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Going Beyond, Creating Value Q1 2021 Award Recipients

Posted on April 13th, 2021

We encourage our team members to nominate their colleagues for The REMM Group quarterly “Going Beyond, Creating Value” awards. Below, we have summarized our favorite comments from team members about the outstanding and talented associates awarded the Going Beyond, Creating Value First Quarter Awards for 2021.

We greatly appreciate each associate’s dedication. They truly embody The REMM Group’s culture of Going Beyond, Creating Value and inspire us all.

Four Winners of Property Management Excellence Awards

Multifamily property management professionals nominated by their co-workers for excellence and support of team members.

The REMM Group Winner for the Inland Empire/Desert Region

DeWayne Garcia, Business Manager, Villa Boutique

“Thank you, DeWayne for your willingness to support other communities. In a short period of time, not only did you manage your own community in the desert, but you also drove to Riverside and Long Beach to support other communities that were short-staffed. Thank you for being such a team player!”

“Dewayne has played an integral role in helping Paradise Gardens transition to management by The REMM Group. Not only on the executive level but also on the property level. He is absolutely amazing at what he does and The REMM Group is lucky to have him.”

Winner for the San Diego Region

Odessa Nelson, Business Manager, Las Ventanas

“Thank you, Odessa for helping me navigate through the Housing website today while I wasn’t feeling good. Your patience and understanding helped make this task easier. I appreciate you!”

“Odessa has been so flexible and accommodating! She has loaned her Maintenance Supervisor to us every time we have requested additional assistance and she answers questions when we need clarification on how to accomplish a task. She is supportive, always upbeat, and happy to assist. Thank you, Odessa for all your support for The Dylan Apartments in Oceanside.! You are a great team player! We appreciate you!”

Winner for the Los Angeles/Orange County Region

Dana McGinnis, Service Technician Charter Oaks/Gladstone Ridge Los Angeles/Orange County

“Dana came to our community to assist with installing an appliance upstairs. The reason why I am nominating Dana is because he truly embodies REMM’s culture of going above and beyond. He arrived ready to work but more than that, it was his smile, positive attitude, and the energy that he brought with him.

I thanked him for helping us out. His response was, “I am here for you guys, anything you need, I am here to work for this guy (referring to Edwin) and to learn.” I loved to see his passion and his willingness to help the team. I couldn’t let this go without sharing his golden spirit.”

Winner for The REMM Group Corporate Division

Danielle Vigil, Property Accountant 

“Words can’t express how I appreciate Danielle. She is beyond amazing!  She held a zoom call meeting with me over Statement of Deposit Accounts (SODA’s). I could not ask for a better teacher. Thank you for a wonderful experience. I never thought I would have so much fun on a zoom call going over SODA’s. She’s so genuine and such a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you again for everything! YOU ROCK…”

“Thank you Danielle and the rest of the SODA Team for all your hard work. We recently came across a tricky SODA and Danielle helped us through the process. We can’t thank you all enough for your time and energy in getting these processed in a timely manner. You guys are the best!”

 

 


Leading the Way with Gender Diversity in Commercial Property Management

Posted on March 17th, 2021

Image of Sara D'Elia, CEO of The REMM GroupWe did not set out to be a leader in diversity for the commercial real estate management industry. Our goal was to be the best commercial and multifamily real estate management company. Research shows having a diverse workplace leads to better problem solving, better collaboration, improved staff retention, a higher trust factor and higher profits. You can’t be the best if you succumb to the traditional gender gap in our industry.

Our boutique Southern California Property Management Company placed fifth in the nation and number one in California for The Best Places to Work in Multifamily for Women for 2021.  The REMM Group has maintained a nearly equal spread in gender for many years. In contrast, women only make up 36.7% of the commercial real estate workforce.

We always seek to hire the best candidate irrespective of gender or race. We believe the same is true of our industry peers today. What makes the difference at The REMM Group is how we develop talent, promote, and support our associates.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Starts at the Top

Our 55% female management team, and our women-owned status is even more outside the norm. The REMM Group Commercial and Multifamily Management Company became a majority women-owned business in 2013 when Sara D’Elia, Christine Dales, and Shawn Conerty formed Reliant Real Estate Management and assumed ownership of The REMM Group.

Christine Dales, COO, and Sara D’Elia, CEO, both held the CEO position at other Commercial Real Estate Management companies before acquiring The REMM Group with Shawn Conerty, CFO. These are positions that only 9% of women have achieved in the industry.

Every company reflects the values of its ownership. Research shows that companies that include women in senior management are more likely to adapt employee-friendly policies and programs and to champion the advancement of women.

Our gender-balanced ownership worked hard to design policies and programs that nurture our talent and help them advance. We did this because we saw our goal of creating value for our clients and delivering exceptional customer service was dependent on an exceptional team of men and women.

Mentoring Eliminates Barriers

The Top Five Barriers to Success from The 2020 Benchmark Study by CREW

Five Barriers to Equity

Women in commercial real estate cited the lack of a sponsor or mentor as being the most significant barrier to their success in a study done by MIPIM. The 2020 CREW report lists it as the third most significant barrier.

One of our women managers asked to set up a mentoring program at The REMM Group in 2014.  Management approved the idea, and our mentorship program began. It was so successful we determined the most effective way to ensure consistency and be able to offer mentorship to everyone, was to make mentoring an integral part of our management structure and our culture.

We encourage everyone to chart out a future for themselves in our company. These career-goal conversations allow us to support and guide the employees.

What holds women back is not overt, it is ingrained and includes self-limiting expectations and aspirations. Mentoring is a great way to address these subtle and ingrained tendencies and overcome the structural biases inherent in an industry that was once almost exclusively male.

We immediately address any tendencies by men or women to demean or undermine other co-workers. Those attitudes are not tolerated. We put high value on team members supporting one another.

Providing an Environment That Nurtures and Retains Talent

The REMM Group does more than just remove barriers we created a culture that promotes job satisfaction, teamwork and fosters the development of future leaders for our company. This culture is not automatic. We have worked hard to create it.

We developed a quarterly program called, Going Beyond, Creating Value where team members try to catch others in the act of going beyond at their job or creating value for the client. They nominate these associates for this quarterly award. We encourage team members to give applause to others they work with in weekly notices we send out company wide. We also highlight when a team member is promoted with emails to our entire staff called Leaders on the Move. Seeing other people advance and be supported is a motivator.

We look internally to fill positions before going outside The REMM Group. This provides more promotional opportunities for our team-members.

Thorough training gives our associates confidence. Our supportive environment and open-door policy allows for questions and concerns to be answered right away. They can envision a future in our company, knowing we will continue to provide the support they need to excel.

Work-Life Balance

Women cite the choice to maintain a healthy work-life balance as a block to their success in the workplace. Companies that want the advantages of diversity in leadership need to address this requirement proactively or they will not achieve an equal culture.

The REMM Group embraces work-life balance for all associates and leads by example to show our sincerity. Policies that allow for balance are critical, but they are not enough. If you tolerate an underlying message or culture that shames or denigrates associates for taking their PTO (paid time off), your team members won’t see it as a true option.

The REMM Group takes the challenge to provide adequate and flexible staffing seriously. Where reasonable, we allow work from home. We also invest in technological tools to assist our team members. We benefit from these choices by having engaged, loyal and committed associates.

Gender Equity in Pay

The statistics indicate that women in commercial real estate earn 34% less than men in total earnings (combining salaries, bonuses, and commissions). Companies that that pay women less than competitors will lose valuable employees to those that will provide equal pay. They also leave potential talent undeveloped.

Equal pay provides equal opportunities. Men and women must be equally able to provide themselves and their family with the tools and lifestyle that allows them to excel at work. Pay inequity limits the advancement and satisfaction of women in the workplace. It also keeps companies from having the best possible team.

Seek the Best Culture and Policies, Equity Will Follow

The Keys to Workplace Diversity and Excellence

Five Keys to Diversity

We provide the tools our associates need to succeed, and we monitor and reward their success. Both men and women excel in that environment. The CREW study showed that men also felt the lack of promotional opportunity and mentoring as barriers to their success. Both men and women seek work-life balance and the number one thing both need for job satisfaction is the respect of their co-workers.

The same blocks and same desire for coworker respect and pay equity, are cited in studies about racial diversity. The policies that have led to gender equity at The REMM Group have also given us a corporate management team that is diverse in race and culture.

At The REMM Group, our associates see women in the roles of CEO, COO, Vice President, Directors and Regional Managers. They see diverse women and men equally advanced throughout our company and hired into our organization. They see women and men demonstrate the ability to have a family and a life and to be a leader at work. They know opportunity is available regardless of gender or race.

The best teams bring together diverse points of view, strengths, and talents. Building our amazing team of commercial real estate professionals has required a commitment to training, motivation, and innovation. One of the results is a company that is more diverse than the industry standard. Seek excellence and provide your associates with what they need to excel. That is how you grow into diversity.

Resources: 

Reports Recommended

McKinsey and Company

McKinsey and Company have done extensive research on diversity in the workplace. Their research shows that the benefits of gender equity on a company’s bottom line.

MIPIM:

A global look at women in real estate: “In the U.S. women are 54% less likely to have a sponsor, defined as someone who can provide advice and actively help one advance in their career, compared to men.”

2020 Benchmark Study Report by CREW

Detailed information specific to Gender and Diversity in Commercial Real Estate.

 


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