Updated April 04, 2020
What an incredibly difficult time we are all facing as a nation, a community and a family.
B.HOM Student Living remains focused on you, our residents, and our entire team of dedicated employees. We feel deeply for our residents and their families who may be experiencing financial and medical hardships as a result of the Coronavirus. This is truly an unprecedented event in our lifetimes and one that we hope we can all learn from to be stronger in the future.
If, and when, we become aware that any of our residents are confirmed to impacted by the virus, we will attempt to make them once again aware of the resources and assistance available and will recommend that they contact the CDC and/or the local health department. Please do understand that we also must maintain confidentiality as we would for each of you and as such if there is a confirmed case in your community, we will make you aware of that.
As you know, all common area and community amenities we will continue to remain closed at this time. This includes fitness centers, business centers, study rooms, pools and recreational rooms. If your community has common laundry facilities, they will remain open—but please exercise social distancing and wipe down all surfaces and wash your hands! We will communicate anticipated dates of reopening and access of common areas once it is determined.
B.HOM Student Living is continuing to operate under virtual work procedures across the country. This includes closing our leasing offices to the public and operating under the guidelines of a new COVID-19 Isolated Work Response Plan. While, for now, a limited team is allowed to be present onsite, we will let you know if that changes. We remain available and We Are Just a Click or Phone Call Away! So, while our doors may be closed, we’re open for business. We are happy to assist you via phone, email and your resident portal. We continue to deliver essential services to our residents but do ask that work orders be limited to emergency/urgent needs at this time. We also have our maintenance teams cleaning all open common areas and following CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting those areas.
Emergency / essential work orders would be:
- Any Life/Safety repairs
- No Heat or Air Conditioning
- Broken window, door, latches or locks
- Frozen pipes
- Water leak
- No electricity
- Gas smell
- Refrigerator inoperable
- Toilet inoperable
- No hot water
- Garbage disposal not working creating sink backup
- Animal in apartment
- Carbon monoxide or fire/smoke detectors
- Mold and mildew
- Missing railings and/or gates, loose balcony, stairway handrail, etc.
Most university communities we are a part of have moved to on-line classes for students to complete the Spring semester. We remain committed to ensuring that our residents can continue to remain in their homes to complete their academic studies.
In response to the current situation, the Federal government recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that will bring support and supplemental supplement income to most Americans and their families. The CARES Act (a) provides stimulus payments directly to working students who filed their own tax returns, or to their parents if the student is still a claimed as a dependent; (b) expands unemployment benefits for students and/or their parents who lost their part-time or full-time jobs as a result of the crisis; and (c) mandates forbearance on student loan payments and interest. These programs and others directly benefit all residential renters including those in student housing, traditional apartments and single-family rentals. We will continue to advocate to our representatives, local, state and federal on behalf our residents to make sure they are supported during these tumultuous times. We have also instructed our teams to work with all residents and parents directly affected by financial or COVID related hardships; please reach as our team will work with everyone so impacted on a case by case basis.
As a private manager of apartment homes for students around the country, we are an essential service that continues to operate to serve our residents. Our company is privately owned and we strive at this time to keep our/your management team employed. We are not owned or affiliated directly with universities; we lease directly to students as tenants under residential lease agreements which are governed by local and state laws. While many universities we serve with our off-campus housing continue to operate their on-campus housing, some universities made the decision to close and vacate on-campus residence halls. On-campus dorm style living arrangements are more compact in size and make social distancing difficult to abide by; many have community restrooms and shower facilities. Also, most have shared common social spaces outside of the dorm units themselves which, by their very nature, invite larger groups to gather outside of their dorm rooms. In addition, as many of you have experienced in the past, most of these on campus leases end soon (early May). Living in an on-campus dorm is much different than the off-campus apartment, which you are accustomed to at one of B.HOM Student Living’s communities, and therefore justifies their early closure. Our communities are very much the same as traditional apartment home living. From an economic standpoint, most universities are funded with state and federal grants and covered under state supported budgets. Universities also have the benefit of lower operating expenses including certain exemptions of taxes such as real estate and income taxes that we must bear.
Living at off-campus apartment communities are much better suited for implementing social distancing as they consist of contemporary apartment accommodations with living rooms in each individual unit, private or maximum of two-person bathrooms in each individual apartment and full kitchens in each individual apartment, just like traditional multifamily apartments. And as like traditional apartment homes, our off-campus properties are typically leased on a 12-month time frame with most of our current leasesextending into the summer months.
Just like apartment leases across the US, lease obligations are not intertwined with university obligations, in fact, we are obligated to house our residents well beyond the end of the Spring semester and we continue to honor those obligations. Our residents always have the freedom to come and go as they please as many of you do during winter and spring breaks and many of you, for most of the summer. But, during all those periods the residents still lease and pay rent for their college apartments. In the case of this evolving current situation, we remain committed and are contractually obligated to provide housing for our residents, and student residents continue to have the option as to when they choose to physically occupy their apartments between now and the end of the current contractual lease term. We have heard from many students that they desire to stay at their college apartments instead of going home and running the risk of potentially infecting their parents and grandparents who may be in a higher risk category.
As an essential service provider, we will continue to incur all of the expenses and overhead associated with the continued operations of our facilities, with local and municipal real estate taxes being our single largest expense, followed by utilities and then payroll related to our on-site staffs who continue to provide essential services to our residents.
It is for all of the reasons stated above, we are not offering lease terminations and refunds at private off-campus apartment communities. As noted above, we will be temporarily waiving all late fees and financial-related eviction proceedings and we will work with residents and families who endure financial hardship on a case by case basis. Although across the globe, we have been asked not to congregate in groups that does not mean we cannot stay connected. More than ever we must strengthen the communities to which we belong, so participate in our daily postings and virtual events.