Park operations during a pandemic

How are other park operators handling the property management side of the business right now?

The sad reality is that a lot of our residents are considered high risk. Most of my parks are in a state that has had a state of emergency declared and all schools have been shut down.

I am putting together a letter to all of my on site managers with the following points:
-As always they are ultimately in charge of how they do their job, and what they feel are best practices for their circumstances
-It may be reasonable to post a notice on their door with their phone number and email asking that all non essential park business be conducted through phone and email
-For home showings, it is reasonable to leave the home unlocked and allow applicants to conduct a self tour. Applications can be left on the counter
-A note can be placed on the drop box encouraging residents to sign up for online payments

Does anyone else have any other thoughts or suggestions? Things haven’t blown up yet, but I’d rather formulate a plan before they might in the next few weeks.

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Thoughts:

  • Different municipalities are shutting down courts for certain times.
  • Bans on evictions are already out there in various markets.
  • Package just rolled out with certain measures with some level of protection for certain groups. Not sure how this plays out in practicality and what happens to those that might not get protection.
  • If there as an extended shutdown , I would have some plan in mind in the event you face bulk non payment and tenants dont have the ability to pay with circumstances ( with the consideration in mind that courts might hold / ban evictions) . I think Italy halted mortgage payments ( as an example but not sure what that looks like here for tenants /landlords , in extended economic hardship) .
  • Do a check on your current reserves, access to any credit facilities as precautions and make any pivots you may be able to right now.
  • Be proactive, maybe check in with residents who are higher health risk according to posted guidelines.
  • Work to minimize any non essential contact.
  • Be proactive, but soaps in any homes that people would be going into for any reason.
  • Have in mind a plan maybe with backup vendors if certain vendors aren’t going to be working. And anything non essential , maybe push it off for now ( ie if you have a rental home and have a bulb out , versus spewing water leak). Consider if it makes sense putting a halt on home showings for the time being. ( apple is closing all their US stores, they are smarter than I so just keep that in mind).

The situation is changing rapidly and needs to be reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis.

Uncertainty will work its way into the economic machine. Duration and severity at this point are unknowns so outline what different scenarios might look like and how you will work with them.

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What if Apple and Samsung and other hi-tech already have the ability to do temp. and check for virus susceptibility—maybe already in 4G if not 5G. Most everyone will have the flu strain in the next 3 weeks But will show NO symptoms and remember incubation time of up to 25 days. Our death from drugs of over 85,000 per year and no intervention (how to help?) to an abundance of things and perhaps when it is over less than 10,000 deaths from this virus. Thus far the age +70 is mostly at risk and children are omitted. China had the bird flu, swine flu and what else—sad that over 35% of Wal-mart products sold are China made–so sad!!!

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In my opinion, in the long run this crisis will lessen our dependence on Chinese products as more will open their eyes that China IS our enemy, trading partner or not. Its time to keep tightening our borders, open borders will be the downfall of our country. Sensible and legal immigration the only option. Im expecting some unpaid rents and collecting them in the future or possibly rent-loss insurance claim.[?]

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Although this virus will be very wide spread the final death total will not be catastrophic. Total deaths will be small compared to pandemics of the last century. Best policy is to simply maintain a reasonable personal space from others.

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I hope I’m wrong, but I think you guys are nuts by not being concerned. Court houses are closing in various parts of the country, and some cities are starting to place moratoriums on evictions. It would be surprising if these emergency measures don’t spread. Pretty soon we won’t be able to evict residents for non payment and we’re entering a near certain recession which is going to cost a bunch of our residents their jobs. The question in my mind isn’t if this is going to be a major financial disruption to landlords, but how to best prepare for the coming storm. I really hope I’m overreacting, but I doubt it :frowning:

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San Francisco has just ordered mandatory self-quarantine for everyone. Exceptions for groceries, etc but not for anything else. Walking outside is permitted, congregating is not. Note that outside of NYC, SF is the most densely populated county in the USA.

This is something no one is prepared for and will be cataclysmic in effects. Good luck to everyone. We have halted evictions and we’re heading towards waiving late fees as well. I think everyone should do likewise. To be homeless this spring and summer could be a death sentence as health care is rationed. It’s not likely, but I want to sleep at night.

@KurtKelley, does business interruption insurance cover this?

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I asked the same question and was surprised to hear that they believe it will not be covered. This is an act of god. Force majeure / MAC clauses are already being cited in an M&A context.

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Agree with you. I think it will be a major dislocation. Couple this with the fact that we were already long overdue a recession, following the longest bull run in U.S. history.

I’m also beginning to see some of our residents ask for rent relief. Also, starting to see lenders really pull back (I also run a commercial mortgage banking company).

It will only get much worse. On the bright side, it will hopefully shake out a lot of this hot money that have bid up parks to nonsensical levels and caused all kinds of problems for good operators.

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Flip side is we’re about to see the bailout of all bailouts. I’m actually not seeing lenders pull back yet. Given rates have gone to zero most will have to play ball - more of a question of price/terms in my view. That said, they are pausing/taking their time given the speed of this move. Just take a look at stock prices of the public guys to understand the extent of what has happened in such a short period of time.

There’s also a large price being placed on volatility as spreads have blown out across the spectrum, whether IG/HY or CRE. Fannie spreads have blown out significantly.

Anyone that overpaid for a deal in the last 6 months will be in for an interesting 6 months ahead. Some saying 10-20% chance of global depression. I do share the sentiment that this will shake out some of the new money that has entered the space.

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Noel_S your assessment is not wrong but obviously over reacting serves no purpose. To prepare we need to meet with our banks and inform them that at some point we expect a freeze on loan payments and we will need to be diligent in pressuring tenants to pay when we believe they can. We can not simply allow rent payment vacations.
The economic impact of this situation is going to over shadow the medical impact. If banks do not place a moratorium on mortgage and loan payments the snow ball effect is going to make 2008 look like a minor economic blip.
Small businesses, which make up the majority of employment, is temporarily going to be decimated, long term it’s anyone’s guess. Many , maybe most, small businesses may never recover. I expect that landlords will seriously be taken advantage of by tenants. Many tenants will stop paying with the intent of walking away from their debts when things do turn around. The government expects landlords, both residential and business, to carry the burden of responsibility of providing free housing through this economic down turn with little hope of being able to ever collect. Will the government assist landlords…… Highly unlikely.
I personally am concerned more about the economic impact than anything else.
Most of us are down tens to hundreds of thousands in personal investments (stock market) but this is a lower impact compared to that of ongoing income loss.
Very little can be done but wait and see.

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Loss of income insurance wasn’t written with virus epidemics in mind. So there is much new ground to be broken. The good news is the insurance policy says what it says, not what the insurance company intended for it to say. Here’s a couple of my thoughts (still to be tested in court!):

  1. If tenants can’t pay because they are out of work, there’s no damage to the property that would likely trigger the loss of income coverage. The loss would likely be categorized as a bad credit tenant no payment problem and not covered; and

  2. If a rental home or property is infiltrated by the virus and no longer habitable, there’s many jurisidictions that treat that like physical property damage. As this is not excluded on the policy, it may well lead to triggering the loss of income coverage. That said, the cure for a virus infiltrated property/building/home is likely some fumigation/cleaning and then leaving it vacant a few weeks.

For those of you wanting to read more on this topic, there’s an excellent article on the subject in the March 2020 edition of the Manufactured Housing Review, page 27…

Kurt

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See my notes below on whether loss of income coverage would help

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I saw this today in a landlord publication…

“A hold on physical evictions that allows court proceedings to continue has the dual benefit of keeping residents in their homes while opening paths to emergency rental assistance funds at the state and local level. The 30-day hold can be renewed each month based on the needs of the community and status of COVID-19 illnesses,” the Rental Housing Association of Washington said in a statement."

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Any idea how they are enforcing the mandatory self-quarantine? I see a lot of strategies in this and other posts on how to get residents to social-distance themselves. What are the most effective?

Seems like if there is a bailout and all qualified residents get $1,000 or $1,200 from the stimulus, rent forgiveness would be a null point. The residents would pay with their bailout money.

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Will be $1,200 per adult, or $2,400 per joint filing couple, and an additional $500 per child. There will at least be 2 rounds of distributions, equating to $6,800 for a family of 4. Many of my tenants will be better off than they had been previously so I see no excuse not to pay rent. I think the government will continue to do this as is needed but hopefully buying us 2-3 months and we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Thanks for the comments Kurt - I like your thinking!

One thing we are exploring is a mortgage refinance at lower rates.