Rule Change Creates Opportunities For Multifamily Developers

Written by David Wilkins, Managing Director, Real Estate Finance, Walker & Dunlop

Say what you want about HUD, they have been a stalwart of multifamily financing for more than a half century. Many local family offices employ HUD right alongside of agency and life company lending. For the right property and owner, HUD insured loans are a perfect fit.

Traditionally new developments, not currently HUD insured, were prevented from seeking out HUD insured loans due to what was commonly known as The Three-Year Rule. This long standing rule created many negative unintended consequences and was eliminated in 2020.

Developers of recently completed projects or those planned, may now consider the very popular 223(f) loan for their permanent financing solution. The 223 (f) carries many positive attributes, including generally the lowest long-term interest rate in the industry. Owners also recognize the higher leverage one can obtain through a HUD insured loan. Owners can achieve 80 percent and 85 percent loan to value and not suffer a higher rate of interest due to the higher leverage.

To bring this home for our Apartment Association readers: a Grand Rapids developer recently completed a 50+ unit town home development. The sub 3 percent; 35-year HUD insured loan funded all of the construction debt and returned equity to the developer.
In another recent example a Mid-Michigan based developer completed a large multifamily development project. Upon stabilization they considered: life company loans, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD insured loans. To compete with the HUD insured interest rate, they were compelled to shorten the loan term of the life company and other loan quotes. The shorter maturity and subsequent need to refinance would be occurring at a time when their brownfield tax incentives would be diminishing. In the end, the longer-term HUD loan better protected the ownership from an expected tax increase when the associated brownfield development benefits expired.

Owners are benefited by the many debt options available to them and the historic low interest rates we have recently experienced. As loan programs evolve and improve we will be pleased to share that news with you. n

David Wilkins is a Managing Director for Walker and Dunlop. He is an active member of the AAM. David can be reached at dwilkins@walkerdunlop.com

Posted in 2021, JULY 2021 | Comments Off on Rule Change Creates Opportunities For Multifamily Developers

Stress Management For Safety

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

Stress is a critical factor that tends to play a role in accidents and unsafe workplaces. While it might not be part of every single accident, it does tend to play a role in the serious ones. Stress may contribute to the incident or unsafe workplaces by either distracting the individual(s) involved, adding another layer of pressure to get a job done, or as an outside source that is causing one to not fully perform their job function.

Alternatively, stress may also be the sole reason an accident occurs. Not all accidents occur from a physical hazard. Some occur from a mental one. Breaking down how stress influences accidents, we further understand what causes stress, how stress actually equates with accidents and what we can do to be preventative and avoid becoming stressed, ourselves.

What Causes Stress? The biggest factor that’s found when looking at the leading causes of stress in the workplace is overwhelmingly workload. When we are tasked with too much, our stress levels increase, making up approximately half of the cause of stress in the workplace. More than a quarter is due to “people issues” – working with someone you do not get along with or something similar. About 20 percent of all stress in the workplace is from individuals attempting to balance work life and personal life.

Lastly, a very small percentage of stress that is found is from a lack of job security. It could be safe to say that just about all of us experience stress in some form during our work day. Take the time right now to think about the time you were last stressed and determine what had caused it. Whether it was something mentioned above or not, such as lack of sleep, you should know what is causing you stress!

It is easy to see that some people are under some form of stress. They may be agitated, irritable, or may appear very upset. However, for others who are stressed, there may be absolutely no indication. Regardless of the signs, we know that if someone is focusing on their stressors, they are less apt to be focusing on the hazards of the task. If there is less time to do a task, or if someone now has more workload, the very first thing that is usually “forgotten” about is the safety needed to do a task without injury.

Alternately, stress can absolutely be “stored” in areas of your body that later hurt. Symptoms such as headaches and back pain without a recognized physical hazard very well could be stress-induced injuries. Having done countless incident investigations myself, almost every single interview with the injured party I have been told something along the lines of “There just isn’t enough time to do the task” or “They expect too high of output from us.” If we find ourselves asking, “Is this too much work for one person?” there is a good chance that it is! And while all stress may not always lead to a serious physical hazard, the mental strain may absolutely be something that causes burnout or even cause your employees to move on to another company.

The big question here is: What are we able to do to prevent our employees from getting stressed? Well, believe it or not, that is an easy one! Simply talk to them and ask! Plenty of people, including you, may already be aware of the stresses and know how to fix them. If not, starting with a great night’s sleep will work wonders!

Other great ways to encourage a stress-free workplace are through promoting a positive environment. Display personal and family photos, promote workplace wellness, cut down on the caffeine, allow more time for breaks (which actually makes people more productive) and listen to each other’s needs. When we are able to assist others, and help them determine what cause their stress, we can better the working environment that we all work in. Understanding where the issue comes from, ultimately, is the first step in getting the problem resolved!

Posted in 2021, JUNE 2021 | Comments Off on Stress Management For Safety

Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Director of Regulatory & Legal Affairs, Home Builders Association of Michigan

Source of Income Bills Introduced
Two pieces of legislation – both introduced recently in the Michigan Senate – propose to add “source of income” protections in state law. First, Senate Bill 254 would amend the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act to forbid a landlord from doing any of the following as it relates to source of income:

  • Deny or terminate a tenancy
  • Make any distinctions or restrictions in rental\price, terms, conditions, fees, or
    privileges relating to the rental unit
  • Attempt to discourage the lease of any rental unit
  • Assist, induce, or coerce another person to engage in a practice violating the
    proposed amendment
  • Coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with rights granted under the act
  • Represent to a prospective or current resident that a unit is not available for
    inspection or rental when in fact it is available
  • Otherwise make unavailable or deny a unit based on source of income

The bill goes on to mandate that a landlord shall not publish or display any notice or ad indicating a preference or requirement based on source of income, and, that a person who “suffers a loss” as a result of violation of the law may bring a court action to recover actual damages or up to 4.5 times the monthly rent of the unit, whichever is greater, along with court costs and attorney fees.

The second bill, Senate Bill 255, proposes to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. This legislation would add source of income protection to both the title and section 502 (relating to real estate transactions) of the act.

AAM strongly opposes these bills for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it would force all Michigan apartment providers to participate in the federal Section 8 housing voucher program. This program, while a fantastic way to help families in need, was designed and codified to be voluntary – not mandatory – as it requires compliance with numerous federal rules which some apartment providers find too restrictive. AAM will work aggressively to educate our lawmakers on the impact such legislation would have on the rental property industry.

Posted in 2021, JUNE 2021 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Emergency! Do You Know First Aid?

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

Picture this: you are at work, thinking about lunch, and you turn your head toward the window and see someone just outside, collapse and they are lying face down, not moving. Take a moment now to think about what you would do. If you are unsure what to do, or maybe you thought you would instantly call 911, or perhaps you would run out there to help and provide care. While it is hard to give a statistic behind it, we know that the “bystander effect” is real, and there is a surprising number of people who would do absolutely nothing. It is likely that when you took that previous moment to think what you would do, that you did not say to yourself, “I would not do anything” and that is because we always think highly of ourselves. We tend to think that we could solve most problems when they come up. Yet, when faced with an emergency, we tend to fall to our level of training (which may be none) rather than rise to the level of expectations. Knowing right now what to do, who should be called, and when things need to happen make the biggest difference in the future when an emergency does occurs.

If you can’t protect yourself from getting hurt, don’t endanger yourself to help others. Whether it is stopping to assist someone who was just t-boned in their car going through an intersection, or helping someone who just got hurt using basic hand power tools, always keep your safety your absolute goal of the event. If that means that you cannot safely help the injured party, then there is not much you can do other than calling 911 and retreating to a safe spot. Not only is your safety important, but if you were to be injured in the process, you’ve added additional risk to the first responders that could have been avoided. When approaching the area, accident scene, or place where an injury occurred, always look around and quickly gather an idea of what caused the injury. Identify what could have caused the injury or accident and determine your level of safety. If the threat is high, do not intervene and call 911.

Once – or if – the scene is safe, you will need to assess whether this is a life threatening condition and if you should either provide care or call 911 first. Likely, there will be others in the area to help and grab a first aid kit, but that’s not always the case! Sometimes you are by yourself and need to determine what’s more important. Care first situations are situations that need immediate attention and first aid as soon as possible. These first seconds matter the most. Care first situations tend to be non-cardiac emergencies, which include breathing emergencies (choking or asthma) or severe bleeding., such as sudden cardiac arrest (heart stops and not breathing at all).

Give care to your level of knowledge. Just because you watched some TV show were they performed a risky first aid procedure and ended up saving a random stranger’s life, does not mean that you should attempt that on someone else in a real event. If you do not know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, do not attempt it. If you are unsure of where you should do compressions on the chest of someone who is not breathing, do not attempt CPR. Performing these things ineffectively or incorrectly may not only do nothing to help, but may also end up causing more damage. The basic rule when approaching someone who needs care is to introduce yourself and provide your level of training to the injured person and ask for consent before providing care to someone who is conscious: “Hi, my name is Dan and I am trained in First Aid. May I help you?”

If you are interested in finding out more information on first aid, or on obtaining your Red Cross First Aid, CPR, and AED certificate, you can contact me at 734-309-3456 or email me at daday@compone.net.

Posted in 2021, MAY 2021 | Comments Off on Emergency! Do You Know First Aid?

Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Director of Regulatory & Legal Affairs
Home Builders Association of Michigan

Inspection Legislation Introduced
Legislation proposed in the Michigan House of Representatives would require landlords to notify residents of rental inspection violations. House Bill 4183 would amend the Housing Law of Michigan to add a mandate that a property owner must notify residents within 48 hours of receipt of an inspection violation notice from an enforcing agency. The proposal allows for four options in which the property owner can communicate the notice to the resident including:

  • By sending a copy of the notice to each occupant by certified or registered mail
  • By sending a scanned copy of the notice to each occupant via e-mail
  • By personal delivery of the notice to each occupant with a sign-off from the occupant that the notice has been received
  • By posting a copy of the notice in a common area in the premises, with the requirement that it remain posted until the violation is resolved
  • The bill has been referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform for consideration.

Smoke Alarm Law Proposed
House Bill 4382 would ban the distribution/sale of smoke alarms powered by replaceable and removeable batteries in Michigan beginning April 1, 2022. The bill further requires that smoke alarms distributed/sold after April 1, 2022 must be powered for not less than 10 years by a nonremovable and nonreplaceable battery or by another power source utilizing new technology. The legislation would not apply to hard-wired or wirelessly linked alarms.

President Biden Issues Memorandum on Fair Housing
President Biden has issued a memorandum entitled “Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies” which directs HUD to review the Trump Administration’s regulatory actions related to Fair Housing. The memorandum specifically addresses the Trump Administration rule on disparate impact, and goes on to direct HUD to take the steps necessary based on the review to fully implement the Fair Housing Act’s requirements.

Posted in 2021, MAY 2021 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update