A View from the Operational Side
As a reflection of the stability we have gained over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic, our COVID-19 updates have become less frequent. We are settling back into normal operations.
Apartment owner inquiries are prudently seeking to optimize apartment operations and review acquisitions in their pipelines. We find this encouraging as the multifamily business continues to move forward.
Here are some current apartment operations highlights:
While the country has changed focus away from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past few weeks, this new challenge has not had adverse impact on our operations. We continue to love everyone and strive to make it a better world.
The results we continue to experience balancing apartment resident life with the pandemic confirm our multi-level property management checks and balances systems approach continues to work well.
Tropical Storm Cristobal passed without impact for us in Houston and the surrounding areas. This served as an excellent drill to ensure we are prepared for the real thing and this year’s hurricane season continues.
Through the first week of June 2020, our systems-wide collections stood at 74.25%, down roughly 6% from the strong start we had in May. This number is above the national average of 73.2% for workforce housing. Collections across all apartment classes averaged 80.8%. We remain confident June month end collections will remain steady, and along with adjustments and PPP support, we continue to keep bottom lines whole. Extended PPP deadlines are helping us to utilize funds received.
Local Justice of the Peace processes evictions in Texas. JP’s follow guidance from the Texas State Supreme Court. So far, the Texas Supreme Court and most JP’s have indicated they do not intend to impose significant delays or restrictions beyond those mandated by federal law. While we do have some evictions, the numbers are not significantly greater than what we see in the normal course of business.
A new $30 million Harris County assistance program has been funded and will open for applications on June 23rd. Funding will go directly to qualified individuals through a randomized program administered by designated community service organizations.
While Texas now has property tax increase limitations in place, there has been concern that some entities may attempt to invoke a rollback rate exception allowed for disasters which would permit an 8% increase instead of 3.5%. This was brought up recently in Dallas but there was an overwhelming vote by the Dallas City Council to reject the proposal and 3.5% rollback would remain in effect.
Insurance rate increases continue to be a significant concern. The Texas Apartment Association has formed a task force to investigate and address this. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Public and Resident Sentiment
We continue to push back against the fear of a coming housing apocalypse and eviction tsunami. We regularly provide the media with evidence of the many positive ways we have been able to assist challenged residents. We believe sharing truth helps to portray professionally managed apartment properties in a positive light.
A recent survey by Kingsley Associates indicated that, among residents who were satisfied with apartment property management communications during the Covid-19 pandemic, 41% indicated they were likely to recommend the property. Kingsley and Associates has been benchmarking resident sentiment for twenty plus years. Kingsley notes that multifamily operators that maintain a commitment to providing a high level of customer service are rewarded with resident loyalty, through good times and in times of crisis.
At Better World Properties LLC, we have seen from our continued positive leasing results that our abundant feedback to residents and staffed and welcoming leasing offices have had a positive influence during these unprecedented times. We are making a difference.
If we can be of service as a professional apartment property management company, help increase your bottom line, help you add to your apartment investment portfolio or welcome you to Texas as a Texas apartment investor, please feel free to reach out. We love Texas and we love to talk apartments.
Your Better World Properties LLC Team