As tenants live, work, and play in these properties, the systems are adjusted slightly for the preferences of tenants. If you have a low-occupancy property, this may be the time to reset these systems and explore the most energy-efficient settings. This way, when tenants return, you can educate them on the new settings and improve the efficiency of the property.

3. Clean and Restore Maintenance Areas

Maintenance areas hidden from the view of tenants can fall lower on the list when it comes to cosmetic upgrades. Use this time to make the necessary improvements. Inspect these areas and fix any persistent issues. Painting and cleaning the maintenance areas can help the overall property and its employees better for when the tenants return at full occupancy. These areas can also contain safety hazards and taking the time to give them a tune-up may prevent potential mishaps.

4. Flooring Replacement and Refurbishing

Similar to parking lots, a low traffic building means flooring can be replaced, refurbished, or restored. In a low-occupancy building, it can be done with minimal disturbance or inconvenience for the tenants. It will also give the returning tenants an immediate improvement to see when they return. Use this time to replace carpet, re-grout tile, or replace missing bricks in an exterior walkway.

5. Lighting Retrofits

Replacing lights in a room or entire floor can be disruptive to tenants, but in a low-occupancy building, the work can be done will minimal interference. Consider energy-saving light fixtures or investigate sensors if the property has the capability. Sensor-based lighting systems will save energy in a low-occupancy building and prevent an engineer from having to turn off all the lights on a floor.


While a low-occupancy building is rarely an ideal scenario, it creates an easier path for certain projects that would usually be reserved for after work. When tenants see the improvements upon their return, they will be reminded of how committed their property team is.