White House Renters Plan

This morning the White House released a plan to pursue a “Renters Bill of Rights.”  We understand the importance of this information to our Industry and clients, and so wanted to provide the details for you. Please review this FACT SHEET published by the White House Domestic Policy Council and National Economic Council for an excellent summary.

The National Apartment Association released the following statement this morning. 

For months the National Apartment Association (NAA) worked with the White House in good faith. We stand by our commitment to promote industry resident services and practices. NAA also made clear the industry’s opposition to expanded federal involvement in the landlord/tenant relationship. Complex housing policy is a state and local issue and the best solutions utilize carrots over sticks.” 

– Bob Pinnegar, NAA President & CEO 

As always, we will continue to provide updates and more information as it becomes available.

Legislation Introduced to End Federal CARES Act Notice to Vacate

Legislation Introduced to End Federal CARES Act Notice to Vacate

On September 30, 2022, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) introduced the “Respect State Housing Laws Act” (H.R.9062), federal legislation that would end the CARES Act notice to vacate requirement. The National Apartment Association (NAA), working alongside the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), collaborated with Rep. Loudermilk to secure the introduction of this important bill.

In an immediate response, NAA and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) released a statement applauding the introduction of legislation that would help restore normalcy and balance to rental housing operations.

In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which included a temporary 120-day moratorium on evictions and late fees for federally-backed and federally-assisted housing. The moratorium featured what should have been a temporary notice to vacate requirement. Due to a drafting error in the legislation, however, this provision – which intrudes state and local notice periods – has remained in place long past the moratorium’s expiration and remains a disputed issue in courts today. Read more on the notice to vacate requirement.

For over three years, rental housing providers have navigated immense operational hurdles and financial challenges, only exacerbated by federal interference in state and local law. The introduction of this bill is a critical step in the right direction, and NAA will steadfastly advocate ensuring it crosses the finish line.

This is a developing story. Additional updates will be provided as they become available.

 

Source: Association, National Apartment. “Legislation Introduced to End Federal Cares Act Notice to Vacate: National Apartment Association.” Legislation Introduced to End Federal CARES Act Notice to Vacate | National Apartment Association, https://www.naahq.org/legislation-introduced-end-federal-cares-act-notice-vacate.

SCRA and DoD Issues

SCRA and DoD Issues

Update:

February 9th, 2022 – SCRA Update

SCRA’s Single Record Request functionality has now been restored. Users are able to proceed with the application as normal. Thank you for your patience.

SCRA Single Record Request Currently Down

The Dept. of Defense’s SCRA verification site has been “Down for Maintenance” both 2/7/22 and now 2/8/22.  According to the DoD, the “SCRA Single Record Request Search is currently down” and we are told they are working diligently to fix this issue. While most of the other functions on the DoD website are still able to be utilized (create user accounts, run Multiple Record Requests, User’s Guides, FAQs, etc…), the primary search functionality is presently disabled. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and the DoD promises to update the News and Alerts sections as soon as the issue has been resolved.

What does this mean for you?

If you submit(ed) new cases to us while the DoD site is not functioning correctly, those cases will remain in a “hold” condition until those cases have an SCRA Affidavit search and Affidavit created after the DoD site is restored. This means that SSN search inputs CAN NOT be verified, and so the SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) Affidavits will not generate until the Department of Defense (DoD) has their search site back up and running. This will prevent Landlords across the Country from processing and filling new cases until the repairs to the search page have been completed and it is restored. So, we wanted to let you know to expect delays in processing any cases you filed starting Feb. 7th, until the DoD search site is back online.

We will, of course, let you know as soon as we know that it is back up and running, but in the meantime, we wanted to let you know of this issue.

Sign up for additional information: https://loebsackbrownlee.com/client-portal/

 

A Day in the Life of Michael Bell, Director of Client Relations

A Day in the Life of Michael Bell, Director of Client Relations

There are people that provide a great customer experience, and then there are those who provide exceptional experiences. However, very few compare to Michael Bell. If you are an L&B client, chances are you know the hard-working, always on top of things, tech-savvy, Charleston Apartment Association Supplier of the Year recipient. Currently a CAA Board of Director Nominee, we will take a look into a “Day in the Life” of Michael Bell.

How long have you worked at Loebsack & Brownlee, PLLC? 

I’ve been with the Firm since day 1.

How do you start your day? 

By brewing some fresh Kauai Coffee. (yum!)

What do you do before you come to work?

Not much; sometimes, when I’m being good, I go to the gym first, but usually, I go in the evening instead.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Most days start responding to client emails and help tickets submitted through the website overnight or after hours. Many clients work late into the evenings now, so when we get in, we’re playing catch-up from the start.  About 70% of the day is spent responding to emails, updating client records, answering phone calls, and supporting the attorneys with whatever they need to be tackled.  These emails are typically more of a training or troubleshooting nature, but sometimes also answering questions about how we do things and why we do them. The other part of the day is spent putting out fires, resolving issues, providing new client consultation or webinar training, or troubleshooting and training our own staff on processes and procedures.

What is something you wish people knew about you?

I’m a pretty open book. I think most clients who want to know me, already know everything I’m apt to share.

To learn more about Michael Bell, Director of Client Relations, click here: https://loebsackbrownlee.com/our-team/#michael-bell-cas

 

 

 

D&I and Employee Retention

D&I and Employee Retention

The nation is going through a major shift.

 

 

   A shocking report published by Forbes estimates that turnover is costing U.S companies a whopping $160 Billion a year and in September of 2018, 3.6 million Americans quit their jobs voluntarily. However, in the multifamily industry employee turnover is much worse. The annual turnover rate in the multifamily industry stands at 33% which is higher than the national average of 22%. Combine that with Property Managers entering the retirement age, the industry is in for a major talent crunch. Why is this happening?  

Some HR experts say that managers are assumptive in what makes their employees happy, stating that they feel their employees want benefits like a 401/K, company-paid perks (car, phone, or gym membership), and room to grow within the organization. While this is true, surveys find that benefits and long-term perks may attract employees to your organization, but it doesn’t encourage them to stay at your organization. So what does?

Belonging generates engagement. Recruiting and staffing firm The Dreamer Group says “Shockingly, a recent global study of engagement by the ADP Research Institute spanning 19 countries found that only 16% of employees worldwide consider themselves to be fully engaged–which means that a whopping 84% are not currently working at full potential. In the U.S. specifically, employee engagement sits at 17%.” And while many have heard the business case for why your organization should have a DEI strategy, and employers are attempting to make the shift towards creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce particularly after the death of George Floyd, a consistent problem arises. Many don’t know where to start in the creation of a D&I strategy in addition to implementing an important component of D&I, a sense of belonging.

First, what is diversity?

“Diversity is the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations.” What does this mean exactly? Diversity moves beyond “inviting people to the table dance”. It involves the understanding that there are four types of diversity. With this understanding, you know the strategy you need to create, how to execute the strategy, and whom you need to partner with for the continued execution of said strategy. In this blog, we are going to focus on internal and organizational diversity. 

How does an organization or an individual use internal and organizational diversity to fabricate a diverse and inclusive organization?

First, you must acknowledge that no member of any internal diversity strategy is a monolith. Meaning no two white women are the same, not all disabled persons have visible disabilities, and so on. Second, training yourself and leaders on topics such as bias and empathy can provide you with perspective. Lastly, hire a consulting firm to create a survey to recognize the gaps in your organization, then ask current members of your organization to anonymously provide feedback. These are vital steps to creating a diverse and inclusive environment, and to be effective leaders must be willing to be receptive to feedback. 

Remember this, Internal diversity feeds into and can fuel organizational diversity. You can have mostly male executives (Gender Identity, and Seniority) and lack Hispanic/Latino(a/x) Mid-Level Executives. These gaps can cause major disruption in your organization such as high turnover, low-profit margins, and potentially a toxic work environment. 

Truth is…

Many will not recognize how the lack of diversity and inclusion impacts their business, despite the evidence. Not to mention, D&I strategies take months if not years to show a return on investment. However, we can no longer afford to look at D&I from a perspective of profits, a lack of belonging is a mental health issue.

In a case study involving over 800 workplaces by Jonathan S. Leonard and David L. Levine, professors at Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, CA, found “no consistent evidence that diversity itself increases turnover. In contrast, isolation from co-workers and from customers is often associated with higher turnover.”

There is a popular saying “Birds of a feather flock together.” This theory is based on similarity-attraction. Meaning, the more employees can connect and see themselves among leaders in the organization the more likely they are to stay. Having an organization that lacks diversity feels and is isolating. Imagine you are the only Asian Woman in your organization, you will probably feel pressured to conform to those around you and attempt to change who you are which is mentally and emotionally exhausting. This type of behavioral adaptation is called “code-switching.” It’s like wearing a metaphorical mask, disguising oneself for the sake of acceptance, or participating in organizational conformity. This can lead to what we know to be called “burnout” and emotional exhaustion. This is what they call “facades of conformity.”

As leaders, you have a choice. Create a diverse and inclusive workplace, not for the potential profit gains, but because you want your employees to stay, and your employees want to stay because they feel “seen.” They have a sense of belonging. This creates a better human experience within your organization. No one wants to feel isolated, burned out, or unvalued. Even when you are the only one in your organization “asked to dance”, that inclusive attempt without training, can feel performative, and inauthentic. 

To learn more about how to create a D&I strategy to increase employee retention register for this class taught by the author, L&B Manager of Digital Media, Liz Newkirk. Hosted by the Upper State Apartment Association.

About the author

Liz is the Co-Chair of the GCAA DEI Committee, and Chair of the Education Subcommittee on the Triangle Apartment Association DEI Taskforce. She has multiple certifications including DEI, Organizational Culture, and Ethical and Inclusive Leadership.

 

 

 

 

#LBAgainstDV

#LBAgainstDV

 

This is our why…

According to statistics, every team member of our Firm has either encountered a domestic violence situation or knows/knew someone who has been a victim. Every 20 minutes in America, someone becomes a victim of domestic violence. Loebsack & Brownlee is committed to supporting those victims and amplifying the voices that are raising awareness of this issue. Each Friday from September 30th through October 28th, we will wear Purple in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month. When you post a photo on social media and use our hashtag #LBAgainstDV, OR visit our online STORE to get your #LBPurpleOut merchandise, you help us not only raise awareness for the worldwide domestic violence problem, but all proceeds go to the non-profit agency we’re supporting this year, Safe Harbor located in in the Upstate of SC. All purchases/donations help them provide safety, shelter, and resources to the victims in their area who desperately need them. This is L&B’s why. What is yours? We hope our campaign will encourage people to stand up and speak out, seek refuge and resources, and help their friends, colleagues, and family members in the crosshairs of domestic violence.

How you can help:

Learn more about our campaign by following us on social!
LB Against DV Tshirt

Click the link in our Instagram Bio

Then on Friday, for the month of October, tag us on Facebook or Instagram using

the hashtags #LBAgainstDV and #OnFridaysWeWearPurple to help spread the message about Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

Attend an event: