Updates Regarding COVID-19 and the Apartment Industry
BGAA understands that affiliates, members and residents may have concerns about how apartment communities should address the virus and, in an effort to offer preliminary guidance and information to assist with preparations, we have compiled the following material from official sources. It is important to recognize that BGAA, its affiliates and individual members are not health care professionals. The CDC and other qualified health officials should continue to be the primary source of current information and guidance. BGAA is offering general, precautionary guidance from officials, and also adding some common-sense guidelines for our industry in the interest of promoting a proper amount of caution at this time.
BGAA Recommendations for Reopening During COVID-19 Download Document - Updated 8.13.2020 This document will be updated frequently as new information is released. This document is not a legal guide and is not intended to replace professional counsel from legal or health care professionals. If you have any concerns related to your company’s COVID-19 policy development, then we strongly encourage you to reach out to your legal counsel, professional human resources advisor, health experts or other government officials.
Evictions 7/28/2020: Kentucky Supreme Court has released an Amended Order on the expansion of court proceedings during the COVID-19 emergency.
All properties not covered under the CARES Act can send out notices for non-payment of rent immediately (7-day notice if under Landlord Tenant Act) and evictions will begin filing on August 1st. Properties covered under the CARES Act are required to send a 30-day notice before filing.
Reopening of Kentucky
The Governor has outlined Phase 1 & 2 of reopening Kentucky. The dates for when specific industries/businesses can reopen are below. Click the links of each industry/business type to see the requirements specific to that industry.
Free Form for Rent Relief Requests NAA is offering a sneak peek of its newest compliance solution, NAA Click & Comply, by releasing a Rent Relief Request Form for property management companies to utilize across their portfolio. This form will easily document and track requests from residents who are suffering financially during COVID-19, including special arrangements and/or payment plans that have been agreed upon by the property and its residents.
The form, powered by Leonardo247, is free of charge and will allow property management companies to pull reports with detail on each property or an overview across the entire portfolio.
Statement from the National Apartment Association Concerning COVID-19 and Rent The following is a statement from National Apartment Association (NAA) President and CEO Robert Pinnegar, CAE released on March 23: The National Apartment Association and its more than 150 state and local affiliates, encompassing over 82,000 members and representing more than 10 million apartment homes, encourage all residents who are in financial distress to proactively reach out to work with their community managers prior to April 1. Many of our rental housing professionals already have individual plans in place to work with their residents in this unprecedented crisis. There is no “one approach fits all.” The best strategy, and NAA’s recommendation, is for owners, managers and residents to partner together to find the optimal solution. Providing a secure home for all of our residents is our primary goal.
CDC Criteria for Ending Isolation and returning to work: The time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery strategy for releasing persons with COVID-19 with symptoms from isolation (non-test-based strategy) requires:
At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications. AND
Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND
At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
The testing-based strategy for those who have COVID-19 with symptoms requires:
Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath AND
Two consecutive negative results from FDA-authorized nasal swab tests – at least 24 hours apart.
COVID-19 Webinars See all COVID-19 Webinars from NAAhere.
NAA analysis of third COVID-19 federal relief package is available. Read a deep-dive of what the CARES Act means for rental housing.
The moratorium only applies to evictions for nonpayment of rent, not for other causes;
The bill does not treat nonpayment of rent during the moratorium period as forgiven and the unpaid amounts will accrue even if fees are not assessed.
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. The U.S. Treasury has a program overview available here, and the SBA is also providing guidance here. Learn more.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. Learn more.
Kentucky Evictions Postponed & Suspended
3/16/2020: The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that all evictions are postponed effective March 16th through April 10th, 2020. Please review the document below for more information. Read the full government document here. 3/25/2020: Gov. Beshear released an Executive Order on March 25th, which also called for Evictions to be Suspended.
"Evictions Suspended. Pursuant to the authority vested in me by KRS Chapter 39A, evictions within the Commonwealth are suspended, and all state, county and local law enforcement offices in the Commonwealth are directed to cease enforcement of orders of eviction for residential premises for the duration of the State of Emergency under Executive Order 2020-215. No provision contained within this Order shall be construed as relieving any individual of the obligation to pay rent, to make mortgage payments, or to comply with any other obligation that an individual may have under tenancy or mortgage."
Essential Personnel Governor Beshear announced the closing of all non-life-sustaining businesses to in-person traffic by Thursday at 8 p.m. I have had many emails and phone calls asking if multi-family housing was an essential business. I want to clarify that multi-family housing is an essential business and apartment buildings is listed in the federal critical infrastructure sector. Gov. Beshear also listed “Housing” in his list of businesses that can remain open. See Gov. Beshear’d order which was just released:
3/24/2020: AnnouncedGov. Beshear will sign an executive order closing all non-life-sustaining businesses to in-person traffic by Thursday at 8 p.m. Businesses that can stay open still need to practice safe social distancing. The businesses that can stay open include: grocery stores, drug stores and pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick-up, housing, building and construction, laundry, financial services, home-based care and services, professional services, manufacturing and other businesses key to national interests or life-sustaining goods or services, and those covered under the federal critical infrastructure sector.
"Housing, Buildings and Construction. To ensure Kentuckians can remain Healthy at Home, businesses providing construction or maintenance of residential, commercial, or governmental structures, including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, landscaping, moving and relocation services, necessary for sustaining the safety, sanitation and operation of structures."
Thus, Apartment community staff are exempt from the executive order. You must practice safe social distancing:
Where possible, limit in-person transactions between staff and residents. Consider implementing digital payment and maintenance requests or offer secure drop boxes. Note: Please review applicable state laws, which may prohibit landlords from mandating that residents pay rent online.
Suspend all non-essential maintenance and repairs. Service requests should be categorized between essential (HVAC, hot water, plumbing, etc.) and non-urgent (upgrades, cosmetic repairs, etc.).
Share staffing updates with residents and ensure emergency contact information is available. When possible, use multiple communication platforms such as email, community bulletin boards and notices to individual units.
Contact vendors to determine availability for emergency maintenance needs. Ensure alternative arrangements are available.
Continue move-out walk-through inspections when requested by residents, per legal requirements. However, follow appropriate social distancing protocols. Ensure the residents desire inspections in the current environment and, if the request is withdrawn, get it in writing.
Consider providing virtual and low-contact showings to prospective residents. These could include virtual tours or allowing a prospect to enter and tour a unit on their own. Be sure to disinfect high-touch surfaces between showings (including door knobs, light switches, etc.).
FFHFA Offers Mortgage Relief for Multifamily Property Owners The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) yesterday announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Enterprises will offer mortgage forbearance for multifamily property owners, under the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters who are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19, also known as “coronavirus.”
To be eligible, property owners must suspend evictions for as long as the owner remains in forbearance. Forbearance is available only for multifamily housing properties with an “Enterprise-backed performing multifamily mortgage” that is financially impacted by coronavirus.
Do Not Flush With stores running low on toilet paper, residents may start to use other materials such as paper towels and wet wipes. Some properties have faced issues resulting in residents flushing these items down toilets. Be sure to remind residents not to flush these items and to protect your sewage system.
Click the image below to download it and send it to your residents.