COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness Update
Today the Governor issued an Executive Order temporarily delaying writs of restitution from being executed. Many of you that own or operate residential rental properties in other states have already experienced similar state or local orders. No one wants to see sick or vulnerable individuals or families evicted in the midst of dealing with a serious health crisis. Many of the Justice Courts around the state have already delayed eviction hearings or have limited filings to immediate only.
The AMA put out a statement to the press saying the AMA supports taking immediate action to protect and support struggling residents during the COVID-19 crisis, but we also want to offer a note of caution. At the same time as many apartment residents are struggling with income loss, Arizona property owners also are tightening their belts in a huge way. These businesses are working hard to meet their monthly obligations: make payroll, pay bank loans and mortgages, and pay their utilities, insurance costs and tax obligations. We will continue to work with Gov. Ducey and state and federal leaders to find a comprehensive solution that addresses all the many impacts of this crisis – a solution that balances relief for renters with relief for property owners.
As you all know we have been working with our State, Federal and local elected leaders to advocate for renter and owner relief. The Arizona legislature yesterday passed a $50 Million COVID-19 Relief package. The legislature specifically directed some of those funds to be used for eviction prevention. The Arizona Department of Housing has also identified potential funds to put towards this effort. We anticipate the third Federal stimulus package to be approved today or tomorrow which includes direct payments to individuals which will help them make their rent payments.
Yesterday the FHFA also announced the following:
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus.
- The eviction suspensions are in place for the entire duration of time that a property owner remains in forbearance.
- The forbearance is available to all multifamily properties with an Enterprise-backed performing multifamily mortgage negatively affected by the coronavirus national emergency.
The Arizona Attorney General sent a letter to all Financial and Lending Institution Serving Arizonans asking them to provide temporary relief and economic certainty to their customers.
Please note that the Executive Order is specific to COVID-19 related situations and does not prohibit an owner or manager from sending notice of non-payment or from filing an eviction, it prohibits the writ of restitution from being executed.
Last week, the AMA Board of Directors asked that all AMA members work with their residents on a case by case basis, including: waiving late fees and structuring payment plans.
Be on the lookout for a member guidance later today or tomorrow regarding Governor Ducey’s executive order. We will all get through this but it will take everyone working together to do what is best for Arizona and our citizens.
AMA President & CEO
Over the last week AMA has been working with the Governor’s office, Arizona Legislators, and AZ Department of Housing to identify funds for rental assistance and eviction prevention. We are so pleased to report that the Legislature approved a bipartisan $50 Million dollar appropriation to the Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund to be used for:
- Housing assistance, including payments to prevent eviction or foreclosure;
- Monies for entities to provide services for homeless persons, including shelter, food, clothing and transportation;
- Economic assistance to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, nonprofit organizations and health care providers; and
- Monies for food bank operations.
The money above is in addition to the $5M that the AZ Dept of Housing has identified for rental assistance and eviction prevention. We are still waiting for details from the ADOH on how the money will be deployed, but we do know it will go through the Community Action Agencies throughout the state. If you have residents that are concerned about making their April rent they should start contact the Community Action Agencies.
We will continue to work with our Federal Delegation to secure more funding for the following as part of the third stimulus package:
- Direct, Sustained Assistance for Renters: COVID-19 will cause financial challenges for many renters. Congress should provide short-term financial assistance for renters, expand unemployment income for individuals who lose their job because of COVID-19 and exclude unemployment income from taxes for 2020.
- Forbearance on Multifamily Mortgages and other Financial Obligations: Most rental properties are owned by individuals and small businesses that must pay mortgages, utilities, payroll, insurance and taxes. If residents cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19, then owners are at risk of not meeting their obligations.
- Guardrails for Eviction Moratoria: We caution policymakers against blanket eviction moratoriums. However, if imposed, any federal moratorium on evictions should be targeted to COVID-19-related circumstances and include the following guardrails:
- A maximum 30-day time frame with a possible 15-day extension should the situation warrant it.
- No application to proceedings filed prior to or not a material result of COVID-19.
- Preserve the right of housing operators to evict for other lease violations such as property damage, criminal activity or endangering other community residents.
- Require residents to officially notify the property owner of temporary financial hardship as a result of COVID-19; request temporary assistance/relief; and acknowledge that contractual terms of the lease remain in effect.
- Critical Tax Relief for Individuals and Affected Industries:
- Payroll Tax Cut: Extra funds for taxpayers to absorb increased cuts resulting from COVID-19 by reduced payroll taxes.
- Unemployment Compensation Exclusion: Stretch unemployment income for individuals who experience job loss.
- Net Operating Loss Carryback: Ease cash-flow challenges for businesses by allowing net operating losses generated in 2020 to be carried back for three years.
As the funds become available through the Department of Housing we will keep you posted so you can let residents know how to access the funds.
Emergency Preparedness Guide
Dear AMA Members,
We apologize in advance for all the emails but the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent spread represents a threat to the rental housing market in Arizona and across the nation. In an effort to help Arizona Multihousing Association members be as prepared as possible we will continue to share information as it is made available.
HUD Notice / Clarification
Yesterday the POTUS announcement to halt all evictions created a lot of confusion for both residents and managers. Please see the link above that clarifies the announcement that the eviction and foreclosure moratorium only applies to single family homeowners with FHA Insured Mortgages.
AZ Legislature to Consider a $10 Million Appropriation to the AZ Dept of Housing for Eviction Prevention
Today Senator Heather Carter will introduce an amendment to SB1692 to provide $10 million dollars to the Arizona Department of Housing (AZDOH) to be used to help Arizona Renters facing eviction as a result of COVID-19. Rep. Daniel Hernandez will introduce the identical amendment in the House for HB2909. It would be great if your Arizona Senator and both of your Arizona Representatives received emails of support from you and your residents.
LINKS: House & Senate Contacts List | Find Your Legislator
Eviction Prevention Resources for Residents
Please see the two links below from AZDOH. Residents that are concerned they do not have the resources to pay their April 1 rent should call immediately. While resources might not yet be available they should ask the agency to put them on a list. AMA is working hard to identify state and federal resources to assist residents in this time of crisis.
LINKS: Eviction Prevention Assistance | Community Action Agencies
AMA Emergency Preparedness Guide
The AMA has created this 2020 Emergency Preparedness Guide to help you manage the pandemic from an informational perspective, an operational perspective and in terms of crisis communications and messaging.
In such a fast-changing situation, we will do everything possible to keep you abreast of the latest relevant information and to answer your questions, this document includes some of the most common questions received from attorney member Christopher Walker with the Law Offices of Scott Clark.
While the AMA office is physically closed the team is working remotely and we are available during business hours. All phone calls will be forwarded and emails will be checked frequently.
If you need to reach us, please use the following contact information:
Phone Number: (602) 296-6200
For specific staff information, please visit our staff directory HERE.
The AMA has been asked by the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) on how the industry plans to manage evictions during this pandemic, given that many Arizona residents may be impacted by loss of income and/or by illness. We ask that all members put policies in place and develop processes to work with residents impacted by COVID-19 including partial payment plans, waiving of late fees and other options to allow residents to stay in their homes during this national crisis.
AMA has asked the ADOH to use the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) resources to prevent evictions, similar to the pilot project from last year. The Legislature also has authorized Gov. Ducey to spend as much as $55 million in response to COVID-19. We will be talking with ADOH regarding these emergency resources as well. We are also in contact with our Federal Delegation to direct resources to help residents with rental assistance if impacted by COVID-19.
If you have policies that you are putting into place at this time and you’re willing to share them with your fellow AMA members, please send them to us so we can post them to our resource page.
General Coronavirus Information
- The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines For America
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2019 Novel Coronavirus page
- Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19
- Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019
- How to Stop The Spread of Coronavirus at Home and at Work
- What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Industry Specific Coronavirus Guidance
- NAA HUD Evictions Moratorium Follow-Up
- NAA Guidance for Dealing With Coronavirus
- NAA Webinar on COVID-19
- RESCON Sanitize Your Property Information
- CDC Cleaning and Disinfectant Recommendations for Community Facilities with Suspected/Confirmed COVID-19 Exposure
- EPA List of Disinfectants to Use Against COVID-19
Communications from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- 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
- Questions and Answers for Office of Multifamily Housing Stakeholders
- CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019
- U.S. Small Business Administration - SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
- Congressional Research Service - COVID-19: Social Insurance and Other Income-Support Options for Those Unable to Work
- CDC Interim Guidance on Large Community Events
Every crisis communications plan is only as good as your team is prepared to implement. We strongly encourage our members to plan ahead when it comes to crisis management. The most well-prepared organizations have:
- A strategy and operations plan that allows the team to factually assess situations and determine whether crisis communications responses are warranted.
- A crisis communications team or individual in place to make recommendations on timing, messaging and the nuancing of appropriate responses.
- The ability to take immediate action to gather additional facts; identify and communicate with key stakeholders; handle media inquiries or refer the media to the right information source; a plan meant to minimize rumors and maintain order and confidence.
- In times of uncertainty, it is essential to communicate in short, succinct messages that enhance clarity. The best communications strategies adhere to simple messages. They allow for the possibility of additional information and for rapid changes in protocol based on need. If you don’t know something, don’t guess. Instead, suggest that you get the answer to the question and get to the person asking the question as soon as possible.
Here are some sample messages for use over the next few weeks:
- With so much uncertainty because of the coronavirus outbreak, rental communities across Arizona have implemented crisis management plans to keep residents and employees as safe and healthy as possible.
- Rental communities and companies continue to closely monitor the situation in regard to public health, outbreak prevention and the economic impact of coronavirus.
- As an industry, we are committed to doing what's best for our residents, our team members and all of Arizona. Anyone who needs help – including help in paying rent – should immediately ask for help. We will do everything we can to help families on a case-by-case basis while we work as an industry and with key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan.
- If residents are impacted financially or medically because of the COVID-19 pandemic we urge them to immediately contact their property manager. The earlier a manager is aware of issues or concerns the more time they have to assist the resident and develop and implement alternative payment plans or identify potential rental assistance.
- This is a complicated situation right now, one with many unknowns. The one thing that is certain, is that we will all---from business owners to consumers---be impacted by this pandemic. We are all trying to understand the financial implications of this pandemic. While it is true that many of our residents are going to be impacted by this pandemic due to lost wages, rental owners face very similar and very real ramifications. It’s not as simple as just halting evictions and walking away from rental income. The biggest issue is, many rental owners and companies have obligations to pay that will not go away in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. While many residents struggle with income loss, housing providers are also struggling to make mortgage and bank loan payments, pay utilities and insurance premiums, and maintenance, payroll and property tax obligations.
- We need a solution that balances all the impacts of this situation, which is why handling it case by case for now makes sense.
- As an industry, we are strongly advocating for emergency rental assistance at the state and federal levels. Such assistance has been proven effective in helping both residents and housing providers avoid the eviction process. Bans on evictions could impact the health and safety of our residents.
- The outbreak of COVID-19 is likely to hit low-income renters the hardest, with many of them hourly workers who will not regain the income they lose as a result of this outbreak. Emergency rental assistance would help these renters cover rent payments that will eventually become due.
You may be asked questions that have to do with health practices or other health-related inquiries. Those questions should be referred to the state health department or to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS).
If a resident of your community tests positive for COVID-19, we strongly recommend that you direct maintenance staff, managers, maintenance and contractors to not enter the apartment. Instead, please immediately notify the local health department and contact CDC or AZDHS for guidance regarding appropriate measures.
Again, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any point. We will continue to update our members as more information becomes available and as developments warrant.
AMA President & CEO
Dear AMA Members,
During this time of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the AMA board respectfully requests that all rental housing owners and managers work with residents who may be facing eviction as a result of COVID-19 related illness or reduced income. Our industry houses over 37% of Arizona residents and it is critical to develop policies to work with residents to allow for payment plans, accept partial payments, and waive late fees. Please encourage your residents to contact their on-site managers via phone or email to let them know that they may need rental assistance or payment plans for their April rent payments. Early communication with residents and managers allows for more time to respond and explore all options.
Now more than ever our industry needs to do whatever we can to keep people in their homes and “flatten the curve”. AMA is actively working with the Arizona Department of Housing, AZ Legislature, and our Congressional Delegation to identify funding resources to help residents that are at risk of eviction due to non-payment of rent as a result of COVID-19.
As members of the Board, we want to let you know that the AMA remains strongly committed to being a passionate advocate and resource for you and our industry for as long as this outbreak lasts - and beyond. If you need something - information, answers, best practice recommendations - please let staff know and we will work to accommodate your request as soon as possible or see the COVID-19 resource page.
The AMA Board Of Directors
Dear AMA Members,
In light of Governor Ducey's announcement yesterday, additional changes have been made to events previously scheduled in March, April, May, and June.
Below are new dates for our various events:
- Tucson Golf Tournment was March 27th - now Fall 2020
- Phoenix Reverse Trade Show was June 10th - now June 3rd
- Annual AMA/Cox Communications Tribute Awards was May 8th - now June 12th
- AMCF Big Hearts Bowl-a-thon was June 12th - now Fall 2020
- Tucson Dinner Meeting was April 16th - cancelled
We will keep you updated as things change. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
Your AMAzing Team!
Dear AMA Members,
The AMA leadership along with the executive committee have been in discussion about the recent concerns of COVID-19 and upcoming events and classes hosted by our association. We have decided it is in the best interest of the AMA team and our members to postpone and reschedule upcoming classes and events. This is not a decision we take lightly and understand this may cause inconvenience to you and your teams. Rest assured we are working to mitigate interruptions and continue to provide you support and resources.
Below are new dates for our various events:
- Phoenix Reverse Trade Show was April 8th -now June 10th at the Phoenix Convention Center, South Building
- Phoenix AMC Meeting was April 9th - now May 14th, location TBD
- New Member Lunch was April 15th - now May 13th, AMA Office
- Tucson Dinner Meeting was April 16th- now June 25th (TENTATIVE)
- Phoenix Trade Show Booth Lottery was April 20th- now Monday, May 18th at the AMA Office
- Phoenix Dinner Meeting was April 23rd- now December 8th and will also be a Holiday Party at Phoenix Country Club
- We will move forward with our Tucson Golf Tournament as the nature of the event promotes social distancing.
Below are new dates for our various classes:
- Phoenix CAM March was March 16th-20th- now June 22nd – 26th at the AMA Office
- Phoenix Fair Housing March 24th- cancelled
- Phoenix R410 Conversion Course March 26th - cancelled
- Phoenix EPA Class and Test April 1st-2nd- now June 3 – 4, 2020 at the AMA Office
- Phoenix Active Shooter April 9th - now September 15
- Tucson R410 April 16th - cancelled
- Tucson Service Animals April 21st - now June 25th
- Phoenix Electrical Troubleshooting April 22nd - cancelled
- Phoenix Project S.A.F.E. Orientation was April 23rd -now TBD
- Phoenix Landlord Tenant April 16th - Webinar Only
- Phoenix Click & Lease April 17th - Webinar Only
- Phoenix Assistive Animals April 29th - cancelled, moved to fall, 2020
All committee meetings for the rest of March and April will be call-in only meetings. There will be no in-person meetings at the AMA office.
As of now, we plan to keep our May events, including our annual Tribute Awards and Tucson Trade Show, as scheduled. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and if that changes, we will notify you immediately. We will also continue to update our resources page on our website here.
Thank you for your patience and understanding and please reach out if you have questions or concerns at (602) 296-6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your AMAzing Team
Dear AMA members,
We have received a few inquiries from members regarding the AMA's current and future activities as it relates to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We wanted to give you a brief update and sense of what we are doing and how we are planning for the near future.
In terms of our activities, we’re fortunate because we’re local and flexible. We are currently evaluating our upcoming events and classes for the months of March and April with leadership and our executive committee and will have a decision very soon with how we will proceed forward as an association. We’re also planning to transition some of our classes into webinars and virtual experiences; and including different attendance options.
As we understand the concern of being in public spaces, please contact email@example.com regarding cancellations for upcoming events and classes. Additionally, if members or guests are not feeling well, we urge you to stay home and take care of yourself.
We encourage everyone to follow the protocols and guidelines put forth by public officials.We take the health of our members very seriously and are monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely. Should circumstances change or worsen, please rest assured we will be keep you updated. For more information, visit our COVID-19 resource page HERE.
The AMA Team