As it continues to push for nationwide rental assistance programs, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently welcomed representatives from the Institute of Real Estate Management to discuss how industry professionals are addressing rent abatement requests popping up across the U.S.
IREM’s Director of Government Affairs Ted Thurn led a conversation with Barry Blanton, CPM®, IREM’s 2021 president-elect, and IREM executive committee member Mindy Gronbeck, CPM®. The trio sought to offer advice to property managers experiencing similar challenges and focused heavily on the Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium. The order was met with immediate opposition from NAR and IREM after being issued on Sept. 1.
“The real estate management community has been working with tenants and residents throughout the pandemic to find solutions to financial hardship that work for them and for property owners,” said Blanton. “With the prolonged economic recovery, we’d also like to see additional government stimulus in the near term to help ensure the stability of the real estate industry.”
NAR has worked to lead the industry in the fight for rental assistance programs, which it contends will protect renter households without creating a crisis for property owners, whose own livelihoods also remain at stake in light of COVID-19.
“While NAR continues to support and applaud efforts to keep families in their homes, we have maintained our position that rental assistance in lieu of a broad, unsustainable eviction moratorium would help thousands of struggling families avoid eviction while also ensuring property owners can continue to provide housing to Americans in the months and years to come,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, Calif.
Going beyond eviction and rental assistance policies, Thurn asked Blanton and Gronbeck to offer guidance to fellow property managers by highlighting some of the lessons they’ve learned since the pandemic began.
“Pivoting is probably number one. We had to pivot quickly, and sometimes we didn’t even know where we were pivoting to,” said Gronbeck, who is also the director of property management for commercial real estate development firm Hawkins Companies. “To me, that’s what you had to learn—you had to change and be ready to change.”
Gronbeck’s firm manages 4.2 million square feet of retail, charter school and office space across 26 U.S. states, but has largely been able to avoid major financial disaster during the pandemic, a fact she attributed to her employees’ willingness to work with tenants and address each of their individual situations uniquely.
“We had to really spend time with each of our tenants and every situation was so different,” Gronbeck said. “We’re partnering with our tenants and we’re listening to them. And if that means an hour and a half on the phone with one tenant out of my day, that’s what I do.”
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.