COVID-19 Information for you, your residents, tenants, suppliers, vendors and staff.

COVID-19 And Your Business

Posted By: Denise Hanzlik SDMHA Community , Industry ,

SD Multi Housing Association is here to support you during this COVID-19 crisis. There is a multitude of options that you can consider when dealing with your commercial and residential clients, staff, vendors and buildings.  The follow information is meant to be used as a guide to  help you decide how to adjust your policies.

Information is changing rapidly, and we will update as quickly as possible on our website, www.sdmha.com.

  • Safety is the number one priority for everyone.
  • Maintain a healthy work/home environment. Learn what that means here.
  • We are a people-driven industry and your tenants and residents will expect customer service.
  • Be prepared to shift and pivot policies/procedures as necessary.
  • Notify all staff of any policy changes.
  • Notify suppliers and vendors of any policy changes.
  • Technology is your friend during this pandemic.

 STAFF:

  • Supply them with gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
  • Work Remotely: supply them technology, if needed to work from home.
  • Stagger shifts to lessen interaction or number of people in one place.
  • Mandatory Work From Home period for staff that have traveled out of state or country. This can be tough as our residents are expecting services and we are a service industry.
  • If staff or a member of their family test positive, offer:
    • Sick Leave/PTO: revise to NO punitive sick time (no limit)
    • Flex Time availability
  • Communicate with your staff on policy changes
  • Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus 2019: The CDC will update this interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.
  • Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19: The guidance, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to help companies respond in the event of coronavirus in the workplace: osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf.

RENT:

This crisis is unlike anything we have ever seen.  We need to be open to changes in policies, which includes when you receive rents.  Some of your tenants may have the financial means available and if they can pay rent, they should.  What are you going to do when tenants are not able to pay rent? April 1st is coming!  This may be specific and different for each owner.  It will also change the longer this crisis continues. 

We are developing some forms for you to utilize.  Check our website often for latest news and information. In the meantime, here are some questions for you to contemplate.

  • Online Payments are a MUST during a crisis
  • What will you do with those tenants that already owe you money?
  • Share emergency programs, both local and federal, that will assist your tenants with their rent, see options below.
  • Late Fees: waive all late fees or reduce them for those unable to pay due to COVID-19
  • Rent abatement or deferral: require that a request is in writing. What documentation will you require from your tenants when they are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. HARDSHIP ACCOMODATION FORM

BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN

We are a service industry and must be there for our residents and tenants.  So how do you operate during a crisis or tragedy:

  • Cross train staff
  • Backup systems in place
  • Software and cloud storage for data
  • Work remotely plans for staff

RESOURCE AGENCIES:


SOUTH DAKOTA

Governor Kristi Noem declared a state of emergency on March 13

All schools closed through May 1st

COVID 19 updates in our state: https://doh.sd.gov/news/Coronavirus.aspx

FINANCIAL RESOURCES:

COVID-19 Related Policies/Compliance Concerns specific to South Dakota

  • Price-Gouging Law

    • South Dakota does not have statutory language regulating price gouging during declarations of emergency

  • Late Fee Law

    • South Dakota Code, § 53-9-4- Penalties for nonperformance of contract void, exceptions. Penalties imposed by contract for any nonperformance thereof are void. This section does not void obligations penal in form such as heretofore have been commonly used, but it voids their penal clauses. 

    • Relevant case law: Wandler v. Lewis.

    • Other commentary: South Dakota courts/judges on occasion will rely upon South Dakota Code 53-9-4 to limit or disallow late fees that the court views exorbitant.


 NATIONALLY

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201).  Is to help provide assistance to families and businesses. The House has passed, Senate is expected to take action on the bill this week.

President Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, activating Small Business Administration funds.