Fifield Cos. CEO: ‘Expect Uneven Impact on Multifamily Market’
“As the coronavirus washes over the country, the multifamily business has embraced a “wait-and-see” approach, as it looks ahead. In the meantime, many residents are struggling to pay rent. As more hourly workers file for unemployment, it will become clear how unevenly the pandemic is impacting the market. The luxury sector is not expected to experience significant disruptions, as high-earning renters will be less affected by job cuts. However, rent collections in Class B and C communities are anticipated to drop, Fifield Cos.’ Founder & CEO Steve Fifield told Multi-Housing News.
Fifield Cos. is handling tenant requests on a case-by-case basis, according to senior vice president Jon Schneider. The company’s short-term priority is to keep apartment buildings thoroughly sanitized and make sure that most amenity areas remain closed during the state of emergency. In the interview below, the two executives discuss the company’s projects and mid-term goals.
What are some of the solutions you’ve implemented at Fifield Cos. properties to better navigate these trying times?
Schneider: First of all, we are keeping our buildings clean in accordance with high standards and best practices. We’re also making sure our residents, staff, delivery personnel and any guests are constantly reminded to respect safe social distancing requirements. We’ve closed gyms, coworking spaces and other more “social” amenities until the pandemic is over.
We are also making sure to communicate actively with renters and provide some positivity during this tough time. We’re offering virtual fitness classes, fun competitions through social media and we even leave small gifts at their doors.
All our projects that are underway are active construction sites where we have been able to continue work by following health, safety and social distancing procedures outlined by the local government. We’re fortunate to have construction partners who are taking precautions very seriously so they can continue working.
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