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 City, China, and has since spread to 181 additional countries. With 35,530 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the United States (through March 24, 2020), the National Apartment Association (NAA) believes it prudent for its members and affiliates to be prepared for incidents involving COVID-19 should they occur.
NAA understands that affiliates, members and residents may have concerns about how apartment communities should address the virus and, in an effort to offer preliminary 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.
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.
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.
- Watch 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
- Watch 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
- Watch 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
- Watch 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
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.
- Best Practices for Resident Exposure to COVID-19
Resources for Property Managers
- 10 Ways to Keep Residents Engaged During COVID-19
- Best Practices for Operations
- Emergency Document for Essential Personnel
- Sample - Maintenance Emergencies Defined
- Awareness Acknowledgement Letter
Resources for Teleworking
- Best Practices for Teleworking Amidst COVID-19
- Best Practices for Flex Scheduling
- Collaboration Tools for Working Remotely
- Communication Tools for Working Remotely
- Sample - Telework Agreement
- Learn more on the COVID-19 Related Policy Concerns page.
- FHFA Offers Mortgage Relief for Multifamily Property Owners
- 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.
- The Latest Court Closures and Restrictions
Bi-weekly updates on economic data releases, forecasts and impacts of the coronavirus on the national economy.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- From ATI - Guidelines for Coronavirus Cleaning
- 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.