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A CAM (Common Area Maintenance) Reconciliation Review For Commercial Property Owners

Posted on January 15th, 2021

One of the most challenging, and sometimes overlooked, annual procedures for commercial property owners is the annual Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Reconciliation. This is because computing CAM impounds paid against actual expenses is time-consuming and can be confusing. However ignoring it, overlooking its potential, or performing the reconciliation incorrectly can cost owners money and can violate the owner’s responsibilities as listed with the lease agreement.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CAM RECONCILIATIONS

Owners of office, retail or industrial properties need to have properly prepared CAM statements to recover those maintenance costs allowed under their lease. Most NNN leases require an annual reconciliation of expenses within a specified number of days after year end.  Additionally, if a client demands an audit of CAM charges owners want to be able to produce accurate records. If you are unable to do so, you could be inviting legal issues.

Professional Management Companies should be able to address the annual CAM Reconciliation if you have hired one.  If not, you cannot rely on your CPA or accounting service to take care of it for you. They generally do not become involved in this process.

picture of shopping center showing common reas

Shopping Centers, Office Buildings, and Industrial Centers can All Need CAM Reconciliation.

WHERE TO START THE CAM PROCESS

First you must have a thorough understanding the details of the lease contracts you have for tenants related to recoverable expenses including items like HVAC, plumbing, elevator, landscape management, lot cleaning, pest control, roof repairs, property insurance, common area association fees, utilities, security, and more. If you have a professional management service, a portion of the management salaries, fees, and reimbursement of management office space, is appropriate.

Keeping clear records is essential to ensure the details of costs charged, distribution ratios, and other relevant expenses are properly documented.

 CREATE A BUDGET

Begin your year by creating a budget that includes estimates for all the recoverable expenses. Based on these estimates, you will bill tenants, usually monthly, for their share of estimated expenses.  Each lease is unique and can range from a Net Lease, where you as owner/landlord pass all the expenses on to the tenants to a Gross Lease, where the commercial property owner receives a fixed sum regardless of operating costs. Both are valid, as are all the variations in-between. Understanding your market is key for making the appropriate decision for your lease contracts.

Many leases allow landlords to amortize capital expenditures over a period of time, typically for the life of the lease. These expenditures often include an interest charge, be sure to know if you can include capital expenditures and interest. Collecting for these expenditures adds up to increase your ROI.

CALCULATIONS AND INVOICING

Within the time period indicated in the lease agreement, often within 90 days after year end, you must calculate the actual expenses for the previous year and reconcile these expenses with the impound amount you charged the tenant during the period calendar year based on your original estimates. As you perform your calculations watch for leases that include a cap on tenant expenses and be sure not to exceed these caps.  Be attentive as well to certain expense exclusions which may be listed in a tenant’s lease agreement.

Remember some calculations are directly correlated to occupancy and some are not—for instance items like janitorial services and utilities are directly related to the occupancy level, other expenses like landscaping must be maintained regardless of the level of occupancy. You must be clear on which expenses you can gross up based on 100 percent occupancy and which you cannot.

Once you have all your calculations in order, have your accountant double check the numbers. Then send tenants an invoice showing amount owed or due.

WHAT IF YOU HATE PERFORMING CAM RECS?

I once had a shopping center owner tell me he hired The REMM Group to manage his property just because he dreaded performing CAM reconciliations every year. I don’t recommend you seek management for this reason alone. One option is to consult an independent reconciliation service to perform this function for you. However, the challenges of CAM do demonstrate why it can be more profitable to have professionals manage commercial properties.

At The REMM Group we make it our mission to increase the value of your asset and increase your return on investment. We don’t want to cost owners, we want to increase their income. A properly managed CAM account is a good example of how this is possible. There are many places from the design of the lease, to the collection of the fees, where experienced professionals can find ways to increase your ROI and assure you are compliant with the lease terms.

The other key component to remember is the opportunity-cost of the time self-management takes. What could you be doing with the time you have to spend collecting rents, answering telephones and the number of hours CAM reconciliations take?

If you think it may be time for a professional management team, or you have one but don’t feel they are doing the high caliber work you deserve, we would be happy to prepare a custom proposal for your property. Just call Sara D’Elia, CEO, for an appointment at (714) 974-1010.

Happy reconciliation!

 

Blog content written by Jan Melano and Susan McPeak

 


COVID-19’s Impact on 2021 Multifamily Budgets

Posted on September 9th, 2020

Last year as The REMM Group Regional Managers prepared the annual budgets for the multifamily properties we manage, no one knew a pandemic was about to toss the world, and our industry, into uncharted waters. It is impossible to forecast all the results that COVID-19 will have on apartment communities next year but we can begin to see trends that are important to include as we budget for 2021.

Woman works on Multifamily Bugets

COVID-19 Adds Stress to Multifamily Budget Season

No one is certain how long COVID-19 will keep schools closed, employees working from home and grocery and food delivery vehicles moving in and out of apartment parking lots all day. Neither can we fully predict COVID-19’s impact on multifamily budgets. However, we can anticipate it will affect budgets well into next year and we can begin to plan so that property owners can have a more secure understanding of the year ahead.

Income and expense forecasts are always based on market drivers and assumptions. COVID-19 is certainly affecting that picture. In preparing multifamily 2021 budgets consider these questions:

How will COVID-19 Affect 2021 Multifamily Income?

  • How much has the delinquency rate increased? What percentage of delinquency is related to rentdeferments? What is the repayment period, and will that impact 2021 financials? Are the delinquency percentages likely to stay at current levels for an extended period? Do you need to prepare two scenarios—one if the eviction moratorium is extended, and one without that policy?
  • Are the longer retention percentages we saw at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic still holding at this property or have you seen them return to a more normal percentage in the last few months? Do not set yourself up for failure by projecting the continuation of that trend if it appears to have run its course.
  • Are you having to give extra concessions to get potential new residents motivated to make a housing change?
  • Will you be able to execute planned market rate increases?

How will COVID-19 Affect 2021 Multifamily Expenses?

Woman working on multifamily budget computer

Asking the Right Questions Can Help

  • The expense of heating pools and cooling fitness facilities may have gone down this year when those amenities were closed. Are they still closed at the communities you manage? If so, when do are they forecasted to open back up? How will that affect the budget?
  • We anticipate that residents will want the security of increased common area cleaning and disinfection throughout 2021. How much added budget is needed for the supplies and staff to satisfy this increase?
  • As pools, fitness areas and other amenities reopen do you anticipate these cleaning expenses to escalate even further? Are there any services that were terminated or reduced that need to be added?
  • Have you considered supply shortages that may impact your managed properties and the costs associated with these shortages?

How will COVID-19 Affect Capital and Long-Term Improvement Plans?

  • Most capital improvements have been on hold for 2020 and it looks as though that will continue at least for some time into 2021. As you look forward, has the COVID-19 environment, changed the priority of planned capital improvements?
  • With more people at home, parking at many apartment communities has become more difficult. Is it now crucial to create more parking spaces?
  • Consider the additional noise levels that residents are experiencing due to the increase in people working from home and children at home. Are there projects or improvements that could help mitigate the problem?
  • Look at each property individually and make recommendations based on the facts today, not on pre-COVID expectations.

 How does the Pandemic Impact Negotiating with Third Party Vendors?

Man works on apartment budges on computer

Make Recommendations Based on the Facts Today

  • How significant is the increase in trash generated by residents working and children schooling at home? Are there more frequent trash pickups? What are the costs to implement additional waste service and bulk item removal?
  • Are there more complaints about leaf blowers as residents work from home? Are there strategies with service providers that would cater to reducing noise and possible nuisance that residents are experiencing with these services?
  • What other current challenges are you seeing in the community? Can venders offer solutions and cost-saving suggestions?

The Added Importance of Multifamily Budget Planning this Year

woman on computer has video conference with man about multifamily budgets

Opportunities and Challenges

The more unstable a time period appears to be, the more crucial it is to have a well-prepared annual budget. Having some idea of the best-case and worst-case scenarios will help to avoid disasters and maximize the opportunities.

None of us can see the future but taking the time to consider the opportunities and challenges of this unique timeframe will provide far more accurate results than ignoring COVID-19’s impact on multifamily budgets.

 


COVID-19 Spurs Creative Ways to Hold a Resident Appreciation Week

Posted on August 20th, 2020

The REMM Group wanted to hold a resident appreciation week to lighten the days for our community members and express our gratitude. So much has changed during this COVID-19 Pandemic – our neighborhoods, gathering spaces, the places we work and our apartment homes. We know how difficult these times are for our residents, their family and friends. The challenge for our on-site teams was how to structure events and experiences to say thank you while providing appropriate social distancing.

Creative Solutions

Our teams responded to the challenge with enthusiasm. Each property planned resident appreciation events throughout the week. Popular events provided food, entertainment and special prizes.

Resident shows thumbs up with a donut in his hand. The Trails At Canyon Crest Apartment Homes in Riverside provided “Breakfast On The Go” to kick off their resident appreciation week. On Monday, residents could stop by the leasing office to pickup complimentary bagels, donuts, and coffee.

Several other properties provided their own versions of the idea. Whether residents were working at home, or driving to work, we were able to treat them to breakfast without a big gathering.

During the week, Casa Grande Senior Apartment Home in Corona, California, where the temperature would reach nearly 100 degrees, brought in a Food truck with shaved ice. Baywind Apartment Homes in Costa Mesa also brought in the summer favorite which delighted both the children and adults.

Show all ages enjoying shaved ice.

Everyone enjoyed the shaved ice during Resident Appreciation Week

 

 

Resident enjoys food from taco truck.

At Mesa Vista Apartment Homes in San Diego, team members arranged for complementary meals from a Taco Truck.  Each property found a way to thank the residents with something yummy.

This included various selections of grab-on-the-go snacks, like individual packages of chips, sodas and energy drinks. Fruit, water and energy bars were offered as healthy alternatives. The on-site teams created summery displays for the items and signs that expressed gratitude for the residents.

Making the Week Special

musician preforms at Las Brisas

Las Brisas Residents enjoyed live entertainment.

Several teams brought in musicians to perform for their  communities. Groups and single performers serenaded residents. At some apartment communities. the musicians strolled around the grounds so that everyone had the chance at a front-row seat performance.

Park San Dimas Senior Apartment Homes combined food and music, treating residents to popcorn and a one-man-band.

Shasta Lane Apartment Homes inWoman at Shasta Lane shows off the toilet paper she won. La Mesa, CA showed their creativity by offering mystery gift prizes that everyone appreciated, like the ever-elusive toilet paper.

The Trails at Canyon Crest started out their residents’ weekend on a positive note by delivering movie snacks to each apartment door on Friday and treating the residents to the Netflix or Hulu movie of their choice.

We Are All in This Together

We received many shout-outs and thank you comments from our residents for holding the events.

As is often the case, when you work to lift someone else’s spirit or mood, you also feel elevated. These last months have been stressful on our on-site teams so, while our goal was to say thank you to our residents for being part of our community, we were pleased to find that the week also  lifted the spirits of our hard working teams!

We at The REMM Group think this is just another sign that “We are in this together!” 

 

Video of Events for Resident Appreciation Week

This blog post was written by Susan McPeak  and The REMM Group Regional Property Managers. Video by Windell Mollenido.


Property Management COVID-19 Reopening Plan

Posted on June 19th, 2020

A Strategy for Reopening Multifamily and Commercial Properties During COVID-19

Introduction

The REMM Group has developed this COVID-19 Procedures and Phased Reopening Plan as a resource guide for our associates and our clients to navigate our revised operational practices during this pandemic.

staying safe distances Adhering to these policies will keep a safe and healthy community and workplace. We are confident and prepared to take all necessary measures as government officials implement policies to combat the spread of COVID-19 and begin the reopening of our state.

We continue to closely monitor the evolving situation related to COVID-19 to ensure we are taking appropriate actions to keep our associates, residents and guests safe. Our Executive Leadership task force meets on a consistent basis to review updates as this situation remains fluid.

The REMM Group will remain flexible with operating decisions that impact our daily processes. The data within this guide is intended to be modifiable as California releases new information and requirements for business operations. We will evaluate the needs of the company, our associates, clients, residents and tenants to implement practices that allow our organization to reopen as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home restrictions start to be lifted. It is essential that all possible steps be taken to ensure the safety of our associates and our customers.

Key preventive practices include:

✔ Physical distancing to the maximum extent possible

✔ Use of face coverings by associates and customers

✔ Frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection

✔ Training associates on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan

We thank all of our associates for your dedication and professionalism. Your partnership, resiliency and hard work are greatly appreciated. We have and continue to implement a number of proactive measures to minimize the amount of exposure at corporate and on-site in an effort to keep our associates and communities safe and healthy.

Healthy Workplace

Keeping a healthy workplace is our utmost priority. We want to share the links below to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Both have resources and tips that will equip associates with knowledge to continue daily routines with the vigilance to remain healthy.

Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/ World Health Organization https://www.who.int/

Prevention

 All REMM associates are to help prevent the spread of virus and disease, including the common cold, flu and Coronavirus (COVID-19), by following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended everyday preventive practices:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw away the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the restroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% Always wash your hands with soap and water often.

The REMM Group Policy

 The REMM Group is committed to keeping our associates updated as we receive new direction from the CDC and local health agencies. Corporate will provide consistent communication, tools and resources, which includes this readiness guide, so that our team members will feel supported throughout our essential business operations and reopening process and understand that our focus will always be on associate safety and well being. This will also help associates develop an understanding of the new normal for property operations.

Impact to Corporate & On-Site Associates

  • Corporate office will remain open with a skeleton crew of essential associates that need to perform functions in the Everyone else is to work remotely.
  • Associates are not to come to work if they are sick.
  • If an associate displays any signs of infection, they are immediately to go to a health care The health care provider will take the necessary steps to determine if they need to be quarantined and contact the local Health Department.
  • Symptomatic associates will not be allowed to return to work until the quarantine period is over and they are released by their doctor.
  • Corporate associates are to take home their laptops nightly, in case a situation would arise that would deem it necessary to work from home.
  • Suspend all unit inspections until further notice.
  • Postpone all community events until further
  • Eliminate company events and large meetings/gatherings.
  • Reduce meeting size to (5) people or less to allow social distancing practices.
  • Weekly meetings are now held virtually via Zoom, Google Meet and/or Vonage Meeting.
  • Adhere to the guidelines provided on The Weekly Team Meeting detailed in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Plan.

Following Guidance from CDC and Local Health Care Agencies

 We are actively monitoring guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health officials, and are prepared to implement changes if necessary. We are continuing to share updates with associates, clients and residents as we receive new guidance from the CDC. Keeping our associates and residents safe and healthy is our top priority.

Social Distancing

 Social distancing, also called physical distancing, is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures taken to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other.

Social distancing requirements include maintaining a minimum of six feet (6’) distance from others.

  • Implement measures to physically separate associates by at least six feet (6’) using measures such as physical partitions or visual cues (example: floor markings, colored tape, or signs indicating to where associates and/or customers should stand).
  • Reconfigure office spaces, cubicles, and decrease maximum capacity for conference and meeting areas.
  • Remove guest chairs or relocate them at a distance of six feet (6’) from the edge of desks.
  • Adjust in-person meetings, if they are necessary, to ensure physical distancing requirements are are met.
  • Stagger associate breaks and break room access, in compliance with wage and hour regulations, if needed.
  • Reconfigure, restrict, or close common areas and provide alternatives where physical distancing can be practiced.
  • Limit the number of individuals riding in an elevator and ensure the use of face coverings.
  • Utilize work practices, where feasible, to limit the number of associates at the office at one time, such as telework and modified work schedules.

Cleaning & Disinfecting Protocols

Use products approved for use against COVID-19. A list of products can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Follow all product instructions and Cal/OSHA requirements.

  • Perform thorough cleaning of high traffic and high touch
  • Frequently disinfect commonly used surfaces and personal work
  • Clean and sanitize shared equipment between each
  • Clean touchable surfaces between shifts or between users, whichever is more frequent.
  • Equip shared spaces with proper sanitation products, including hand sanitizer and sanitizing
  • Ensure that sanitary locations remain stocked and operational at all
  • Provide time for associates to implement cleaning practices before and after

Property Visits

Regional Managers, Area Managers, Facilities Director and other corporate associates will continue to conduct property visits in an effort to support on-site teams and business operations. All associates conducting property visits are expected to follow social distancing and wear PPE (masks or face coverings) when interacting with other persons.

Operating as an Essential Business

 On March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order. The order allows essential businesses to continue to operate, keeping offices, retail centers, industrial facilities and apartment buildings functioning but only

  • As necessary to maintain operations in a minimal sense, not in growth or “business as usual”
  • While trying to keep people safe by working remotely when
  • If working remotely is not possible, while attempting to maintain social

Business Plan

 The below business plan was developed in order to maintain essential services, while keeping our associates, assets, residents, tenants and communities healthy.

  • Our service departments are to remain stocked with disinfectants, hand sanitizers, Lysol, gloves and paper products.
  • Twice daily all high-touch areas of the multifamily communities and commercial asset common areas are being disinfected and wiped This includes, but are not limited to:
    • Door handles
    • Elevator buttons
    • Light switches
    • Mailboxes
    • Fitness equipment
    • Furniture; chairs, tables, and desks
    • Television remotes
    • Telephones
    • Computer keyboards and mouse
  • Our service team continues to provide emergency maintenance in occupied apartments.
    • Masks, gloves and booties must be worn by REMM associates.
    • All hard surfaces near the work area are wiped down with disinfectant.
  • Non-emergency work orders will be handled virtually with a REMM associate walking a resident through the minor repair over the phone.
  • Resident and tenant letters are being sent via e-blast and posted in common areas with links to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), where they can remain abreast of the developments and view tips on staying healthy.
  • Should a resident, tenant, employee or vendor advise management that they have become sick or are under self-quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19, in addition to below, we will seek legal advice on the matter, as well as allow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to address accordingly.
    • Upper management is to be notified
    • Thorough cleaning and disinfecting of community areas visited by resident, tenant, employee or vendor will be
    • Management will provide resource links to resident, tenant and employee on ways to receive services while they are quarantined.
    • Associates are not to have person-to-person contact with the infected party.
    • If emergency maintenance is required in an infected residents’ apartment, a vendor certified to handle hazmat situations will be contacted in order to complete the service required.
  • If a resident with COVID-19 vacates their apartment, vendors that are certified to handle hazmat will be contacted to provide thorough cleaning.
  • Rent collection will continue to be available through online resident portals via ACH or Credit Card or through electronic WIPS payments.

Essential Activities

 Leasing Offices will office on-site associates to be available to assist customers via phone and online.

  • Leasing Offices will remain locked with the exception of:
    • Emergency in-person appointments
    • Move In and Move Out appointments
  • Social distancing and PPE (masks or face coverings) are required when interacting with other persons.
  • Residents have been notified to communicate via email, phone and resident portal.
  • Non-essential amenities have been closed for use with signage posted.
  • Laundry rooms will remain open, with posted signage regarding social distancing and measures to stop the spread of germs.
  • Postpone non-emergency service requests.
  • Suspend resident events and gatherings.
  • Regional/Area Managers to continue site visits and support our onsite teams.
  • Keep proper social distancing, no greetings with physical contact (hugs, handshakes, etc.) and frequent hand washing.
  • Wear PPE; mask, gloves and booties.

Health Department Communication

 Current CDC prevention information includes:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.

Signage

Temporary signage will be created and updated as needed by corporate marketing, and CDC flyers will be used where possible. Professional options will also be made available through our approved vendor, Western Printing.

Signage needs will be flexible when needed to adjust to CDC guidelines and state and local government regulations. Example signage is located under the COVID-19 Documents folder in Sharefile On-Site Forms.

All signs should be laminated or covered in plastic with no visible tape.

Signage may include:

  • Office Hours, particularly if there are temporary changes
  • Mailbox signage
  • Wayfinding signage or floor markings to direct foot traffic and ensure social distancing
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements for team and recommendations for residents and guests to use facilities
  • Social Distancing Signs
  • Reduced Capacity Signs
  • Frequent hand washing signs in restrooms
  • Welcome Hospitality Bar Signs (Coffee/Kitchen areas)
  • Shared Technology: Business Centers, Printers, Office Equipment
  • Amenity Signs: Explain new rules or protocols for common areas, resident code of conduct, visitor restrictions, social distancing and cleaning responsibilities
    • Dog Parks and Playgrounds
    • Fitness
    • Common Areas
    • Pools

Reopening Phased Strategy 

It is critical that the transition from essential business operations to normal business operations is safe, efficient, effective and aligned with the needs of our organization, associates and clients. Before implementation of each phase, client approval will be required. A strategic phased reopening approach is outlined, taking into consideration all federal, state and local government restrictions.

In the event of conflict between this Reopening Strategy and any governmental order, the more restrictive policy will be followed.

Phase One – Essential Business Operations 

  • Leasing offices conducting business with locked doors
    • Open by appointment only
    • Move In and Move Out activity
  • Virtual and self-guided leasing is preferred
  • Guided leasing tours by appointment only
  • Emergency service requests are being performed
  • Non-emergency service requests are being handled virtually with technicians instructing residents on minor repairs
  • Amenities and common areas are closed for use
  • PPE & social distancing policies are mandatory
  • In-Person corporate property visits conductedThree standing 6 feet apart.

Phase Two – Reopening 

  • Leasing offices conducting business with locked doors
    • Open by appointment only
    • Move-In and Move Out activity
  • Virtual and self-guided leasing is preferred
  • Guided leasing tours with social distancing protocol
  • Emergency service requests are being performed
  • Non-emergency service requests are being handled virtually with technicians instructing residents on minor If local officials allow, then service requests can be performed by the service team.
  • Some amenities and common areas will reopen with limited capacity and restrictions
  • PPE & social distancing policies are mandatory
  • In-Person corporate property visits conducted

Phase Three – Reopening  

  • Leasing offices reopen to residents and prospects
  • Maintenance service requests are fully functioning
  • Preventative maintenance in apartments and unit inspections resume
  • All amenities and common areas are open with limited capacity
  • Consider resuming in-person resident activities with capacity limitations
  • PPE & social distancing policies are mandatory
  • In-Person corporate property visits conducted

Reopening Checklist

Communications 

  • Review employee policies and make changes as needed.
  • Review staff levels and job positions and make changes as needed.
  • Communicate changes to policies, staffing, and job positions.
  • Determine which members of the team must return to site work versus remote work or other arrangements.
  • Work with staff to develop goals for reopening, such as catching up on outstanding maintenance on a schedule or sticking to the cleaning regimen.
  • Set clear expectations with the team and each team member on their responsibilities.
  • Decide if temperature/health screenings will be required for staff.
  • Give clear directions on cleaning, handwashing and -sanitizing, using PPE, and adhering to social distancing practices.
  • Stress the need for employees to report any pandemic-related illness and stay home if they become sick.
  • Review what happens when an employee or tenant/resident reports pandemic-related symptoms.
  • Discuss tenants/residents and their needs, especially those with special requirements or challenging circumstances.
  • Remain sensitive to employees with health conditions, sick family members, childcare responsibilities, and other pandemic-related challenges.

Tenant/Resident Relations 

  • Provide tenants/residents with resources on accessing financial support, as necessary.
  • Stay updated on rent collections, delinquencies, and lease negotiations and disputes.
  • Continue to apply company rent collection policy and consult legal counsel on lease issues as necessary.
  • Determine requirements and responsibilities around temperature/health screenings of tenants/residents and others entering property, as necessary.
  • Set a plan and schedule for regular communications to tenants/residents upon reopening.

Service Provider Relations

  • Exchange pandemic response plans with key service providers
  • Confirm that service providers are operational.
  • Arrange for backup/replacement service providers as necessary.
  • Review with service providers social distancing and safety measures they will follow onsite.
  • Discuss tenants/residents and their needs, especially those with special requirements or challenging circumstances.
  • Remain sensitive to employees with health conditions, sick family members, childcare responsibilities, and other pandemic-related challenges.

Disease Prevention

 Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Send tenants/residents resources on cleaning procedures.
  • Adjust and verify cleaning schedules and methods with cleaning service providers.
  • Follow CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Check that cleaning products meet EPA criteria for use against infectious
  • Clean and disinfect all management-controlled areas:
    • Entrances
    • Vestibules and lobbies
    • Reception and security desks
    • Restrooms
    • Offices
    • Kitchens
    • Elevator banks
  • Corridors
  • Fitness centers
  • Business centers
  • Other areas as applicable to property
  • Disinfect surfaces (e.g., tables, chairs, counters, doorknobs)
  • Verify that property has enough cleaning supplies for frequent
  • Verify that property has enough hygiene products, including tissues, disinfectant wipes, hand soap, and hand
  • Install hand sanitizer stations at entrance and in high-traffic
  • Install hand washing reminder signs in
  • Install touchless technology where
  • Provide hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes near other high-touch
  • Decide if you will require PPE in common areas (may depend on state/province or local guidelines).
  • Stock PPE, including masks and gloves, for the property
  • Advise team on use and disposal of PPE for cleaning and maintenance
  • Advise the property team on hygiene protocol, including hand washing and

Social Distancing

  • Have staff actively encourage social
  • Install plexiglass guards where needed (e.g., reception desk).
  • Set an occupancy limit for common
  • Use signage, floor markings, and barriers to create one-way lanes, queues, and zones to support social
  • Decide when shared spaces (e.g., fitness center) will
  • Adjust security/sign-in practices to minimize contact (e.g., no shared pens).
  • Install signs with social distancing guidelines and
  • Post visible guidelines for use of elevators, escalators, and
  • Create boxes or X marks in corners of elevators using decals or colored tape to indicate standing areas and directions.
  • Set protocols for use of stairways:
    • No passing allowed
    • Stay on side near wall
    • Maintain at least three stairs’ distance

Operations and Maintenance Equipment Startup 

  • Inspect building systems, as applicable, for damage or problems:
    • Access control
    • Elevators/escalators
    • Lighting
    • Potable water
    • Sewer
    • Fire and life safety
    • HVAC as other systems
    • Storm water management
    • Other systems as applicable to property
  • Perform preventive maintenance, as well as any work deferred by shutdown.
  • Adjust operating schedules, settings, and set points for occupancy schedules and seasons.
  • Flush and disinfect toilets and urinals.
  • Consider engaging a service provider for water quality testing.
  • Review utilities billing and usage from months of shutdown for errors and anomalies.
  • Observe equipment operation on start-up.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) 

  • Determine current fresh and recycled air mix.
  • Increase fresh air as possible.
  • Change filters on outdoor and return air systems.
  • Determine highest MERV rating possible with property’s HVAC system.
    • Install filters with MERV rating of at least 13 (minimum rating required to trap respiratory particles) if
    • Check compatibility of HEPA filters (MERV rating 16+) with the system.
  • Have the duct system cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Waste Management 

  • Designate special waste containers for used PPE.
  • Sanitize waste and recycling receptacles frequently.
  • Review waste management billing from months of shutdown for any errors or anomalies.
  • Maintain a clean and orderly trash room/dumpster area.

Ongoing Operations 

  • Send tenants/residents updates on any changes to operations.
  • Provide tenants/residents with any new health department guidance.
  • Discuss with legal counsel your responsibilities and liability in cooperating with public health officials, such as contact tracers investigating disease outbreaks.
  • Follow cleaning and sanitizing regimen and adjust as necessary.
  • Reinforce social distancing and hygiene practices with staff and tenants/residents.
  • Respond if illness is reported in the property:
    • Close affected area
    • Flush with fresh air if possible
    • Wait at least 24 hours before disinfecting
  • Disinfect according to CDC guidance
  • Send tenants/residents appropriate information, while maintaining privacy, if illness is determined.

Reopening an Industrial property 

  • Send tenant(s) resources on cleaning procedures and be available to provide support.
  • Send tenant(s) resources on social distancing in Measures include:
    • Distance between workers
    • Staggered work shifts
    • Remote working
    • Physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass)
    • Flexible, nonpunitive leave policies
  • Send tenant(s) resources on IAQ management and be available to provide support.
  • Inspect site for issues and maintenance needs:
    • Landscaping
    • Parking areas and lighting
    • Pavement, asphalt, and other hard surfaces
    • Stormwater management system and site features
    • Other site features as applicable
  • Inspect building envelope for issues and maintenance needs:
    • Exterior
    • Foundation
    • Roof
    • Any other components under management control

Reopening an Office Building 

  • Exchange pandemic response plans with tenants.
  • Send tenants resources on social distancing in Measures include:
    • Distance between workers
    • Staggered work shifts
    • Remote working
    • Physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass)
    • Flexible, nonpunitive leave policies
  • Support tenants in space reconfigurations that support social distancing
  • Decide when to resume in-person tenant engagement events.
  • Decide when any food courts, convenience stores, coffee shops, and restaurants can open (public health authorities may set different dates for this sector).
  • Decide when to open plazas, green space, and other exterior amenities.
  • Coordinate with contracted services typically on site, such as parking, security, and janitorial.
  • Use stanchions and decals to set queues at security and concierge desks, elevators, and other areas where lines typically form.
  • Set protocols for mail and package delivery that limit contact.
  • Set up temperature/health screenings at management-controlled entrances, as necessary.
  • Determine if elevators can be adjusted to limit occupancy.
  • Decide when to resume tenant build-outs and any other construction projects.
  • Require good IAQ management in construction practices.

Reopening a Multifamily Community  

  • Decide if you will require PPE in common areas.
  • Determine requirements and responsibilities around checking temperatures/health of residents, prospect, guests, employees, and others entering property, if necessary.
  • Decide when to resume resident engagement Choose events that meet the needs of the residents at this time (e.g., wellness-related, remote working tips).
  • Decide when each shared space will open considering any state/province and local public health department guidelines:
    • Business center
    • Clubhouse
    • Community rooms
    • Fitness center/wellness amenities
    • Grilling areas
    • Kitchen
    • Laundry room
    • Lounges and sitting areas
    • Meeting spaces
    • Playground/children’s play areas
    • Swimming pool
    • Other spaces as applicable to the property
  • Provide for receipt and contactless delivery of packages.
  • Create and send out guidelines for use of clubhouses, community rooms, fitness centers, kitchens, pools, laundry rooms, and other shared spaces.
    • Post social distancing and hygiene reminders in these areas.
    • Provide disinfectants for residents to sanitize equipment after use.
    • Remove as many high-touch points as possible.
    • Increase cleaning frequency for these spaces.
  • Decide which parts of the leasing process to continue virtually.
  • Create a plan for resuming in-person leasing activities.
  • Continue a move-in process that supports social distancing (e.g., help residents virtually).
  • Perform preventive maintenance on unit HVAC
  • Decide when to resume routine maintenance requests.
  • Define process and requirements for maintenance requests:
    • What instructions will you give the resident?
    • How many maintenance staff are required to respond to requests?
    • What PPE should maintenance staff wear?
  • Determine when and how to resume unit inspections.
  • Provide guidelines to contracted resident services on the property regularly, such as dog walkers, valet waste, concierge services, and fitness trainers.

Reopening a Retail Property 

  • Exchange pandemic plans with tenants
  • Use state/province and local public health department guidelines in setting reopening dates for different types of tenants, including:
    • Bars and clubs
    • Fitness centers
    • Hair salons
    • Kiosk vendors
    • Movie theaters
    • Restaurants
    • Others as applicable to the property
  • Support tenants with resources on reopening Best practices for retail operations include:
    • Curbside pickups and returns
    • Store occupancy limits
    • Signage, floor markings, barriers, and one-way lanes to support social distancing
    • Installation of plexiglass guards
    • Changes to hours (e.g., limited hours, hours dedicated to elderly and those with compromised immune systems)
    • Shopping by appointment
    • Distance between guests and workers
    • Staggered work shifts
    • Remote working
    • Flexible, non-punitive leave policies
    • See National Retail Federation’s Operation Open Doors checklist for other best practices
  • Decide when each common area space will reopen considering any state/province and local public health department guidelines:
    • Food courts
    • Lounges and sitting areas
    • Playgrounds/children’s play areas
    • Other spaces as applicable to the property
  • Plan parking and traffic lanes to support curbside pickups and returns
  • Perform deferred and preventive maintenance on exterior equipment, such as irrigation systems and lighting in parking areas, as necessary
  • Set up temperature/health screenings on guests entering management-controlled entrances, as necessary
  • Support tenants in setting up temperature/health screenings on guests entering stores, as necessary

Reopening the Workplace 

  • Review inventory of cleaning and office supplies and order supplies as needed
  • Identify areas that require heavy cleaning and disinfection prior to reopening
  • Set ongoing cleaning and disinfection practices.
  • Clean and sanitize all appliances and surfaces in kitchens.
  • Increase space between employees:
    • Limit office occupancy
    • Stagger on site and remote schedules
    • Reconfigure cubicles
    • Convert from open, unassigned seating to assigned seating
    • Create one-way lanes
    • Mark floor with colored tape to designate personal workspaces
    • Install plexiglass barriers between workspaces
    • Convert semi-private and shared offices to private offices
    • Use small meeting rooms as private offices
    • Determine if PPE (e.g., masks, gloves) will be required and who will provide it
  • Restrict use of conference rooms or limit Post signage and remove chairs to reinforce policy.
  • Restrict visitor access to essential visits Identify a single area for meeting all visitors and disinfect the area after visit.
  • Limit occupancy to:
    • Restrooms
    • Kitchen
    • Copier room
    • Mail room
    • Supply room
    • Other spaces as applicable
  • Determine how to handle inbound and outbound mail and deliveries
  • Restrict use of shared appliances (e.g., microwaves, coffee machines).
  • Flush and disinfect all toilets and urinals prior to reopening.
  • Remove or restrict access to high-touch surfaces, such as copiers, screens, tablets, light switches, and doors.
  • Provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes near all remaining high-touch surfaces.
  • Provide suggestions for commuting to and from work.
  • Encourage staff to bring their own coffee mugs, water bottles, and kitchenware to avoid sharing.
  • Establish business travel policies.

Preparing for the Next Wave 

Reopening of properties and businesses will occur during the pandemic, not after it, and the pandemic may continue for several more months. For this reason, we must be prepared for a possible next wave.

  • Decide what changes forced by the pandemic will become permanent operating procedures.
  • Remain vigilant to identify and respond to recurrences of infection.
  • Check regularly for new health department guidance.
  • Incorporate lessons learned into our emergency preparedness and business continuity plan.
  •  Build our capacity for remote work and operations.


Letter to our Residents Regarding COVID-19

Posted on March 30th, 2020

Dear Residents,

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has thrust our community into unknown territory. We recognize this is a frightening time and that many in our community have faced both health and economic impacts. We are here to try to help.

The last thing anyone wants is to lose a safe place to call home. Unfortunately, there has been misinformation circulating online and in the media about what the current crisis means for those who rent their homes. Our hope is to eliminate any confusion.

If you have suffered a job loss or other substantial loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are unable to pay rent, we encourage you to notify us as soon as possible by contacting the leasing office at your community to discuss potential alternative payment arrangements that may be made to accommodate your situation. Please be aware that if you do not contact us to let us know that you have been affected by COVID-19, we will not know that you may need assistance during these unprecedented times.

If you are not currently facing a COVID-19 related hardship, please continue to pay rent as usual. As employers, we want to ensure we are able to continue to support the personnel and staff who work every day to provide essential services to all residents. We are all in this together, and if we work together, we can weather this storm.

Sunrise over water. Coronavirus LInks for Support

Coronavirus Links for Support

It is our hope that in the coming weeks and months our elected leaders will take steps to provide financial assistance to mitigate the hardships faced by residents. We value all our residents and will support efforts by our leaders to help support members of our community during this pandemic.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the community leasing office.

With sincerest appreciation,

 

 

 

 

Thank you,

 


Congratulations to Going Beyond Creating Value Award Recipients

Posted on March 13th, 2020

As part of the iCARE program described in our last blog post, we encourage our team members to nominate their colleagues for our quarterly “Going Beyond, Creating Value” awards. The results have been calculated and the winners of 4th Quarter for 2019 are in.

Below, we have summarized our favorite comments from team members about these outstanding and talented associates. We greatly appreciate their dedication. They truly embody The REMM Group’s culture of Going Beyond, Creating Value and inspire us all!

Pictures of the Award winners.

Nominations are made by team members!

 

Francisco Mantano, Service Manager, Spring Tree Apartment Homes, Anaheim CA

“Francisco has hit the ground running since taking over as Service Manager at Springtree! We have increased NOI dramatically since his leadership began. He applies his maintenance knowledge to keep a the majority costs in-house. His actions have improved Google and Yelp ratings, which has attracted new prospects to move to Springtree!”

“Francisco is attentive to resident’s needs and comes up with solutions that are cost effective. He has made a difference in this community with a wonderful “go to” attitude that rubs off on all those around him! He really is the face of “Going Beyond and Creating Value” here at Springtree.”

“One time Francisco went above and beyond his job duty by touring a prospect. They ended up renting and gave us a 5 star Yelp review. Wow!”

Eleonor Ortiz, Business Manager, Mesa Village Apartment Homes, San Diego, CA

“Eleonor has always been helpful. However, in the past few months she has gone over and beyond by taking on the scheduling of the floater maintenance position. She does a great job making sure all of the communities have coverage and saving everyone stress. She is always available by phone or email when you need her. I appreciate her as a co-worker and am thankful to have her on our team!”

“I started with The REMM Group a few weeks ago. In addition to the amazing training and recruiting team, Eleonor has been selfless in helping me. She is absolutely patient and always willing to assist me with a huge transition. Ms. Ortiz is an asset to The REMM Group and to me as well.”

Amanda Henderson, Executive Assistant, The REMM Group Corporate Office, Tustin, CA

“Amanda is a superstar! It’s evident that Amanda works hard to make sure things run smoothly here at the Corporate Office. I truly enjoy her positiveness. Good Job Amanda!”

“Rewarding the on-site teams with a Holiday Award Ceremony that is fun, inclusive and inspiring is a very difficult task. Amanda handled it with grace and style, managing all of the moving parts and making it appear easy. She created a ceremony that felt like “no expense had been spared” on a tight budget. In addition, the Corporate Party was the best yet. She used her creativity to enhanced the format and increase the fun meter.”

Ruben Espinosa, Service Manager, Casa Grande Senior Apartments, Corona, CA 

“Ruben is a tremendous asset to Casa Grande Senior Apartments. He is knowledgeable and if he doesn’t know how to fix something, he watches YouTube videos to try to solve the problem. He also keeps the maintenance staff focused. We are glad that Ruben is part of our community.”


iCARE Customer Service in Apartment Community Management

Posted on February 11th, 2020

By Diana Shelley
Senior Regional Manager
at The REMM Group

Impressions are critical in multifamily property management. The success of the community depends on both the first impressions of potential residents shopping for a new home and the repeating impressions residents receive each time they return to the community.

The apartment community must always be well maintained, inviting and beautiful. Equally important is the emotional impression the resident or apartment seeker experiences. Does it feel welcoming and well organized? Is there the feeling that management cares about the residents?

To create a positive physical experience onsite associates have to keep a fresh perspective on the apartments and the grounds. That’s not an easy outlook to maintain on your 60th or 600th day working at a community. 

To address this challenge, we created a program called iCARE.  It is designed to shake associates out of their comfort zone so they can see with fresh eyes. The iCARE program also addresses the issue of decreasing personal interactions between apartment management and residents. ­­­­

For a warm community atmosphere to develop, we feel it is important that management has significant personal interactions with residents. Traditionally relationships automatically developed as residents dropped off rents or requested repairs. The Internet of Things (loT) has changed that.

In our IT driven world with online rental applications, rent payment and maintenance requests, onsite management and residents interact far less often. Even complaints and complements are more often made online than directly to the manager. These processes, which have added efficiency for both management and residents, have taken away from the natural development of those relationships.

How to Create a Caring Community in the loT Age

At The REMM Group we believe these personal relationships between management and residents are essential to the creation of a warm, welcoming apartment community. The iCARE program helps focus and remind management of that critical component.

The iCARE acronym is fundamentally an expression of our guiding principle to Go Beyond, Create Value.  The goal of the program is to demonstrate care for the community. The nuts and bolts of the program are the specific touch-points that serve to focus the associate’s attention.

Those touch-points are there to insure the associates daily routine includes those basics that make the most impact on the residents they manage.

Reinforcing Customer Service Basics in Multifamily Management

Apartment management teams can diligently strive to deliver outstanding service, yet miss the mark, if the critical elements that create a good impression and create a warm community atmosphere are overlooked. These are:

Customer Experience: The REMM Group strives to provide exceptional customer service aligned with our Going Beyond, Creating Value culture.

Accessibility: Everyone must have the ability to easily access and navigate the apartment community. Management must be readily available and accessible. Going beyond this, The REMM Group wants everyone to feel they are being welcomed into a comfortable, friendly community.

Reputation: Ratings and reviews are not only key for creating buzz they show us where we are doing great and where we need to improve. Our teams monitor reviews to make sure they are responding to positive comments and to concerns. We have to earn a great reputation, it is not automatic.

Environment: A well maintained environment shows potential renters and residents that management cares about their experience.

On-Going Team Motivation

Apartment community management teams face daily distractions, problems to be solved, new residents to greet, new staff to train, leasing goals to be achieved and so much more. With the necessary tasks and the inherent distractions in the job, maintaining a fresh perspective and taking time for meaningful interaction with residents is a challenge.

Winning team enjoys afternoon in the park

Event for Winners of Battle of the Regions

Any program can become routine after time with diminishing returns. To keep the onsite teams engaged, we keep the program front and center. Regional Managers create challenges for onsite teams to meet, competitions between associates, and most importantly, we highlight those doing a great job.

We created a section in The REMM Group’s Weekly Team Updates that congratulates the communities with five star reviews that week. We ask team members to catch others in the act of Going Beyond, Creating Value and nominate them for a quarterly award. 

Results Show in Resident Satisfaction

Numbers show online reputation Up from 3.54 o 4.02

Overall Online Reputation Rose Significantly with Far More Reviews

The results are demonstrated in across the board improvement in the online ratings of our portfolio of apartment communities. Even more exciting is what those reviews say about the success of the program and the quality of our team members. For that reason, we end this post with a few reviews from this month.

Ryan V of Los Alamitos, CA on Yelp:

“I wanted to give a shout out to Francisco. I was bringing home a new fridge and ran into Francisco, I believe he was off his shift but he still helped out to bring the fridge up the stairs, which would have been very hard to do alone.”

Report shows Yelp ratings up from

More Ratings, Higher Ratings

Daniel Z from Fair Oaks on Yelp:

“New management has been excellent for this place, 5 stars for Pam! The upgrades and effort to turn this place around has really helped make it a nice place” 

Sherri M on Google My Business:

“This place is clean and quiet and the best part is the friendly staff.  I am so glad to meet people like Ranisha.  Thank you for being professional and inviting. We need more people like you.”

Letzy P from Oceanside on Yelp:

“The ladies at the leasing office were incredibly nice and very helpful with my husbands and I move in process. They were very patient and kind to our crazy Toddler during the process. They helped us find and secure a unit that fitted our needs and lifestyle.”

Ratings on Google improve from 3.24 to 3.77

Google Rating Rise 16% Average Over Entire Portfolio of 42 Apartments

From Nicole on Google My Business

“New manager Jenn is very friendly and inviting. Ray and Jerry are an amazing maintenance team. Great customer service!”

Gary V on Facebook:

I have lived here for about 11 years and I honestly would not want to live anywhere else.With its up-scale grounds, thanks to the highly qualified maintenance crew, the friendly leasing office staff, the modern facilities and care-free living,.. It’s no wonder I’m here to stay.”

 

Post by Diana Shelley, Regional Manager Multifamily of the Year by IREM Orange County in 2019 and Susan McPeak.


‘Inspect What You Expect’ for Successful Real Estate Management

Posted on May 8th, 2019

Picture of Jeanette Ruscitti, Vice President of Operations at The REMM Group
By Jeanette Ruscitti, Vice President of Operations at The REMM Group

The goal of successful real estate management is to exceed expectations on all levels. To achieve that, we have to know the high standards we put in place are being met. That is why ‘Inspect What You Expect’ is the foundation of how we operate at The REMM Group.

Inspections Help Fulfill CRE and Multifamily Commitments

We have all come to appreciate the importance of monitoring the process, protocol and policies we set up for our teams. Consistently confirming follow-through is how we achieve results that surpass expectations. We have a responsibility to property owners, multifamily residents and commercial tenants. It is necessary for our team members to be committed and engaged.

Inspecting is one of the key ways we show where priorities lie. We know if we spend the time inspecting the details early and often, then we can make corrections before we are surprised by unexpected ‘unfavorable’ results. This requires adherence to a robust series of procedures.

Our CEO and Facilities Director visit every community yearly to do a thorough inspection. We also complete 2 impromptu walks a year at each multifamily community. Additionally, we use a third party specialist, Ellis Partners, to conduct mystery shops. Ellis Mystery Shops provides our management with comprehensive reports that provide an additional way to monitor our customer’s experience.  

Vigilance and Positivity Make the Program Work

From listening to recorded calls to ensure trained best practices have been incorporated, to auditing the correct use of programs like Sharefile and Yardi Voyager, all our processes require inspection if we expect them to be followed. It is part of a leaders due diligence to monitor output.

It is important to do this routinely and with a positive attitude so associates realize that inspection doesn’t mean a lack of trust, nor is it punitive. It actually helps team members and vendors achieve our expectations so that they can succeed.

We want to know if there is a reason something is not, or cannot, be done the way we expect. Inspection provides the opportunity to report on progress, request assistance and training support. It is this feedback that leads to the review and improvement of the processes, protocols and policies we are inspecting. It raises us all.

As management does this, we are also demonstrating and reinforcing what each team member is required to do in their position. A Service Technician has to make sure that the washer just installed actually solved that dripping problem. We must all check our work for the expected results. If we assume them, we are sliding down a slope that inevitably leads to mistakes and failures.

Analytical Tools are Helpful in Analyzing Results

We also use technological tools to inspect what we expect. Marketing Director, Windell Mollenido says this of his monitoring process, “I am constantly reviewing our analytics for details like lead to lease conversions, traffic numbers, cost and onsite team feedback. Our team determines the cost effectiveness of each lead source based on this inspection. If a platform is not preforming as we “expect” when we review it, we may remove that specific marketing source. If a service is exceeding our expectation then we may move more budget there, or recommend it to another community.”

On a daily basis The REMM COO and I review Yardi Orion Business Intelligence analytics and reports. We can quickly and efficiently review financials, spending and other factors to inspect the health of individual properties and the overall portfolio. This allows us to see in real time if a property is struggling, or thriving. Our “expectations” are defined by Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and benchmark thresholds..

These analytical tools are of no value if they are not used. So we have procedures in place that incorporate a review of how well we are using those tools. When we add a new technology, process, protocol, or  policy, we also set up the procedure used to inspect it.

This is how we have constructed a framework that supports outstanding results. What is inspected gets focused on. That attention results in expectations being met and exceeded. Exceeding expectations is the achievement of our goal.

Blog content by Jeanette Ruscittiand Susan McPeak


Building an Outstanding Team from The Inside Out

Posted on April 9th, 2019

By Yong Held, Director of Human Resources

The REMM Group has gained tremendous rewards looking inward to fill positions, rather than immediately seeking new talent when a position opens up. The benefits that this has meant for us and for our associates is worth celebrating. It is a key component that has allowed us to deliver exceptional service while growing rapidly. It is also one of the highlights of our extraordinary culture.

 Leaders on the Move:

Our corporate culture of Going Beyond, Creating Value is critical to us at The REMM Group. We are in the service industry—serving our clients and also their clients. People that are willing to go above and beyond do so partly because it’s there nature and partly because we nurture an environment that supports that.

Diana Shelley is a good example of a person that came into our company and hit the ground running. She came to us with 10 years of on-site experience at multifamily properties. We had three properties in Coachella Valley, where she lived, that were in transition. Diana started as leasing director for all three properties and as we moved them through the process of disposition, Diana became business manager in progression at each of the properties, each time requiring a move.

This showed a huge about of flexibility and willingness to be where we needed her, when we needed her. When an opportunity opened at corporate for a Training Manager, we offered the opportunity to Diana. She packed up her family and moved once more, this time from Coachella Valley to Orange County and our corporate office.

Diana’s positive attitude and creativity were obvious to all at our corporate office. She embodied the spirit we want front and center with all our clients and so her journey continued when we moved Diana back out into the field as an Area Manager. She spent a year and a half in that position and secured her real estate license at the same time. This allowed us to move her up once again to Regional Manager.

Diana Shelley,
Senior Regional Manager

As Regional Manager, Diana lead the company with the most successful portfolio including highest occupancy and lowest availability week after week. Diana was recently made a Senior Regional Manager guiding other Area Managers so they too can follow her path.

In just six years, Diana had stair-stepped her way into a top position in our company. Anyone that has worked around Diana will tell you that she pulled everyone up around her as well. When people ask us how we have managed to grow our company so quickly without losing our ability to deliver exceptional service and provide outstanding results, the answer is because of associates like Diana.

Every Associate’s Employment Path is Unique:

Caron Wilson,
Commercial Regional manager

Not every employee is ready for the kind of journey that Diana has taken, some fulfill a different role for The REMM Group and we fulfill a different role in their lives. Caron Wilson is an associate that began working for The REMM Group in 2002; 12 years before the current owners bought the company in 2014. Caron was an Assistant Commercial Property Manager and in that position, she developed a depth of experience that gave The REMM Group stability and continuity. This stable position worked for Caron and the balance she wanted in her life. She was periodically offered the opportunity to advance, but until last year, Caron was satisfied in her assistant’s position and felt adequately challenged.

As Caron says, “This is property management—it’s never boring. There is always something new to challenge you.”  While the company grew and changed around her, Caron stayed, adjusting to the developing culture and helping to build it with her positive attitude and attention to detail. Last year, after 16 years assisting our Commercial Managers, Caron accepted our offer of Commercial Regional Manager. She said the timing felt right.

A Management Structure That Supports Employee Advancement:

In the new position Caron reported her greatest challenge has been learning to delegate. She found the support she needed to develop the skill by getting input from her Regional Director. This is how we have designed our company to work. We have created a hierarchy of positions: Area Managers get supported by Senior Regional Managers, Regional Directors support the Regional Managers. Similar structures are in place throughout the company. Everyone knows who they can turn to for input, ideas, and techniques to help them excel.

It’s a structure that has worked outstandingly. You only have to look at our management team to see its success. Jeanette Ruscitti, Vice President of Operations, started with us as a Regional Manager. Regional Multifamily Director Frank Thorp and Regional Directors of the Commercial Division, Jan Melano and Brian Plotkin, all advanced from the positon of Regional Manager.

The advancements are found on-site too where many of our Business Managers started out as Assistant Managers or Leasing Agents. The same is true of our maintenance team. We could go on listing our rising associates till we got to our most recent promotion. Monique Serrat, who joined our organization just two months ago as an Office Assistant. She has just become Account Coordinator.

This is our culture and how our associates show-up: Going Beyond-offering  our organization and our clients their full enthusiasm and dedication. Creating Value for the clients they serve, The REMM Group team, and in their own lives.


Multifamily Property Investors Achieve Success in Management Partnership

Posted on February 25th, 2019

By Sara D’Elia, CEO The REMM Group

It takes an outstanding partnership between the multifamily investor and the property management company or team to achieve excellent financial results. Discipline, planning and courage are required to invest in commercial property upkeep, marketing, innovation and acquisition.

We congratulate the owners and investors who put their communities under our management on the continued success they demonstrated in 2018. We make recommendations—it is the investors who must have the unique mix of boldness and patience that creates long term sustainable profits.

Exceeding Southern California Rental Growth Averages

Those decisions allowed our stabilized multifamily portfolio to exceed the market average rent growth in Southern California in 2018. Below is a chart that compares assets managed by The REMM Group to corresponding market averages in the counties where those 37 multifamily communities reside.

2018 Comparison Southern California Rent Growth
Costar Average Rent Growth REMM Portfolio Rent Growth Exceeds Market
Inland Empire – CA 4.4% 4.95% .55%
Los Angeles – CA 3.1% 4.48% 1.38%
Orange County – CA 4.7% 4.84% .14%
San Diego – CA 4.0% 5.14% 1.14%
Southern California 4.05% 4.85% .8

Increasing Occupancy Year Over Year

Other criteria also show the value of managing multifamily communities for long-term returns to maximize the investment’s potential. If rates are raised too quickly, without proper market analysis and lacking corresponding improvements, occupancy and thus profits can suffer.

The year over year occupancy chart for The REMM Group portfolio below shows that even while raising rates at a pace higher than the market averages, the multifamily assets have increased in occupancy.

This is achieved by the partnership of REMM management and owner decisions; rates must be increased with proper analysis of the market, appropriate improvements to the communities, dynamic marketing and attentive management. Increasing occupancy rates to the optimal level and sustaining those, while increasing rates faster than the market, requires vigilance and a balanced approach.

REMM Occupancy Year Over Year
Year Current Year Previous Year
 2016 94.68% 92.57%
2017 95.73% 94.68%
2018 95.99% 95.73%

Reduced Availability Year Over Year

The decreasing number of available units during this same time period demonstrates that improved turnover, marketing and leasing have kept apartments from lingering on the market eating up profits.

Availability Year over Year
Year Current Year Previous Year
2016 4.99% 7.75%
2017 4.36% 4.99%
2018 3.91% 4.36%

Average Percentage of Apartments Leased Year over Year

Another way to look at this information is to look at the average percentage of multifamily units leased year over year. The progression over three years from 94.67 to 97.57 is a testament to the hard work of The REMM Group team and the dedication of the investors. Many companies say they can improve these numbers, working with our owners, we show consistency in achieving that goal.

Leased Year over Year
Year Current Year Previous Year
2016 96.90% 94.67%
2017 97.57% 96.90%
2018 97.81% 97.57%

Beyond Increasing the Numbers

We are also proud to be part of our clients success in a variety of other accomplishments. Acquisition, leaseup and divestment are integral to achieving investor goals and visions. We are honored to have been part of all of these processes. The year ahead is full of exciting projects for our investors and the ongoing apartment homes, capital projects and processes we administer on their behalf.

Congratulations to all. We look forward to the continued achievements ahead.

 

 


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