Additional COVID-19 Articles
President Trump today announced he is directing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to suspend all evictions and foreclosures through the end of April 2020. This follows similar actions by governors and mayors in several jurisdictions across the country. Nationally, at least 35 jurisdictions announced eviction moratoriums in light of the spread of COVID-19 with more considering legislation or mandate by judicial action or law enforcement. No details of the President’s order have been provided yet, but we have been assured that guidance is coming soon.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency. To clarify, the FHFA foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage.
We will keep you apprised as this situation develops and are continually updating our COVID-19 resources and guidance.
The Fed responded on Sunday to the deteriorating economic outlook and market disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information.
The White House today released the framework of a $1 trillion stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan, which addresses the economic impact of the pandemic, follows an $8.3 billion stimulus package from earlier in the month and comes as Congress continues to debate the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The framework has four major sections.
Section 1 includes $200 billion in loans to severely distressed industries, including the airline industry.
Section 2 includes steps to stabilize the U.S. money market mutual fund industry.
Section 3 includes half a trillion dollars in direct “economic impact” payments to individual taxpayers to be paid out in two installments. Payment sizes would be based on income and family sizes.
Section 4 includes $300 billion loans for small businesses through the creation of a “small business interruption loan program.”
Read the full framework proposal here.
The Federal Government is working to pass an emergency relief bill in response to the coronavirus. The House already passed a relief bill, and it is our understanding the Senate is planning on passing it as well in the coming days to give relief as soon as possible. Leader McConnell announced at a press conference this afternoon that the Senate is creating a task force and will be proposing additional legislation, originating in the Senate, to further stimulate the economy and address concerns from the House relief bill.
The US Chamber of Commerce created a very helpful summary to help businesses understand the proposal to help deal with the current crisis. Click here to read the summary.
In the coming days, we will keep everyone posted on the status of these bills. Leader McConnell committed today that the Senate will not adjourn, and will stay at work, until this is addressed.
Early last week, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson was added to the White House Coronavirus Task Force. All federal agencies are working aggressively on a multi-layered, cross-agency public health response to this evolving situation.
Our partners at NAA have encouraged Multifamily owners and agents, and Public Housing Authorities, and all rental owners to make the information below available to residents. They further encourage Multifamily owners, agents, Performance Based Contract Administrators, FHA lenders, and all stakeholders to make this same information available to their employees:
- 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)
Stakeholders are reminded to ensure that their responses remain faithful to obligations under the Constitution, Fair Housing Act and related regulations. Exigencies associated with important and timely response to issues surrounding COVID-19 are not the basis for unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or familial status.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is currently monitoring a rapidly evolving outbreak of coronavirus, (COVID-19), which is causing respiratory illness in populations across the globe, including in the U.S. The CDC and the World Health Organization have now designated the outbreak as a pandemic.
As cases of the novel coronavirus, (COVID-19) spread across the country, apartment firms need to prepare for potential impact to their communities and to address employee and resident concerns of potential exposure at their properties or workplaces. They also need to take measures to help stop the spread of the virus.
To help them do that, NMHC has compiled an overview of suggested apartment owner preparations and considerations. NMHC recognizes that the broad array of company types, sizes and geographic locations that make up the apartment industry discourages a one-size-fits-all approach to planning.
Also note that this overview is not to be construed as legal guidance. Instead, it is meant to be a starting point for your company-specific plan. We encourage firms to seek expert consultation in the development of their plan to ensure comprehensive coverage.
Given the fast nature evolution of this situation, NMHC encourages firms to monitor our “Coronavirus Resources for Apartment Firms” landing page, which includes links to resources from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Department of Labor (DOL), Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Housing and Urban Development and other organizations. We strongly recommend regularly visiting these sites for the latest news on this outbreak.
We also recommend firms sign up for NMHC’s Emergency Preparedness Listserv to both ask questions and learn from what other firms are sharing. More information is available here.
The National Apartment Association recently did a webinar with the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). Click here to see link to the FAQs from the webinar as well as here for an updated as needed link to the COVID-19 information on the NAA website.
SUMMARY OF BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Some suggested Best Management Practices:
- Build in redundancy – make sure multiple people can handle situations based upon your organizational size in case of sickness or quarantine.
- For Residents: make payment agreements with those who cannot pay, similar to when the government shutdown occurred.
- Sanitizing: consider focused efforts on cleaning handrails and doorknobs (high touch areas).
- Leasing: minimize interactions with applicants and residents.
- Consider virtual tours and interviews.
- Utilize Skype, Zoom, Facetime, etc.
- Allow residents to notify management of sickness or self-quarantining.
- Maintenance: Minimize being inside units.
- Limit unit entry to emergency repairs.
- Focus on common area repairs.
- Communicate with residents on the definition of emergency.
- Community Rooms and centers: with limits being set by health professional for the number of people gathered, seriously consider if the rooms should be open at all.
- Move-ins move outs. With fair housing in mind, set your policy and stick to it.
- Increased deliveries – now is the time to support non-interactive deliveries, be aware of those who may have difficulty in retrieving packages.
- Communicate with residents and staff! Especially about reduced office/staff hours.
- Staff: make health a priority- cleaning, and not coming to work if sick or exposed.
Above all: please follow CDC, federal, state, and local guidance, including posting signage as to what you are doing, and where people can get more information.
Along those lines, please consider:
- Apply for Small Business Administration loans if needed, or at least get on their radar.
- Review your disaster preparedness plan, update accordingly with home and cell numbers.
- Be prepared for text and email, as phone circuits may become overloaded.
Many cities are moving to a triage process for inspections, both inspections for code issues and Section 8 inspections, with federal inspections suspended.
On Friday, March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency over the virus, setting the stage for the Treasury and IRS to offer administrative tax relief. Some of the solutions being discussed include extending deadlines for tax return filing and tax payments, waiving penalties for late payments and interest, and expediting amended tax return processing.
In addition, the House and Senate are voting on a bill to provide tax cuts for employers offering emergency sick leave. It does not include the payroll tax cut sought by the President, but it does require insurers to cover virus testing and it provides enhanced unemployment benefits and increased food aid for children, among other things. The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week, and a Presidential signature after that is all but certain.
The President has announced that he will instruct Treasury to allow individuals and businesses that are negatively affected by the Coronavirus to defer their tax payments beyond the April 15 deadline. Individuals and businesses will have an extra 90 days to pay the IRS if they owe additional income tax for 2019.
Normally, taxpayers owe the amount due by April 15. But as part of the government’s response to the Coronavirus, individual and small business filers will be able to defer payments of up to $1 million and corporations can defer up to $10 million — without incurring interest or penalties. Please be aware this is not an extension of time to file extension requests or tax returns, but does provide some relief for those who owe tax.
It is important to remember that all bills must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate and be signed into law by the President – many things being discussed in the media have not yet become laws and until they are, the current laws stand including the due dates for tax returns and extension requests.
Congress Finalizes COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Act: Prepare To Provide Paid Sick Leave And FMLA
The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act today, an economic stimulus plan aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Americans and introducing paid sick leave and an expanded family and medical leave act to the nation’s employers. An earlier version of this Act (H.R. 6201) was previously passed by the House in the early hours of Saturday, March 14 before being significantly altered late Monday, March 16. The bill now awaits President Trump’s signature, which is expected later today or tomorrow as he has already publicly supported the bill. Once he signs the bill, it will become effective in 15 days.
[Ed. Note: The president signed the legislation on the evening of March 18, which means the leave provisions will go into effect on April 2.]
This Act includes many provisions which apply to employers, such as paid sick leave for employees impacted by COVID-19 and those serving as caregivers for individuals with COVID-19. While the Act also contains several provisions to increase funding for familiar benefit programs, like WIC and SNAP, this legal alert summarizes the key benefit provisions of the Act which affect employers.
There are two provisions providing paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: an emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a new federal paid sick leave law.
For an explanation and overview visit https://nationalreia.org/covid-19-updates/covid-19-employee-and-employer-information/.
You can find the document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a technical explanation of Division G, “Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave,” of H.R. 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (the “bill”) as received in the Senate on March 17, 2020. Click here to see details.