HOT & RELEVANT TOPICS
Could Moratoriums Tip Us Into a More Severe Crisis?
On the surface, rent moratoriums seem to be a philanthropic gesture to ease the economic impact of the pandemic. In actuality, they are shortsighted and don’t address the entire picture. That’s according to Dru Armstrong, chief executive officer of tech provider Grace Hill, who believes any moratoriums must be balanced with other relief measures. Otherwise, they are “wrong-headed job killers that will only worsen the affordable housing crisis that politicians have engendered for years.” Armstrong details her reasoning, including the idea that future pain points are inevitable whenever government permits skipped or postponed rents and halts evictions.
Why Multifamily is Moving Away from Surety Bonds
The burden of security deposits might be a thing of the past. With 78% of U.S. workers living paycheck to paycheck, the financial hardship for renters is significant, and it hasn’t been made easier by the economic downturn. In the past, operators may have turned to surety bonds, which allow renters to pay only a portion of the deposit upfront. But the bonds don’t necessarily protect operators. To address move-in affordability, operators are increasingly eliminating deposit fees and turning to lease insurance. Unlike surety bonds, lease insurance is fully integrated with leasing processes and reduces the workload for on-site teams.
The Shifting Role of Repman During the Pandemic
As part of the reputation management process, onsite teams typically invite disgruntled reviewers into the office to speak in person. Other times, they’ll promise rapid response to a service issue. Those practices have become more complicated during the pandemic, as face-to-face conversations aren’t a viable option—particularly with many associates working from offsite—and understaffed teams might take longer to complete service requests. That has caused operators to rethink their reputation management process in some ways, by applauding patience of residents, encouraging phone communication and relaying realistic timelines to resolve requests.
IN THE NEWS
Late July Brings Welcome Improvement in Multifamily Market
Things appeared bleak in the week ending July 12, but the following week saw a moderately positive uptick across most data points in most multifamily markets. That’s according to data provided by Radix, which indicated national traffic was up 13.3% from the previous week and leases up 17.7%. The national net effective rent increased 10 basis points to $1,660, mirroring that of the national occupancy rates (93.62%). The national leased percentage increased 20 basis points to 95.18%. While the growth was modest overall, it signified progress in that the declines came to a halt.
Eviction Policy During Covid-19
Eviction restrictions have been wildly inconsistent between jurisdictions, and while many temporary limitations will soon be lifted, others are poised for lengthy or permanent extensions. But even in areas where eviction bans were never imposed or were recently lifted, there wasn’t a wave of evictions due to nonpayment. Encouragingly, municipalities are introducing rental assistance programs to help those renters who remain financially impacted by Covid-19. However, the economic downturn, coupled with current social movements, has also spurred new legislation in states like California and New Jersey that would bring about sweeping changes to eviction policy.
How the Pandemic is Changing Renter Preferences
The coronavirus pandemic has led to significant lifestyle changes for most renters, and with those changes has come a shift in preferred features that people want in their homes. Bar seating that separates the kitchen from the living space has gained popularity as more people dine in. Balconies are also in demand as people look for means to get outdoors. Reservable onsite gym and pool spaces have become hot commodities, too. With ecommerce on the rise, renters are looking for more sophisticated package systems to securely handle their increased delivery volume. High-quality HVAC systems have gained preference, as well, due to concerns over the potential spread of the virus.