Guidance for Dealing with the Coronavirus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the outbreak of a novel (meaning new) coronavirus (COVID-19), which was first detected in Wuhan, China, and has since spread to 209 countries and territories. With 367,685 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the United States (through April 7, 2020), the National Apartment Association (NAA) believes it prudent for its members and affiliates to be prepared for incidents involving COVID-19.
NAA understands that affiliates, members and residents may have concerns about how apartment communities should address the virus and, in an effort to offer guidance and information to assist with preparations, we have compiled the following material from official sources.
It is important to recognize that NAA, 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. NAA 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.
Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, NAA will monitor developments and will continue efforts to secure guidance specific to the operation of rental housing from health officials. Additionally, NAA will update our website with new information as it becomes available.
NAA Urges Rent Payments, Additional Relief Measures Amid COVID-19
Many residents will be unable to make their rent payments - through no fault of their own - which, in turn, will have devastating implications for apartment owners and operators. To minimize the damage, NAA is urging those of our nation's 40 million renters who've been financially unaffected by COVID-19 to make their rent payments in full and on time. Read the full statement.
Federal Government Updates Guidance on Essential Workers During COVID-19
On March 28, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an "Advisory Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response." The memorandum contains an updated "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce" advisory list that identifies workers who perform operations and services essential to protecting state and local communities and ensuring continuity in critical functions. On page 15, the guidance calls out “Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services,” specifically identifying as essential:
- Workers responsible for the leasing of residential properties to provide individuals and families with ready access to available housing.
- Workers responsible for handling property management, maintenance, and related service calls who can coordinate the response to emergency “at-home” situations requiring immediate attention, as well as facilitate the reception of deliveries, mail, and other necessary services.
- Workers performing housing construction related activities to ensure additional units can be made available to combat the nation’s existing housing supply shortage.
- Workers supporting the construction of housing, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction of housing (e.g., allow qualified private third-party inspections in case of government shutdown).
The updated memorandum notes that the list is purely advisory and not a federal directive or standard. It also emphasizes that the list is not exclusive and that individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements. To that end, NAA has urged its affiliates to reach out to their state and local governments to ensure that the apartment industry is declared essential during any shelter-in-place declarations. To date, many affiliates have been succesful in this advocacy and our hope is that this updated guidance from CISA will aid in those efforts.
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.
Fannie Mae Provides Assistance to Help Renters Impacted by COVID-19 Stay in Their Apartments
In a press release issued March 24, Fannie Mae, in coordination with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), is allowing lenders to grant forbearance to borrowers in properties financed by Fannie Mae for up to three months if the borrower is experiencing hardship due to the impact of the COVID-19 national emergency. As part of the forbearance plan, borrowers must agree to suspend evictions of tenants who are facing financial hardship due to the current crisis. Fannie Mae anticipates that this will provide relief to renters across more than 27,000 properties.
NAA Releases Guidance Concerning Shelter-in-Place Orders
Guidance from the National Apartment Association released on March 20.
Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Suspends REAC Inspections
HUD's PIH released a memo addressing the suspension of REAC Inspections and other programmatic information.
Small Business Administration Will Provide Disaster Assistance Loans
SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Further resources can be found here and on SBA's websites: www.SBA.gov/coronavirus and www.SBA.gov/disaster.
DOL Announces New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities
DOL announced new guidance outlining flexibilities that states have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Department of Energy Coronavirus Resources
DOE is coordinating closely with the White House and its interagency partners in the unified response to the Coronavirus. DOE leadership will be issuing further guidance as the situation evolves.
- Three Tips for Emotional Resilience - NAA offers three strategies for strengthening emotional resilience while managing the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Presented by Amy Kosnikowski Dilisio, National Speaker, Industry Educator and Consultant. Released April 7, 2020.
- Being Heard Above the Noise: Continuous Communication With Employees - NAA looks at how constant employee contact is critical during COVID-19. Presented by Mary Gywn, Chief Innovator, Apartment Dynamics. Released April 6, 2020.
- Virtual Leasing: Providing Excellent Service - NAA offers guidance for best practices concerning virtual leasing. Presented by Christi Wedel, Training Manager for PRESIDIUM. Released April 6, 2020.
- Amenity Awareness - NAA takes a look at a host of considerations for how to address amenities in the face of COVID-19. Presented by Paul Rhodes, NAAEI National Maintenance and Safety Instructor. Released April 2, 2020.
- Maintaining Healthy Relationships During Stressful Times - An in-depth presentation of how to keep relationships healthy amid the stresses of COVID-19. Presented by Rommel Anacan, President of The Relationship Difference. Released April 1, 2020.
- Best Practices For Property Managers: Rent Collection, Late Fees, Filings, Payment Plans - NAA provides guidance on a host of pressing issues concerning rent collection in the face of COVID-19. Guidance is presented by William P. Cannon III, Principal, Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law. Released 3/31/2020
- New COVID-19 Federal Laws - NAA offers an examination of new federal legislation aimed at addressing the spread of COVID-19. Guidance is presented by Greg Brown, NAA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. Released 3/30/2020
- The Importance of Continued Training - A closer examination of why continuing training is important during COVID-19. Guidance is presented by Joy Zalaznick, Director of Training and Development for Kettler. Released 3/30/2020.
- Shelter in Place: Restrictions on Business Operations - NAA offers guidance related to shelter-in-place orders and what they mean for business operations. Guidance is presented by Nicole Upano, NAA Director of Public Policy. Released 3/26/2020
- Guidance for Suppliers Amid COVID-19 - NAA provides insight for rental housing industry suppliers amid COVID-19. Guidance is presented by Kirk Downey, Chairman of the NAA National Suppliers Council (NSC) and COO of Liberty Rent. Released 3/25/2020
- My Resident Tested Positive for COVID-19, Now What? - NAA offers operational insight for how to handle a resident testing positive for COVID-19 . Guidance is presented by Ayiesha Beverly, NAA Senior Staff Attorney, National Lease Program. Released 3/24/2020
- How to Respond to Media - NAA offers guidance for crisis communications and handling media inquiries during the spread of COVID-19. Guidance is presented by Todd Usher, NAA Manager of Public Relations. Released 3/23/2020
- How to Handle Maintenance During COVID-19 - NAA provides insight into how to handle maintenance during the spread of COVID-19. Guidance is presented by Paul Rhodes, NAA National Safety and Maintenance Instructor. Released 3/20/2020
- Legislative and Regulatory Updates - NAA provides a property management-focused legislative and regulatory update in light of the spread of COVID-19. Guidance is presented by Nicole Upano, NAA Director of Public Policy. Released 3/19/2020
- Teleworking Amid COVID-19 - NAA shares guidance that will be helpful as organizations transition from normal business operations to working remotely. Guidance is presented by Nancy Carbone, NAA Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Administration. Released 3/18/2020
Receive Micro-Webinar Updates in Your Inbox
Managing Properties in the Age of Coronavirus
Bisnow hosted a webinar with NAA and IREM experts and members Barry Blanton, CPM® and Pat Hutchison, CPM®. The webinar covers strategic planning for property owners and managers, specifically looking at:
- Continuity of business planning
- Reviewing lease agreements in case of business disruptions
- Creating healthy and hygienic work and living environments
- Strategies for resident and tenant communications
Coronavirus Outbreak: What Real Estate Managers Need to Know
NAA and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) hosted managers from both rental housing and commercial management for a live panel discussion on addressing the spread of COVID-19 and developing policies and procedures around the coronavirus.
NAA Coronavirus Weekly Webinar: What Employers Should Know
NAA is releasing a series of in-depth, weekly webinars to provide guidance to the apartment industry for addressing the spread of COVID-19. The webinar below was released the week ending March 27, 2020
- View the Webinar Recording
- Answers to Questions Asked During the Webinar
- Remote Work Considerations
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act Information
- Layoffs, Furloughs and Pay Reductions in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Best Practices for Resident Exposure to COVID-19
Resources for Property Managers
- Best Practices for Operations
- Best Practices for Rent Collection Amid COVID-19
- Best Practices for Off-Campus Student Housing Guidance
- 10 Ways to Keep Residents Engaged During COVID-19
- Helping Affordable Housing Residents Cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic (from National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities, Trusted Space Partners and Virginia Tech)
- Emergency Document for Essential Personnel
- Sample - Maintenance Emergencies Defined
- Awareness Acknowledgement Letter
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.
If you are interested in this form, please contact Nicholas Tovar.
Resources for Teleworking
- Best Practices for Teleworking Amidst COVID-19
- Best Practices for Flex Scheduling
- 10 Ways to Keep Your Culture Thriving Remotely in the Face of COVID-19
- Collaboration Tools for Working Remotely
- Communication Tools for Working Remotely
- Sample - Telework Agreement
- 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 U.S. House Committee on Financial Services answers frequently asked questions about the CARES Act, including clarification on the intent of eviction moratoriums and rent:
- 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.
- Learn more on the COVID-19 Related Policy Concerns page.
- FHFA Offers Mortgage Relief for Multifamily Property Owners
- Forms for Payment Plan Agreement and Notice of Temporary Waiver of Late Fees
- The Latest Court Closures and Restrictions
- NAA/NMHC Letter to U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) - March 22 - NAA and NHMC urge CISA to update "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers" guidance document to confirm the rental housing industry, to include construction, operation and management of housing, are deemed "essential infrastructure" by the federal government.
Use the clickable state map below to find updates on state and local regulatory responses to COVID-19.
Bi-weekly updates on economic data releases, forecasts and impacts of the coronavirus on the national economy.
- April 6, 2020 Economic Impact Report
- April 2, 2020 Economic Impact Report
- March 30, 2020 Economic Impact Report
- March 26, 2020 Economic Impact Report
- March 23, 2020 Economic Impact Report
- March 19, 2020 Economic Impact Report
NAA recommends that incoming media requests be directed to CDC and/or local health officials, who are better qualified to answer their questions at this time. You don’t want to be at risk with liability concerns.
Ensure your office has proper contact information of the local health authority and/or the best CDC resources on hand for handling queries from local stakeholders.
NAA recommends a holding statement be developed. An example: "We appreciate your call. It is wise for everyone to remain current and follow the most recent guidance provided by health officials. That is why we request that you direct your question to [Local Health Official] or the CDC, who are on top of this situation."
Other Key Messages to Consider
NAA recommends that guidance from CDC and other officials be treated seriously. At present, CDC prevention information includes:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.
NAA encourages all members and affiliates to monitor the situation and stay current with advice from CDC and public health officials.
- April 7 - Washington Post - 5 ways to connect with neighbors during the coronavirus outbreak
- April 7 - Multi-Housing News - Addressing New Challenges in the COVID-19 Era
- April 7 - Forbes - Apartment Industry Calls On Congress to Provide More Support to Renters, Rental Operators
- April 3 - Chicago Tribune - Should you tell your landlord if you have coronavirus?
- April 3 - Up for Growth - After the CARES Act, What's Next for Housing?
- April 2 - The Hill - Renters fear eviction in the wake of coronavirus
- April 1 - NPR - It's The 1st Of The Month. Renters Are In A Much Tougher Spot Than Homeowners
- March 31 - Forbes - Rent Strike: What Happens If You Don't Pay Rent on April 1 Because of the Coronavirus
- March 31 - NBC News/MSN - Rent's Due. Now what? Experts warn a housing crisis shadows the health crisis
- March 31 - USA Today - Worried about paying rent on April 1? What states are doing, and not doing, to help
- March 30 - Housing Wire - How will the $2 trillion federal rescue package impact multifamily housing?
- March 30 - Forbes - With Rent Soon Due, Apartment Industry Already Copes With Coronavirus Effects
- March 26 - Multi-Housing News - How to Handle Coronavirus-Related Rent Issues
- March 25 - Washington Post - Slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus in an apartment community
- March 20 - Fox Business - How coronavirus disruption could impact multifamily landlords, lenders
- March 20 - KALB-TV (NBC affiliate, Alexandria, La.) - Prevent the spread of COVID-19 at apartments
- March 18 - New York Times - Racing to head off evictions and foreclosures
- March 17 - Forbes - National Apartment Association Issues Guidance To Stem The Spread Of Coronavirus
- March 13 - CNN - What to do if there's a coronavirus case in your neighborhood or apartment building
Downloadable Resources From CDC and EPA
- What you need to know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Stop the Spread of Germs
- Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019
- What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- EPA's Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus
- The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America
Communications from HUD
- A Video Message from Secretary Carson Regarding HUD.GOV Resources [transcript]
- Message from the Secretary
- Message from Community Planning and Development
- Message from Public and Indian Housing
- Community Planning Development's Toolkit for Homeless Shelters and Continuum of Care Providers
- Updated March 17: Questions and Answers for Office of Multifamily Housing Stakeholders
Resources from NAA’s Supplier Partners
Disclaimer: The following resources are produced by NAA supplier partners. The materials and information referenced are provided for general and informational purposes only. They are not offered as, and do not constitute, legal advice or legal opinions.
Resources from NAA's Top Tier Supplier Partners
Visit NAA’s Top Tier Partners Resource Centers, that provide COVID-19 solutions, tips and industry practices to continue delivering and protecting residents, prospects and teams during the COVID-19 situation.
- AT&T - Our Response – As our company responds to COVID-19, the health and safety of our employees and customers remain our top priority. The work we do is critical to millions of people and companies around the world, and we’re committed to being there when our customers and colleagues need us most. Here’s how we’re responding:
- CSC ServiceWorks
- The Home Depot Pro
- Matrix Fitness
- Maintenance Supply Headquarters
- Rent Manager
- Valet Living
- Please contact Joe Malato, National Director of Safety with any safety questions or concerns
- Zillow Rentals
Additional Resources from NAA's Supplier Partners
- From ATI - Guidelines for Coronavirus Cleaning
- From Cintas - COVID-19 Products and Services
- From RESCON - Protecting your Property
- From RESCON - COVID-19 Sanitize and Disinfect Service
- From Realync - Response to COVID-19
- From Matrix Fitness - Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Equipment
This information is subject to change. If you are involved in a COVID-19 case with a resident, please contact NAA to apprise us so that we may provide further guidance.