COVID-19 Employee & Resident Safety: How does this affect your bottom line?
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Texas Multi-Family Property Q&A with Caroline and Kerry
From Caroline Kane: Multi-family housing in the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic poses significant challenges. COVID-19 has caused many, if not all, to relook at the way they do business. This is greatly affecting your bottom line due to the way we're all being forced to adjust concerning our employee safety and measures now required when dealing with residents. COVID-19 has forced us to adapt to how the staff interacts with each other, with maintenance, and most noticeably how the staff interacts with the residents or new prospective residents. This unique circumstance has required us to assess our situation based on ever-changing conditions during the pandemic. It's important to monitor new developments to address what changes are needed and the appropriate timelines. (Tip: Check out our Q&A on keeping up with Eviction status and Texas state law changes to help your company stay a step ahead.)
Preparation is key. Multi-family housing investors' bottom line is very much at stake. Many investors will want to understand their new projected 2 to 5-to-10-year plans. This will consider the risks associated with this new pandemic reality. When your property management company is ready to transition back to business as usual -- many will find that this is not feasible. The reality is that many companies will need to update investors/partners by reporting on issues that are a direct result of necessary adjustments made throughout this ordeal. Often, the technology used or systems created in response to a disaster can be found to have an upside: long-term benefits that increase efficiency. Some may never return to the pre-covid status. This is not the end of the world. Many have developed new and better strategies in times as we find ourselves in now. This can lead to savings in operating costs and often be a welcomed change to a multi-family property plan. Your property management company MUST be diligent and creative when crafting a disaster response plan. Due to the potential for increased risk of exposure for residents and staff, you must assess current systems and company protocol. From Kerry Ream: Here's a reminder that a formal insurance audit of your business and property-related policies is highly recommended. The following links and resources offer guidance to help owners, administrators, and managers of multifamily housing work together with residents, staff, and public health officials to create a safe living environment.
Helpful links for your company tool kit:
o A great resource to help investors and property management companies can be found on KPMG’s site: https://advisory.kpmg.us/articles/2020/covid-19-impact-rapid-risk.html “The sudden impact of COVID-19 is propelling the need for real estate businesses to mobilize quickly and make decisions for the short term with implications for the long term. Real estate owners, managers, and investors seek a way forward that protects property values and operations and demonstrate compassion for tenants likely struggling with unexpected challenges and uncertainty.
Our rapid risk assessment framework is a tool that can help real estate organizations identify, assess, document, and begin risk remediation due to the fallout from COVID (https://advisory.kpmg.us/articles/2020/covid-19-impact-rapid-risk.html).”
This is a resource specific to helping you understand and mitigate issues arising from COVID-19 from KPMG. Below you can find the PDF version of the Covid 19 impact rapid risk assessment for Real Estate from KPMG: https://advisory.kpmg.us/content/dam/advisory/en/pdfs/2020/covid-19-impact-rapid-risk.pdf
o The National Multifamily Housing Council has a helpful Coronavirus resource guide: https://www.nmhc.org/research-insight/analysis-and-guidance/emergency-preparedness/coronavirus-resources-for-apartment-firms/
o The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is a well-respected Commercial RE organization which includes multi-family specific resources: -- https://www.irem.org/about-irem/media/irem-produces-free-resources-to-help-property-managers-tackle-covid-19-related-challenges -- https://www.irem.org/learning/reopening-properties-covid-19-webinar-recording -- https://www.irem.org/learning/coronavirus
o Central for Disease Control: Considerations for Owners and Operators of Multifamily Housing Including Populations at Increased Risk for Complications from COVID-19 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/multifamily-housing.html#:~:text=Avoid%20gatherings%20of%2010%20or,for%20many%20people%20with%20disabilities
o “The National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM®) Statement and Position on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) NARPM® recognizes that property managers, current and prospective tenants, landlords, maintenance personnel, and other affiliates have concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. NARPM® believes it is prudent for its members and affiliates to be prepared for incidents involving COVID-19. In response to the growing concerns, we are providing collected information from various sources. It is important to recognize that NARPM and its members are not health care professionals. With many members planning to attend upcoming events and travel plans, NARPM closely monitors the news on the coronavirus and watches the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Should anything change, we will immediately inform those who are impacted. As the situation rapidly evolves, it is imperative to keep up to date with these important links and the information found therein: https://www.narpm.org/docs/COVID-19%20Statement%20NARPM%20031620.pdf Encourage your residents and employees to keep a line of communication open, as your property management company must play an engaged role. You want to mitigate the risk and understand what liabilities you continue to face with staff and residents alike. Be solution-oriented and flexible in your approach. Preparation and risk assessment are vital to your success.