Coronavirus COVID-19 – Multifamily Update
How Are We Doing?
As we continue to survey the multifamily business landscape daily, we also hope you and your family are faring well.
From an operational and social standpoint, we are well into a new kind of normal. Each our apartment management leasing offices continues with full operations engaged with leasing, maintenance and running day-to-day business. As expected, we have begun to field a few confirmed virus cases among residents just as many apartment properties are also experiencing across the U.S.
Social Distancing, Stressors and Rock Stars
It is our expectation that physical/social interaction will continue to be restricted in Texas for a period of time. As the challenges of social distancing and essential and non-essential business wears on, we are all experiencing signs of heightened stress. Last Friday, every Better World Properties LLC staff member received a much-appreciated letter of appreciation for standing strong in the wind and continuing to be mindfully present and serve the greater good during this unprecedented time. We have an exceptional team and for that we are very grateful.
Proactive Multifamily Property Management
Our proactive multifamily property management has been reaching out to every resident to check on their wellbeing and our strategy is working well. As of yesterday, our apartment properties collected on average 83% of all amounts due for April. Collections at individual properties range from 72% to 89%. Nationally, through Sunday, April 12, 2020, 84% of rent has been paid across all apartment classes – far better than most expected. The national lease payment rate for apartment rent is now 93% of the March rate. Our rate is just over 92% of March’s rate.
Generally, collections are coming in at a healthy clip. We are seeing about 5% of residents having a significant challenge. Not unlike numbers in a typical month. We anticipate additional money coming in throughout the month as residents receive government stimulus funds. Given the amount of federal and state financial support expected, we are revising our original projections for worst-case scenario for income reduction in May and June from 30% to 20% or under. Collections and resident care continue to be the primary focus of our property management team.
Property Crime Down While Scammers Popping Up
Our Better World Property managers have noticed a distinct reduction in crime, although more slippery scams are popping up, typical in times of uncertainty. One caller claiming to be a city inspector insisted we needed to close laundry facilities. Another caller pretended to be from the IRS. Please be aware of caller scams and do your due diligence before releasing information.
There have been many questions surrounding evictions. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in the CARES Act contains limitations. Those with government-backed loans seeking forbearance will have to abide by even more restrictions. In addition, the Texas Supreme Court has issued their own guidelines. There are efforts nationally to align restrictions nationally. In reality, we are all responsible for rent and we will continue to work together to keep people in their homes. We don’t look for evictions to begin before July. It is our intention to continue collecting rent as always, file eviction notices as soon as we are able and encourage non-payers to explore all alternatives with us and begin making other arrangements to satisfy rent obligations. We anticipate that as leasing traffic picks up, which it will, we may have some disconnect between move-ins and available units if evictions pile up in the legal processing system.
PPP Loans Slow To Show
PPP loans are slow to manifest. There is a lot of legislation and rules being ironed out. We expect this to continue to improve and checks to arrive in the near future. The National Apartment Association continues to lobby for this program to be expanded in a way that allows multifamily companies to participate more fully.
U.S COVID-19 Case Map
Johns Hopkins University of Medicine continues to improve their case reporting dashboard specific and has added a tab specific to the U.S. that provides specific information relevant to state and cities. Click here for more information on John Hopkins Coronavirus U.S. reporting map.
We have provided our residents with more resources that can be found below along with some fun for the kids to help break up the tediousness of social distancing practices.
Financial Assistance Programs
Please click blue links below for more information.
U.S. Government Economic Impact Payments
Most Americans are scheduled to automatically receive $1,200 individually to help cover living essentials. Payments are just now starting to go out. Click here to check on your payment. Some delays have occurred as expected with large volume of processing.
Unemployment Benefits and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
Unemployment benefits have been extended to many who are self‐employed or contract workers. Those on unemployment will also be receiving $600 per week in FPUC payments that may last through the end of July.
Those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are scheduled to automatically receive additional funds by April 15 and again by May 15.
Texas Public Utility Commission – COVID-19
Most Texas utilities have committed to not disconnecting anyone during the crisis. Click above for information on assistance with electric bills through the Texas Public Utility Commission.
School districts are providing various meal and alternative education programs. Be sure to check in with your child’s school district.
For other U.S. government benefits.
KIDS CORNER – Ok, Kids (and Adults). Let’s Have Some FUN.
Expanding young minds can be fun even when we are social distancing:
- Let’s go the Zoo! (online of course)
Click here to go the Houston Zoo
- Learn to Cook.
Fresh seasonal produce is a great place to start. It’s inexpensive and plentiful. Find kid friendly kitchen activities here.
- Take a Space Trip.
Click here to hear astronauts reading from space.
Back at the corporate office at Better World Properties LLC, we continue to focus on the basics that help maximize cash flow, keep things moving and take care of our apartment residents.
So far, so good.
If we can be of service to you or apartment properties, please feel free to reach out. We are here to serve and continue to make it a better world.
Your Better World Properties Team