All posts by sperling

condo building

Filling Rental Vacancies Fast 

As a side effect of the pandemic, many rental properties have remained vacant for longer than usual. Whether it is due to college and universities going remote, so students no longer need their rental, or a major shift to suburban living overcrowded city life, apartments that are usually a hot commodity have slowed down in rental allure. Thus, filling rental vacancies has become a pivotal part of property management responsibilities. 

Here are a few ideas that may help landlords quickly fill vacancies that may occur over the course of the year. 

Keep Your Listings Current on Your Website

According to RentTec Direct, “72% of renters use the Internet when looking for a new apartment according to a study conducted by Apartments.com and Google which evaluated the top avenue renters use to find their next rental property.”

If you are not keeping your vacancies up-to-date on your site, you may be missing a large portion of renters that find their next apartment online. 

Evaluate Your Pricing 

Your future renters will be doing their homework and shopping around to see which spaces include utilities, which do not, and which ones may offer some sort of amenities such as a yard or outdoor entertaining space. 

Be sure to examine what the market is telling you your rent should be according to current situations. Once you have examined you can easily justify why the rent is set at a certain amount. 

condo pool

Utilize Professional Cleaners 

Apartments that have been professionally cleaned, including the kitchen and bathrooms, appear better to potential renters. If you hire a cleaning crew you will not only save yourself some time and elbow grease, but also make your property look more appealing to those hoping to rent. 

Keep in mind that renters check out every corner of the unit before they sign on the dotted line. By contracting this chore out, you will be maintaining your reputation for having spotless units as well as having renters find the unit above reproach. 

Consider Perks 

If you want to fill your rental quickly with quality renters, consider some perks. 

Offer your current renters (or outgoing renters) referral awards to entice word-of-mouth recommendations. There is nothing better than finding a renter through a referral from someone who has been a quality tenant for years! 

home or rental key

Advertise Immediately

If you do not have a referral program, you should try to advertise a vacancy immediately upon getting notice from the tenants. 

Most rental units come with a requirement of giving 30 days’ notice to the landlord before moving out. Act immediately upon getting the notice to advertise the unit so that there will not be a vacancy the next month. Every time that unit sits empty you are losing income from that space. 

Follow our blogs for more ideas on how to keep your properties well run and efficient now and going forward. 

 

1558 Mass ave Cambridge

Announcing Permanent Financing for 1558 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 

The New England Real Estate Journal (NEREJ), a commercial real estate industry leader, announced this summer permanent financing for the 31-unit apartment house located at 1558 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Commercial Mortgage Bankers, Fantini & Gorga, located in the Greater Boston region arranged $5.264 million in permanent financing for the quintessential brick building in one of Boston’s most sought-after locations. 

Harvard Square

Classic Harvard Square Location 

Positioned near Harvard University’s campus and directly across from Harvard Law School, the property possesses the classic red brick building feel of historic Harvard Square along with the ease and convenience to local shops and restaurants that stretch from Harvard Square to Porter Square. Just a short walk allows access to unique dining or entertainment opportunities as well as ease of commute to major corporations located in Boston and the surrounding communities.

Originally constructed in the heyday of the 1920’s, the building has some remarkably desirable features such as fireplaces, traditional dining rooms, and original pantries in some of the units. Each feature can become a coveted focal point aesthetically and a talking point for the notable charm of the building.

On the exterior, the five-story building is not only surrounded by grand historic homes in the New England style, but also includes a landscaped courtyard that adds to the beauty of the brick and decorative cast stone exterior. 

Fantini & GorgaFinancing & Property Management 

Buildings with this type of historical significance and location do not come along every day. The financing for this classic property came from an FHA-insured loan placed through Fantini & Gorga correspondent lender, Eastern Mortgage Capital. 

Tim O’Donnell, Principal at Fantini & Gorga, noted that, “We were delighted to be able to structure 35-year fixed-rate financing for this asset, locking in today’s incredibly low rate for the next generation. As always, our correspondent, Eastern Mortgage Capital, underwrote and closed this loan using their unparalleled expertise in the FHA financing field.”

Thayer & Associates, Inc. was proud to play a role in this acquisition of this gorgeous property. Tracey Ficociello, the Property Manager at that time, was the direct interface along with the Property Accountant, David Cores. Together they assisted in completing any requests for information, data gathering, property inspections, and any other tasks the lender required to approve and complete the refinance.

We look forward to many years of delighting in the property at 1558 Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Congratulations to the team at Fantini & Gorga, Eastern Mortgage Capital, and our own team members who were integral in securing financing for this property.

 

 

 

key in door lock

Locks: When Should Property Managers Make the Change? 

Locks are often a last line of defense to robbery attempts or a home invasion. A criminal may be deterred by a few home features such as: exterior motion sensor lights, security systems, and, of course, a locked door. 

Safety and security are two of the most important aspects of property management. According to the FBI, burglary is the most common threat to homes and rental units. 

Knowing this, when should property owners change the locks to a unit? 

Managing keys and lock replacement protocol can become an expensive part of running any community. The average cost of replacing a lock can run from $100-200 for each lock needing to be replaced. Given that most units have more than one entryway, this can add up as renters move on to other living communities. 

The laws regulating whether a landlord (or property management group) is required to change the locks after each tenant vary state-by-state. In fact, some even vary jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction. 

According to LandlordGurus online, “most states require the landlord to provide a functioning deadbolt on all exterior doors to the unit. If it has been damaged, then you may be required to replace it for the new tenant.”

Here are situations when your community may want to consider changing the locks. 

red door

When a Key Has Been Lost or Stolen 

One key can mean the difference between a break-in and a safe evening at home. If you have a tenant who has lost a key or possibly had that key stolen, you may want to change the locks. This one step can show your management company’s commitment to safety in the community. 

When the Property Turns Over

While not always required in every state or municipality, changing the locks when one tenant leaves and another moves in can be a safety measure that can give everyone some peace of mind. 

Tenants may choose to change the locks even if a management company does not. If this is the case, you will need copies of the key and to gain permission for the change. 

When Vendors Have Completed Major Work 

If your community is completing major renovations such as electrical, plumbing, or exterior work that requires the vendors to have copies of keys to access all areas, you may want to consider changing the locks at the completion of the work. 

This will give unit owners a sense of security as they probably have seen the vendors using the buildings and accessing areas with keys. This is also a good way to ensure that any extra keys that may have been used are no longer useful. 

According to Brink Home Security, “Apartment owners or renters should keep their spare keys only in the hands of a trusted few, such as roommates or family members. You should also consider smart locks that help you control who enters and exits with customized entry codes.” 

If you have questions about what is legally required in your state, comment below or contact us about safety in your community. 

old friends walking

What are Typical Guest Policies in a HOA?

Do you like to entertain, have friends or family over, or enjoy the amenities of your community with a friend or two? Do you invite guests to stay overnight at your condo? If so, how long is an acceptable amount of time before guest status becomes resident status?  Let’s take a look at guest policies, their purpose, and some typical details that are meant to protect homeowners. 

two people hugging

What is a Guest Policy?

There are a couple types of guest policies when it comes to homeowners associations. First, there are guest policies in regards to using the amenities at an association. For instance, can a certain number of guests visit the pool, gym, or tennis courts at the association? You may find your HOA has a limit to how many people who can invite to use those amenities. 

Usually these guest policies explain how many guests are allowed as well as appropriate behavior of those guests while using the amenities. 

Beyond use of the community amenities, guest policies are used to differentiate between a long-term visitor and someone who has become a renter in a unit. 

Why Have a Guest Policy? 

Guest policies in a homeowners association are meant to prevent unauthorized, unsafe, and unmonitored rentals or use of a homeowner’s unit. 

For instance, Airbnb or Vrbo rentals for unoccupied units could become a problem for associations if rules are not followed or guests become unruly. 

Having a guest policy protects the association from liability should anything happen to the guest and allows for shared use of amenities in a fair and reasonable manner. 

swimming pool

Typical Policy Details 

At a basic level, curbing unruly guest behavior at the pool, in the common areas, or anywhere on the property is an important detail included in a typical guest policy. Often these policies will limit the number of guests a unit owner can have on the property at any given time. 

Determining when a guest has transitioned over to becoming a resident is important for HOAs, as they will need to know who is living in what unit. In this situation, there are an entirely different set of policies to consider. 

HOAs will want to determine if a guest who may have stayed overnight (on occasion) has become a more permanent part of the community. To determine this, they may need to know if mail is being delivered to the guest, if they have a key to the residence, and if they are paying part (or all) of the rent. 

If your association has noticed any of these behaviors, chances are your short-term guest may have morphed into a long-term guest, or even a resident. At this point their name may need to be added to the HOA paperwork. 

Other, more detailed aspects of a guest policy may include: 

  • How long a guest may stay
  • How many guests are allowed at any one time
  • Maximum occupancy of a unit based upon square footage and safety considerations
  • How many consecutive nights a guest may stay before they are considered a renter
  • Behavior of guests while in common areas 
  • Determinations of who is responsible for the guest during their time in the community

Do you have questions about drafting a guest policy for your community? Talk to our specialists about how this can be accomplished while still allowing homeowners flexibility to entertain and visit with family and friends. 

 

virtual meeting

Hybrid In-person/Virtual Meetings, Are They Even Possible?

Now that the country has transitioned to the ‘Post-COVID’ era we can look back and, even in the face of the devastating impact of the world-wide pandemic, find nuggets of positive changes and new, better and creative ways of doing things.

We have all become more careful; we wash our hands more frequently, we clean and sanitize the surfaces we touch, we sneeze into our elbows, we dine outdoors and more and more of us are getting vaccinated. As an annoyingly positive thinker, I am confident that these changes will continue well into the future and that everyone will be healthier as a result.

OK, we are dropping the use of masks and other restrictions both at work and at home. Some of us are more comfortable with the pace of our return to ‘normal’ or at least ‘the new normal’ and that is ok. I suspect everyone is very glad that things are finally moving in a better direction.

Out of Necessity

One of the changes many of us made during the pandemic was to move from in-person to virtual meetings. Until the pandemic forced everyone to think of ways to function without exposure to COVID, very few communities embraced the idea of holding so-called ‘virtual’ meetings. Almost overnight the terms Zoom, WEBEX and Microsoft Teams became a regular part of our daily conversations.

We have no way of knowing whether or not communities will prefer in-person or virtual meetings. It is reasonable to expect that demand for virtual meetings will remain stronger than it was before COVID came ashore. We have found that associations that held virtual or hybrid meetings generally experienced increased participation and, overall, an increase in satisfaction with the experience of attending meetings. We simply cannot ignore the fact that many unit owners were unable to attend in-person meetings but were able to attend virtual meetings.

I have a confession to make: I want my cake and eat to. Why not conduct Hybrid In-person / Virtual meetings? A Hybrid In-person/Virtual meeting provides the opportunity for people to be together in person in a room and at the same time connect with an audience that is attending virtually.   All meeting participants – both in person and virtual – have access to the same information and the ability to communicate with everyone at the meeting.

Having conducted Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meetings for a couple of years now, we find that they are not only possible but most association board members and owners who have experienced well-run Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meetings find that they are actually more convenient and preferable to in-person meetings- this is especially so for board members and unit owners who are away or who find attending in-person meeting difficult or even impossible.

Zoom meeting Best Practices for Conducting a Hybrid In-Person/Virtual Meeting

  1. Technology

Here is a check list of what you need:

  • A laptop computer with ample HDMI, USB and audio outlets.
  • A high-quality full-size EPSON Video Projector.
  • A large video screen, a suitably sized monitor or a large white wall surface.
  • A Bose L1° Compact Line Array Public Address System. This is a great public address system that can easily accommodate a meeting of 200 or more people and pairs with a Shure BETA 58° Wired Microphone and 2 wireless microphones.
  • 2 SHURE Model BLX4R Wireless Receivers.
  • A Mackie Model 402VLZ4 4-Cannel Ultra Compact Mixer to transmit the signal between the Bose public Address System and the wireless microphones
  • The all-in-one camera-microphone product designed and manufactured by OWL Labs. This product produces a clear 360° image, automatically locates and highlights the speaker, offers good to great sound quality and it is a truly amazing piece of technology.
  • Zoom Video Conferencing, WEBEX, Microsoft Teams or an equivalent video conferencing platform. We have found that most of our clients are familiar with Zoom and Zoom offers convenient and useful features such a Waiting Room, Chat, Screen Sharing, Mute, Recording, etc. These feature help facilitate more effective meeting presentations.
  • Plenty of HDMI, USB, 9-pin, audio, power and other cables to connect all of the a/v equipment.
  • A reliable wifi connection.
  • Extra batteries for the wireless microphones.
  • An extension cord and power strip.
  • Power Point to prepare agendas and exhibits.
  • A suitable meeting room.
  1. unit owners meetings

  2. Preparation

Another critical consideration for Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meeting is the preparation and presentation of agendas and exhibits. Creating Power Point Presentations allows a manager and board members to present agendas, exhibits, documents, photographs, etc. through screen-sharing features.

In a Zoom meeting, the host simply clicks on Zoom’s Screen-share feature and opens the Power Point Presentation – full-screen – and everyone attending the meeting in-person can see the presentation on-screen and everyone attending virtually via Zoom can see it on their computers, laptops or tablets.

Here are some other important tips.

  • Set up and check to make sure that all a/v equipment is operating properly and that you have all of the equipment, cables, power cords, power strips, extra batteries, etc. the day before a meeting. There is nothing worse than getting to a meeting and encountering an equipment failure or a missing piece of equipment.
  • Mute all attendees, except for board members and the management team. This helps keep the meeting focused and on track.
  • Ask attendees to submit their questions and comments through the chat feature. This enables the host, board members and presenters to monitor and respond to questions and comments from unit owners.
  • Arrange to have a separate member of the management team host the Zoom Conference. This enables the board members and the property manager to concentrate on the presentation without being distracted with operating the Zoom features.
  • Activate Zoom’s Record feature and provide the link to all unit owners, so that those who were unable to attend can view the meeting. It is recommended that someone announce that the meeting is being recorded.

I want to leave everyone with the following thoughts.

Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meetings provide associations with an invaluable opportunity to accommodate unit owners who prefer to attend meetings in person as well as unit owners who are away or who are unable to attend in-person meetings. The end result is increased participation, which is a goal we share all share.

Setting up Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meetings may seem daunting. However, if I can do it, and I have, anyone can.

Finally, have some fun! For techno-geeks like me setting up Hybrid Meetings is like a kid in a candy store.

Douglas Thayer, CPM is President/Owner of Thayer & Associates, Inc., AMO

 

software on a laptop

Benefits of Association Software in 2021

Running an association can be difficult and time consuming work. Responsibilities run the gamut from collecting association payments online to handling vendors for landscaping, electrical work, and plumbing issues. In addition to these tasks, constant communication with the HOA board and association members is necessary to make a property run well. Association software is one way to help streamline these tasks and make them more manageable. 

texting communication

What is HOA Software? 

Software helps most of us stay organized and on top of what’s going on in our home and work lives. For instance, many of us use a calendar program to stay up-to-date on family and work dates. We use accounting software to pay our bills automatically. We may even use a timekeeper app to keep us on schedule. 

HOA software is similar to these personal software programs in that they can help HOA boards or property managers handle a specific aspect of HOA’s operations such as operations, payments, scheduling, and CC&R (Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions) enforcement. 

Many times HOA software comes in a convenient bundle to manage all of these components of association life, but sometimes specialty platforms and programs should be used to help keep things organized. 

phone apps

What Are the Benefits of HOA Software? 

When it comes to managing an association, software can mean the difference between a well-maintained property and community amenities and one that needs some work. Here are the top benefits for enlisting the help of HOA software in your community. 

Security

HOA’s store and transmit quite a bit of personal and sensitive information including the payment methods, names, addresses, and phone numbers of all the people living in the community. Software that is backed by current security measures can keep that information from being hacked or falling into the wrong hands, ones with malicious intent. 

Streamline Data

Running a property or community means lots of maintaining information from the people who live there as well as from the vendors who help maintain the property. Requests for repairs, reports of CC&R violations, and payments can be done automatically with software at your fingertips. 

Improved Communications 

Depending upon the software you choose, everyone in your community will most likely have some level of access to communications whether it is a weekly newsletter or announcements of changes/repairs that are upcoming in the association. Both internal and external communications can improve by using software to help spread pertinent information to the right groups of people.

For a substantial list of the best software being used by communities across the country and right here in Massachusetts, check out this list of programs or platforms you may want to try out to manage your community.  

 

condo pool

Pool Safety in Your HOA Community 

If your community has a swimming pool as one of it’s amenities, consider yourself lucky as we embark on what is promising to be a scorcher of a summer in Massachusetts. Last year at this time many homeowner’s associations made the difficult decision to keep community swimming pools closed due to the coronavirus. This year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),has given new guidance that allows pools to open for the season. 

As pools begin to reopen this year, now seems to be a good time to review pool safety in your community and what the responsibilities of the HOA may or may not entail. 

lifeguard jumping in a pool

Lifeguard or No Lifeguard? 

Every community eventually faces this question regarding whether to staff the community pool with a trained lifeguard or to have a “Swim at Your Own Risk” policy. There are pros and cons to each in regards to cost and liability. 

Sadly, the CDC reports that there are more than 3,500 unintentional drownings every year across the country. To prevent this, many associations hire trained lifeguards or pool monitors to regulate behavior and the amount of people in the pool at any given time. The benefit of this is the added security and peace of mind that comes with a certified lifeguard at the pool’s edge. Unfortunately, hiring a lifeguard or even a pool monitor can be expensive and prohibitive for smaller communities. 

The “Swim at Your Own Risk” policy also comes with advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the cost savings of creating rules and allowing community members to follow independently is remarkable, but it comes at the risk of loss of life should a swimmer encounter trouble. The safety of the swimmers is left up to the guests at the pool, often with an emergency phone setup to use in the case of a situation should arise. 

Having a lifeguard means the liability and insurance for the pool area safety lies with the vendor supplying the lifeguards. Conversely, the “Swim at Your Own Risk” policy does come with liability issues for the HOA. Each community should review their insurance and liability requirements before opening the pool and other amenities each year to their community members.

condo association pool

Create Rules and Regulations for Pool Area 

Regardless of whether your community pool has a lifeguard or not, there should be a list of rules prominently displayed that explains what behavior is allowed and what is not. These could include: 

  • No Diving
  • No Running on the Pool Deck
  • No Glass Containers in the Pool Area
  • No Electrical Devices in the Pool or on the Edge
  • No Fooling Around in the Pool or on the Deck
  • No Swimming Alone 
  • No Swimming During a Storm
  • Swimming Only Allowed During Posted Hours
  • ____  Number of Guests Allowed 

Cleanliness of Pool Area 

Depending upon the property management rules, your pool area may be a carry-in-carry-out pool, meaning whatever you bring there, must leave with you. That includes trash, chairs, and towels. Having rules about the cleanliness makes the pool area nice for everyone in the community.

Looking for more ideas on ways to keep your pool area safe this summer? Check out the guidance from the CDC and property management resources.  

 

gazebo and green grass

What Does Landscaping Say About Your Community? 

We all know the old adage that a “picture says a thousand words,” but did you know that landscaping, and the image that it portrays, can be just as important to a homeowners community? 

In fact, according to landscaping professionals, “landscaping can be one of the simplest ways that your community establishes its identity. Simply by insisting on annual flower rotations at entrances and regularly filling in mulch or pine straw, the community keeps a vibrant appearance and demonstrates that the residents care about their homes.” 

Look around your community. What does the landscaping say about your homeowners community? 

landscaped walkway

The Importance of Landscaping 

One of the top reasons why many residents choose living in a community is the bonus of not having to mow, weed, edge, trim, and plan out plantings or gardens every year. 

And, it’s not just during the warm, growing months that landscaping pays off for the community. During the cold winter months, the walkways are shoveled and the driveways plowed and treated by an adept landscaping crew. 

For many residents, this release from having to maintain the landscaping every weekend is enough of a benefit and why they find professional landscaping within the community advantageous. For others, there are a number of ways that landscaping curates an identity for the community. 

Here’s how…

Increases Curb Appeal 

In the world of real estate, curb appeal can either draw in a buyer in seconds or repel them even faster. This is true in single family residences and homeowner’s communities as well. 

Just like at any property, landscaping can send a signal to buyers that the property is well cared for and maintained throughout the year. Well-manicured lawns, carefully edged gardens, flower beds that are weed-free, walkways that are not overgrown, and trees that are mature and healthy can tell a home buyer how healthy the community is as well. If HOA communities hope to attract quality buyers, the landscaping needs to shine. 

walkway with landscaping

Promotes Safety

Landscaping isn’t just about mowing and planting. It is also about maintaining a safe environment for all community members. Professional landscapers can help keep the community safe by trimming and pruning tree branches before storms or ocean winds create a hazardous situation for structures and people living in the area. 

Landscaping also helps promote safety by keeping walkways and driveways clear of debris or overgrown bushes or trees that could pose a hazard for the residents walking or driving in the area. Removal of roots or pavers that are loose in the entertaining areas can prevent falls that could result in injury. 

During the winter months, landscapers often take on the job of shoveling, plowing, and de-icing walkways and steps that could pose a slip-and-fall threat for residents. 

Can Help Maintain & Increase Home Values 

Realtors have found that good landscaping can help maintain and even increase a home’s value. This goes for communities as well as single family homes.

In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) suggests that you can increase your home’s value by 5% to 15% by spending the equivalent percentage on landscape maintenance and upgrades. A home or community’s value can be assessed in one viewing by a potential buyer. Make sure that the first impression is a vibrant and positive one. 

 

swimmers in a pool

The Best Community Amenities

Are you on the hunt for a stress-free living situation? Many young professionals, as well as people enjoying their retirement, love the idea of living in a community such as a homeowners association where the majority of the heavy work is done by landscapers, plow companies, and repairmen who take care of the property year round. 

Another bonus of living in a community are the wonderful amenities that many properties offer their tenants. Read on to find out more about the best community amenities that you may want in your next home. 

tennis courts

What Are Community Amenities? 

Depending upon the community you live in, amenities are generally thought to be either indoor or outdoor spaces that are meant to be used by residents and their guests. These could include a clubhouse, fitness room, pool, tennis courts, walking paths, playgrounds, golf courses, or outdoor entertaining areas with kitchens or fire pits. 

Homeowner associations generally believe that these spaces are great ways to attract residents to a community and keep them as loyal association members. These conveniences can really raise the bar, so to speak, to make your community desirable to the audience you are hoping to attract. 

For instance, many 55 and older communities offer amenities that include concierge services where groceries or other needs can be delivered if a senior can not get out. Conversely, communities that hope to attract young working professionals may offer areas to mingle, fitness rooms, or health spas. It all depends upon the needs and wants of the people in your community. 

Here are some of the trendiest community amenities for your residents this year. 

Fitness Centers 

Given that many gyms and fitness locations were closed or reduced hours due to the pandemic, many associations have loved that fitness centers were a part of their living community. 

Not only do fitness centers help association members reach their fitness and health goals, they also are a great way to mingle within the community and get to know the other people living in the area in a safe way. Financially, having a fitness center or gym on the premises can save community members from shelling out high gym fees monthly. 

treadmill and gym equipment

Outdoor Recreation 

Along with a fitness center, community members are always looking for entertainment. Given the surge in Americans getting outside to hike, walk, bike, play tennis, and swim, your community would be smart to add amenities that encourage these pastimes. 

Hiking trails, pools, tennis courts, bike paths, and outdoor game areas (think cornhole) are great ideas for communities hoping to keep their members active and outdoors. These amenities can help people de-stress and maintain their health all year long. 

While a pool and tennis courts do require regular maintenance, you may find that home buyers are willing to pay the extra cost to have these amenities at their disposal. 

Pet-Friendly Amenities 

You may have heard that Americans are adopting pets during this pandemic at record rates. That means that many homeowners are looking for pet-friendly areas such as dog parks, walking paths, and even doggy babysitting options. This added amenity can really set your community apart especially for city dwellers who are always looking for a safe, fun place to bring their pooch. 

Child-Friendly Amenities 

From playgrounds, to dedicated indoor play spaces, communities have begun to expand their child amenities offerings. Parents need a way to get out of the house in a safe and fun way. HOAs that offer areas where children can play without risk of interrupting other community members are doing a great service for the parents of their community. 

What amenities does your community have? Which would you like them to add? Comment below or drop us a line on Facebook

 

 

rental apartment

The Impact of Covid-19 on the Rental Industry

The outbreak of the coronavirus last year continues to impact the nation socially, medically, and (not surprisingly) financially in major ways. Our hospital systems are stressed, families have gone months without seeing each other, and families are struggling with unemployment issues that are having a ripple effect in the rental industry. Let’s take a closer look at this problem and how it is currently being dealt with in Massachusetts and across the nation. 

medical mask

What the Statistics Tell Us

According to a study conducted on 1,000 U.S. renters by Entrata, a property management software company, showed that most of the study participants started the COVID-19 lockdown with virtually no savings and had to work with apartment management to defer or cancel rent payments. Many renters reported using their stimulus checks to keep a roof over their heads.

Other national research estimates that one third of all tenants did not pay their full April rent on time. Some did not pay because they had lost all sources of income and did not have sufficient savings to cover their bills. Others were waiting for their stimulus checks to arrive before paying the rent. 

Closer to home, newly appointed Boston Mayor, Kim Janey announced late in March that $50 million in new funding for the city’s Rental Relief Fund would be released.

The human impact of these difficulties goes well beyond these statistics and may never really fully be understood. 

the scales of justice

What to Expect Regarding Rental Payments & Potential Evictions

While this issue is extremely fluid and may change and evolve over the next few months, this is where we stand right now. 

Halt on Evictions

Most states have implemented a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent during the pandemic. More specifically, Nolo, an online legal resource states that, “On September 1, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Agency Order titled Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19 (Order). The Order went into effect on September 4, 2020, and was extended on December 27, 2021. (See Section 502 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.). The CDC’s latest order extends the residential eviction ban until at least June 30, 2021.” 

Pause on Utility Shut Offs 

In addition to halting evictions for this year, most states have and paused utility shut-offs due to non-payment. It is a temporary pause, not forgiveness, of the amount owed. 

Rent Relief Bills 

Most rental property owners do not have the luxury of considering rent forgiveness. State governments, however, have started programs for Rent Relief that can help take the pressure off both the tenants and the property owners who also need the income to pay their bills. Massachusetts Rent Relief bill details can be found here for reference.