COVID-19 Update


The Apartment Association of Greater Columbia (AAGC), whose members consist of owners and managers of over 36,000 apartments across the midlands of South Carolina and 95 associate (suppliers) member companies who provide goods and services to the industry, is committed to upholding its standard of excellence in providing safe, quality housing for renters, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We fully understand this pandemic is not just compromising public health; it also threatens the financial viability of individuals and businesses. This is a difficult time. We recognize that our residents are not immune from facing these unprecedented pressures.

To protect renters and ensure that everyone has a home to self-isolate and stay safe in, AAGC recommends that our members adopt the following policies to help South Carolina residents.

  • Communicate with residents and encourage them to communicate with you. Make it clear that housing providers are committed to ensuring residents retain their housing. Create open lines of communications so residents who cannot pay their rent know to inform their housing providers as soon as possible.
  • Request documentation. Once the line of communication is open ask those residents that are financially impacted due to COVID-19 to provide documentation that they have lost their job, been furloughed, etc.
  • Create payment plans for residents who had previously outstanding eviction balances or cannot pay rent because of the COVID-19 outbreak and put them in writing.Extend grace periods for late payments and consider waiving late fees for residents that have provided documentation of hardship. This may help renters in need and encourages at least partial payment.
  • Avoid rent increases for those that have provided documentation of hardship for 90 days to help residents weather the crisis.
  • Extend grace periods for late payments and consider waiving late fees for residents that have provided documentation of hardship. This may help renters in need and encourages at least partial payment.
  • Identify government and community resources that may assist renters, such as food assistance, financial, and healthcare resources. Visit the assistance for residents section of AAGC’s COVID-19 resources page for more information
  • Remember that evictions have been halted by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Clarify however that the freeze on evictions does not rescind leases nor wipe out the responsibility to pay rent. However, residents and housing providers are encouraged to communicate with each other to create reasonable ways to resolve these situations.

The recommendations above include information from the National Apartment Association and the National Multifamily Housing Council.

The National Apartment Association and its more than 150 state and local affiliates, encompassing over 82,000 members and representing more than 10 million apartment homes, encourage all residents who are in financial distress to proactively reach out to work with their community managers prior to April 1. Many of our rental housing professionals already have individual plans in place to work with their residents in this unprecedented crisis. There is no “one approach fits all.” The best strategy, and NAA’s recommendation, is for owners, managers and residents to partner together to find the optimal solution. Providing a secure home for all of our residents is our primary goal.

Owners and managers are facing intense financial pressure. Fortunately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published an announcement to offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of COVID-19. The suspension of evictions is in place for the entire duration of time that a property owner remains in forbearance.

We appreciate FHFA’s efforts to protect both residents and multifamily property owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope that you find some, or all, of this information useful. 

The AAGC and our members are committed to serving our residents and communities during these unprecedented times. If you have any questions, please contact me at dwood@capconsc.com.

Please feel free to share this information with anyone who may find it useful and please let us know if you feel there is information that should be added!


 

National Apartment Association Resources

Click here to access the NAA COVID-19 Resources Landing Page.


 

SC DHEC Resources

DHEC continues to work with federal, state and local partners as it investigates COVID-19 cases in South Carolina. DHEC's top priority remains protecting the public during this national and state emergency.

Click here to view the state's COVID-19 Resource Page.


 

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Image result for cdc logo


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the leading national public health institute of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

Click here to view the nation's COVID-19 Resource Page.


 

HUD Update

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, in consultation with the Trump Administration and the Coronavirus Task Force, has authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days.

The guidance applies to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages, and directs mortgage servicers to:

  • Halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process; and
  • Cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured single-family properties.

Loan Forbearance

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus.

The eviction suspensions are in place for the entire duration of time that a property owner remains in forbearance. The forbearance is available to all multifamily properties with an Enterprise-backed performing multifamily mortgage negatively affected by the coronavirus national emergency.

The multifamily mortgage forbearance and eviction suspension programs are the latest actions that FHFA has announced to ensure the Enterprises fulfill their missions during the coronavirus national emergency.

Other actions include:

  1. Suspending foreclosures and evictions for Enterprise-backed single-family mortgages at least 60 days;
  2. Forbearance for Enterprise-backed single-family borrowers facing hardship due to coronavirus;
  3. Flexibilities for appraisal and employment verifications for single family homes; and
  4. Additional dollar roll transactions for the Enterprises.

FHFA and the Enterprises will continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus national emergency on the housing finance market and update our policies as necessary.


 

Other Federal Resources

Federal Response Summary

US Food and Drug Administration

Infectious Disease Society of America

OSHA Guidance



Statewide Resources

2-1-1: A Great Tool to Support Your Residents

The South Carolina United Way 2-1-1 Online Search tool is a great resource you can send your renters to when they are in need of help; whether it be financial, or otherwise, there is a social agency that is probably able to help them. Click here to visit their website
.

State of South Carolina Restrictions

Governor Henry McMaster recently declared a State of Emergency in S.C. and subsequently has released several Executive Orders (synopsis below).

State of Emergency

  • All state government offices shall remain open for operation during their normal business hour
  • Visitation at state and local correctional facilities in all 46 counties shall be suspended immediately
  • DHEC shall immediately restrict visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities with the exception of end of life situations
  • State price gouging laws shall go into effect immediately
  • All schools closed through April 30 (updated on March 23). [copy of order]
  • The State Emergency Management Plan shall be activated

Executive Order 2020-11

  • Regarding public universities, colleges, and technical colleges: each institution’s president will, at their discretion, determine essential employees and allow non-essential employees to work from home, and in all cases, to allow students to continue coursework online for the semester
  • Waived Department of Employment and Workforce regulations to allow unemployment claims to be expedited by at least one week
  • Unemployment insurance payments are suspended for employers until June 1st, allowing business owners to have additional capital on hand
  • Procurement regulations are temporarily suspended to allow state agencies to rapidly acquire resources to combat the COVID-19 virus

Executive Order 2020-12

  • Directed the Department of Revenue to waive additional regulations in order to allow restaurants to include sealed containers of beer and wine for curbside pickup or “to-go” orders only. This waiver does not authorize or apply to open containers or delivery services.
  • Directed the Department of Revenue to conform the state’s income tax deadline to July 15th, which is the new federal income tax deadline.  Other state taxes will remain delayed until June 1st, as previously ordered.

Executive Order 2020-13

  • Provides law enforcement officers statewide the ability to disperse groups of people (3 or more) who pose a risk to the public's safety and to the safety of others. The order does not apply to business and families gatherings in their homes.

Evictions and Foreclosures and Other Legal Matters

Supreme Court Chief Justice have issued the following court orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in South Carolina.

  • All evictions currently ordered and scheduled statewide shall be rescheduled for a date not earlier than May 1, 2020.  Furthermore, the court shall not accept applications for ejectment, schedule hearings, issue writs or warrants of ejectment, or proceed in any other manner regarding evictions until directed by subsequent order by the Chief Justice. However, case-by-case exceptions for evictions may be made for matters that involve essential services and/or harm to person or property. Click here to view the order.
  • Declared a moratorium in Master-in-Equity courts statewide on foreclosure hearings, foreclosure sales, writs of assistance and writs of ejectments, nor should Masters-in-Equity proceed in any other manner regarding foreclosures until directed by subsequent order by the Chief Justice.
  • All jury trials are postponed.  Non-jury trials and other hearings may continue at the trial judge’s discretion, but only attorneys, their clients, and necessary witnesses will be allowed to appear. Click here to view the order.

South Carolina Emergency Management Division

SC Department of Employment and Workforce

Recap of Evictions Webinar

The South Carolina Apartment Association along with its five affiliates hosted an evictions webinar on Wednesday, March 25. The webinar features attorneys Will Brownlee, Thomas Howard and Chris Loebsack. The webinar was recorded and the link is below. The documents reference can be find under the appropriate section throughout this page.

Webinar Link



National Resources

Small Business Administration Loan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Governor Henry McMaster’s request for the agency to offer South Carolina’s small businesses with disaster assistance.

The disaster declaration means that South Carolina’s small businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 virus may qualify for low-interest federal disaster loans. All 46 counties are included in the disaster declaration. [copy of press release]

South Carolina’s businesses and non-profits can apply online at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Who’s Eligible

SBA is providing low-interest working capital loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and nonprofits current debts.

As of March 23, businesses in every state plus American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands can apply.

You can use the loan to cover accounts payable, debts, payroll and other bills the coronavirus has affected your ability to pay.


How to Apply

  • Apply online and select “Economic Injury” as the reason you’re seeking assistance.You’ll need to supply required supporting documentation that could include the business’s most recent tax returns, a personal financial statement and a schedule of liabilities that lists all your current debts.

Call the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 for help with your application.


 

Local Ordinances

City of Columbia

Curfew: Columbia has imposed a citywide curfew in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the Midlands. The citywide curfew is from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. It includes exceptions for people going to work or experiencing a medical emergency.

Parks and Recreational Facilities: All city parks and recreational fees are closed for up to 61 days.

Business License Fees: All business license fees for businesses located or doing business within the corporate limits of the City of Columbia shall be waived without penalty through May 15, 2020.

Business Occupancy Levels: All businesses, with the exception of grocery
stores and pharmacies, restrict occupancy of patrons to no more than half of their designated legal capacity as set by the Fire Marshall and to restrict patrons to no more than six (6) people per table with a distance of at least six (6) feet between tables. It is further recommended that patrons be encouraged to use take out, drive
through and delivery options.

City Operations: The City of Columbia temporarily suspends the normal operating procedures of the City of Columbia Boards and Commission meetings and allows for the members to remotely participate in voting and operational procedures by telephone or other means of electronic communication

Parking Near Restaurants: All meters near any open restaurant have been bagged and parking is free.

Richland County

Trash Collection: Curbside trash collection in areas of Richland County will be modified during the COVID-19 outbreak to focus on household garbage and recycling. Yard waste and bulk item pickup will be suspended until further notice.

Until further notice the following services are suspended:

  • Drop-off centers at 10531 Garners Ferry Road, Eastover; 1070 Caughman Road N., Columbia; and 900 Clemson Road, Columbia are closed.
  • Construction & Demolition Debris Landfill at 1070 Caughman Road N., Columbia is closedLex
  • Bulk item collections (furniture, carpet, mattresses, appliances, etc.) are suspended beginning Saturday.
  • No bulk item appointment requests will be accepted.
  • Curbside yard waste collection will be suspended beginning Saturday.

Residents are urged to avoid putting bulk items and yard waste on the curb, as they will not be picked up while services are suspended.

Riverbanks Zoo: The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia will be closed through April 30.

Richland Library: All branches are closed. Online resources can still be accessed online.

Lexington County Public Library: All branches are closed through April 3.



 
 

Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/news/coronavirus/article241490516.html#storylink=cpy

 

Legal Services

The following law offices are members of our association if you need legal services

Loebsack and Brownlee PLLC
1850 E.3rd Street, Suite 245
Charlotte, NC  28204

Charleston Office: (843) 647-7354 
Greenville Office: (864) 977-1308 

Brownlee Whitlow and Praet PLLC

2420 Mall Drive Suite 110
North Charleston, SC 29406
Charleston Office: (843) 628-7120

 



Personal Finances

Insurance

Insurance companies are doing what they can to help also! Many insurance companies are pausing cancellations due to non-payment of policies until April 30, 2020.If you are paying on any type of loan, contact your lender directly and see if they can offer a deferment of your payments. Federal Student Loans, large mortgage companies, and many other financial institutions are working to help their clients through this difficult time.

Banks and Other Financial Institutions

Ally Bank
Bank of America
Capital One
Chase
Citibank
Discover
Fifth Third Bank
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
PNC Bank
Truist
U.S. Bank
Wells Fargo

Also, search your bank here: https://www.aba.com/about-us/press-room/industry-response-coronavirus

Source: Forbes.com



Utilities

Dominion Energy

  • Dominion Energy has suspended all service disconnects
  • If your service was previously shut off for nonpayment, please  contact them and they will work with you to restore your service.



Employment Opportunities

The following local businesses are hiring:



Community Resources

Those able are encouraged to continue supporting the community service providers who are providing direct services for vulnerable populations. United Way of the Midlands and Central Carolina Community foundation have set up funds for COVID10 Response funds focused on assisting those in this community affected by income or job loss to assist with basic needs including food, emergency sheltering and longer term needs for rent, utilities and other needs.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross needs blood drives to run as planned and healthy individuals are urged to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood products amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Blood Drives are an essential service and The American Red Cross has implemented additional screening and safety precautions.

Amercan Red Cross of Central South Carolina

Central SC Chapter
2751 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Office: (803) 540-1200

Aiken Area Office
Phone:(803) 641-4152

Orangeburg Office
2570 St. Matthews Road
Orangeburg, SC 29115
Phone:(803) 534-5735

Sumter Office
200 Miller Road
Sumter, SC 29150
Phone: (803) 775-2363

Click here to find a local drive.

Harvest Hope Food Bank

Ways You Can Help:

  • Make a monetary donation - every little bit makes a difference.
  • Make a purchase on our Amazon Wishlist - all items are sent directly to our branches without you having to go out and shop.
  • Host a virtual food drive - Gather your colleagues, team members, organization or church members and host a virtual food drive. You don’t have to leave your house to shop and you can still help our neighbors in need. Email fooddrives@harvesthope.org to start today.
  • Sign up to be a Crisis Volunteer at our Midlands branch here.

School District Breakfast and Lunch Programs

Click here to view the current local school district breakfast and lunch distribution programs.

The Cooperative Ministry

The Cooperative Ministry provides short-term crisis assistance through the services, below. Clicking on the button will take you to a page with more information about each of these services.

Mission Lexington (formerly Lexington Interfaith Community Services)

Unprecedented moments of crisis can affect anyone, at any time. None of us are exempt. And the compassion that comes from a neighbor’s helping hand is often the road that leads to recovery. Facing a crisis? Call or stop by their office at: (803) 957-6656, They are located 216 Harmon Street, Lexington, SC 29072.

Services provided:

Basic Human Needs
Food (Crisis and Supplemental)
Clothing
Financial Assistance (Rent, Mortgage, Utilities)
Prescription Medication Vouchers
Baby Essentials
School Supplies
Fire Recovery

Click here to volunteer.

The People's Pantry

Phone: (803) 260-7114
E-mail: Peoplespantry803@gmail.com

The Salvation Army

Social Services & Food Pantry

The Salvation Army of the Midlands staff is assisting individuals and families with rent, utilities and housing whose income has decreased or ended as a direct result of COVID-19. There Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday at 10 am at their office which is  located at 3024 Farrow Road for people needing food assistance, clothing vouchers or furniture vouchers.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Volunteers are still needed but operating on a limited capacity. For more information, please call Lisa Huffman (803) 309-0436 or lisa.huffman@uss.salvationarmy.org.

Donate NOW

Senior Resources

Lexington County: Senior citizens in Lexington County could be eligible to receive free meals at home each week during the coronavirus pandemic through the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission’s Meals On Wheels. The program offers free and reduced-price meal delivery for county residents 60 and older, and those who are home-bound or unable to prepare food. During the coronavirus pandemic, LCRAC is making its eligibility requirements “more flexible” in order to help more seniors in need,

Those who qualify receive five meals delivered once a week, for no charge. Don’t know if you qualify? Call 803-356-5111 and ask for a community resource specialist who can conduct an intake interview over the phone.

Richland County: Senior Resources is offering five free meals per week to all seniors living in Richland County. The Emergency Senior Nutrition Meal Distribution plan will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

In order to be eligible, people must be at least 60 years old and be a Richland County resident. They must also have a state-issued ID and provide their name, address and phone number at pickup. People taking meals to seniors can also make the pickup. Each meal pack will contain five meals for the week. Individuals will be limited to one pack per week.

The packs will be distributed at 12 locations using a drive-thru system. Meals can be picked up from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., with a limit of two packs per car.

On Mondays, meals will be distributed at:

  • Richland Library Edgewood, 2101 Oak St, Columbia, SC 29204
  • Richland Library St Andrews, 2916 Broad River Rd, Columbia, SC 29210
  • Richland Library Southeast, 7421 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia, SC 29209
  • Hopkins Park, 150 Hopkins Park Road, Hopkins, SC 29061

On Wednesdays, meals will be distributed at:

  • Richland Library Blythewood, 218 McNulty St, Blythewood, SC 29016
  • Lutheran Seminary/Lenoir-Rhyne Univ., 1100 Wildewood Ave, Columbia, SC 29203
  • Richland Library Northeast, 7490 Parklane Rd Columbia, SC 29223
  • Richland Library Eastover, 608 Main St, Eastover, SC 29044

On Fridays, meals will be distributed at:

  • Richland Library Ballentine, 1200 Dutch Fork Rd, Irmo, SC 29063
  • Richland Library Sandhills, 763 Fashion Dr, Columbia, SC 29229
  • Richland Library Cooper, 5317 North Trenholm Rd, Columbia, SC 29206
  • Gasden Community Center, 1668 S Goodwin Cir, Gadsden, SC 29052

United Way of the Midlands

One South Carolina Fund

ead more here: https://www.thestate.com/news/coronavirus/article241490516.html#storylink=cpy




ad more here: https://www.thestate.com/news/coronavirus/article241496741.html#storylink=cpy