In April 2020, the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) conducted an anonymous survey to collect data regarding how FAA members are adapting to the challenges posed by COVID-19. A total of 74 complete responses were collected from multifamily executives, owners, operators, and developers from across the state. The survey collected data from individuals who operate affordable, market rate, mixed, senior, and student housing.
How is rent being collected?
The survey found a majority of respondents (69%) had a low delinquency rate of 5-10%. This is an encouraging sign for the Florida multifamily market. Survey results also confirmed FAA members are adapting and finding ways to assist residents financially impacted by COVID-19. An overwhelming 93% of survey respondents are offering payment plans and 95% are waiving late fees. The next highest percentage (70%) noted they were renewing rent without an increase, while 55% allowed residents to pay via credit card without any fees and extend leases on a month to month basis without a rent increase. Some FAA members are offering rent discounts, gift cards for timely payments, early termination without penalty, rent deferment, among other options.
What is happening on an operational level?
In addition, the survey confirmed COVID-19 has altered apartment community operations substantially. Roughly 92% of respondents have closed indoor and outdoor amenities to limit group gatherings. In addition, 89% are offering virtual tours to the public (in place of in person showings) and 95% are only processing emergency maintenance requests at this time. Another large percentage of respondents (73%) said some of their staff are working remotely at this time.
Is your community going above and beyond?
A few FAA members are even going above and beyond to help residents by establishing relief funds to assist those in need with individual grants, waiving April rents for those who were laid off, and offering assistance in many different ways. Many members have been engaging with their residents during this time. In fact, one member noted that their community has “social hours” where they host local food trucks and pay for their resident’s meals. This is all in an effort to “...say hello to our residents (social distancing) and [make] them feel at home.”
The COVID-19 public health crisis has made a huge impact on the multifamily housing industry. However, it has also provided us with the opportunities to find innovative solutions and grow as businesses. It is important to participate in, as well as, read through our surveys, so that our industry can find new solutions to our current problems.
To view our COVID-19 member survey, please click on the link below.