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GBREB NEWS

HELP FOR PROPERTY OWNERS AND TENANTS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Did you know that you may be eligible for state assistance with paying your rent or mortgage? If you have lost your job or income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Housing and Community Development has programs for low-income renters and homeowners that will help you with past due rent or mortgage payments, as well as future housing costs. 

Visit mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp  to get connected with regional agencies that can help you apply for funds and stay in your home.
 
Summary of the Eviction Diversion Initiative:
The Eviction and Diversion Initiative (EDI) is designed keep people safely housed during the pandemic as we approach the end of the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium. EDI contains $171 million in resources that include a $100 million commitment for RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), with an increased benefit cap of $10,000, and $13 million for legal assistance for low-income tenants and owners as they navigate the eviction process. The initiative also includes a commitment to streamline the RAFT application process, provide additional support for the regional housing administering agencies, and allow small owners to apply directly for RAFT benefits.  
Eviction Diversion Information

Become a REFA Member!

 

15 for 12 Membership Promotion:

Join REFA today for 2021 and receive the rest of this year for free!

 

 

Here are just a few of the benefits associated with a REFA membership:

 

Advocacy: Through the Greater Boston Real Estate Board’s Advocacy Group, REFA represents members’ interests on the city, state, and national level. Click here to view our Government Affairs page.

 

Committee Involvement: Take advantage of your membership by joining one of REFA's many committees. Our committees continue to meet via video meetings.

 

DEI InitiativeREFA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and working towards creating a more diverse commercial real estate community. For more information, please visit our DEI resource page.

 

EducationREFA holds over 30 programs a year, featuring keynote presentations and panel discussions featuring some of the industry’s most prominent leaders. All of our educational events are now being held as webinars. To learn more, click here to view our events calendar. If you have any interest or questions in upcoming events, feel free to contact me directly!

 

Industry Job Board: The REFA Job Board is an online tool to attract top talent by posting opportunities.

 

Networking Opportunities: While in-person events are on hold for the time being, you can look forward to quality networking opportunities through committees, educational programs, the charitable golf tournament, networking receptions, and the annual REFA Gala.

 

Online Membership Directory: Find other REFA members and their contact information with our online membership directory.

 

Social Media: We are also active on Social Media – Now that you’re a member, join our LinkedIn Group and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Become a REFA Member!

 

Questions about membership? Email Alex Levine at alevine@gbreb.com.


15 for 12 REFA Membership Promotion
GBREB NEWS

AG HEALEY, GBREB WARN PROSPECTIVE TENANTS AND REALTORS ABOUT APARTMENT LEASING SCAM

As more people rely on photos instead of in-person showings when renting apartments during the COVID-19 pandemic, AG Healey and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) have partnered to issue an advisory warning the public about an apartment leasing scam and offering guidance on how to avoid falling victim to it.

Both the AG’s Office and GBREB have received complaints from prospective tenants, property management companies, and real estate agents about a scam involving fake apartment listings being posted online. The scammers use photos from real listings of homes for rent or sale, and at times even use the contact information of an actual listing agent or management company, and then post them on Craigslist or other online platforms. The scammers solicit deposits through these ads to be sent to them directly from tenants, who end up not actually securing an apartment to lease because of the fraudulent nature of the ads.

“This scam is the rental market equivalent of catfishing, and while it’s not new, we want the public to be aware of the increased risks during the pandemic,” said AG Healey. “Access to safe and reliable housing is essential to the vitality of our communities and we’ll continue to partner with stakeholders to ensure our residents are not losing money or left without a place to live.”

“Heartless scams like these cannot be tolerated. They are career damaging to hard working real estate professionals, and unscrupulous to consumers,” said Greg Vasil, CEO of GBREB. “The mission of the Real Estate Board is to expose them and protect both its membership and consumers from threats like these. If you have any doubt about a real estate listing, do not send any money before you are sure you’re working with a Licensed Realtor. Please report false ads to the proper authorities.”

To avoid falling victim to this scam, AG Healey and GBREB offer the following advice:

• Thorough inspection: Whenever possible, inspect an apartment carefully before signing a lease or paying a deposit.

• Use a broker: If you must rent an apartment unseen, don’t trust online advertisements—online apartment listings are just too easy to fake. Instead, use a licensed real estate broker or salesperson. You can verify a broker’s license online here.

• Watch for red flags: Keep an eye out for red flags such as poorly written ads, deals that are too good to be true, and requests for payment using untraceable methods.

• Only make secure payments: Never send a wire transfer, cashier’s check, or funds transfer to someone you’ve only met online. If they turn out to be a scammer, you won’t be able to get your money back.

• Protect your personal information: Don’t disclose your SSN or PayPal information to someone you’ve only met online. Meet your landlord in person before agreeing to a background check or ask the landlord to have the background check performed by a licensed real estate broker or salesperson.

• File a complaint: If you are the victim of an online apartment listing scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center at IC3.gov.

• Report fraudulent ads: If you’re the owner of a property, realtor or property manager and find that someone else has altered your listing or listed your property for rent, report the fraudulent ad to the website’s point of contact for abuse immediately.

AG Healey’s Office is committed to helping Massachusetts residents access safe and reliable housing, especially throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. AG Healey’s Community Engagement Division has held virtual trainings on tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to do so. Those interested in participating in a training can find the schedule here.

Visit AG Healey’s COVID-19 resource page for information about how the AG’s Office can provide support during this crisis.

 
RENTAL SCAM ADVISORY

REFA Members,

2020 has been an unexpected year, and REFA thanks you for your continued support of our organization. 
Click on the photo below to view a special video message from the 2020 REFA Board.
REFA Board Video

New England Real Estate Journal - May Recap
GBREB NEWS

MEMBER RESOURCES

Information is rapidly changing.  GBREB will update this post as new information becomes available. There's a lot of information about government's response to COVID-19, however we have narrowed the focus of this page to issues impacting the real estate industry to serve as a resource for our members. 

Additional information, including legal advisories are available to members here .

MASSACHUSETTS EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND ADVISORIES
Reopening in Massachusetts 5/18/19
Phase 1 Re-Opening Safety Standards For Workplaces , EOHED, 5/12/20
Re-opening: Four Phase Approach, EOHED, 5/12/20
Advisory on Residential Evictions , Massachusetts Attorney General, 5/8/20
Short-term residential rentals, Department of Public Health, 3/31/20
Mortgage Loan Borrowing , Division of Banks, 3/25/20
Constuction Letter With Guidance  3/25/20
COVID-19 ESSENTIAL SERVICES  Order of  the Governor Assuring Continued Operation Of Essential Services  
Essential Services FAQ
SMOKE ORDER Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Inspections for One and Two-Family Dwellings and Three to Five-family Apartment Buildings
Standing Order Housing Court
DHCD Resources For Renters and Homeowners

BOSTON EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND ADVISORIES
Rental Relief Fund
Guidelines For Open House and Apartment Showing Policy
Construction Update 5.6.20
Construction Notice 3/25/20
Construction Permitting 3/16/20

DIVISION AND AFFILIATE RESOURCE PAGES

Building Owners and Managers, BOMA Boston, BOMA International
Multifamily Apartments, Massachusetts Apartment Association, National Apartment Association   
REALTORS, Greater Boston Association of REALTORS, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS, National Association of REALTORS
Commercial Brokers Association
Real Estate Finance Association






COVID-19

New England Real Estate Journal - April Recap

New England Real Estate Journal - March Recap

REFA Webinar Recap

COVID-19: How it’s Impacting the CRE Industry
Challenges – Implications – Best Practices

 

Presented by: Robert Allaire, CFO/Principal, Allaire Risk, LLC;

Paul AyoubPartner, Nutter; Jon DavisCEO & Founder, The Davis Companies;

Wendy FiscusPartner, Nutter; Robert Palter, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company,

Claudia Piper, Webster Bank, 2020 REFA President, Navjot SinghSenior Partner, McKinsey & Company, 
John WolffSVP/Real Estate Market Executive, Commercial Real Estate Banking, Bank of America

 

Top Takeaways from our Speakers:

 

Confusion about construction projects with City and State Regulations in conflict. 130 City of Boston construction projects stopped with $7 billion in value. 

 

Construction is struggling with supply chain issues. Chinese factories have largely been open for the last week or two. Some Canadian factories are now getting back up and running if they have contractual obligations that pre-date the crisis that they need to fulfill. 

 

Capital Availability coming into the crisis was very strong in the US banking system and has been available through the banks as businesses and consumers tap credit lines without issue.  That said, capital will become more precious as this downturn persists in length and bank earnings decline from recessionary factors.  

 

Debt funds will be severely impacted in the current environment due to higher exposure to impacted asset classes including hotels and retail and potential mark to market/covenant issues from funding sources; and loss of ongoing funding sources from banks and the CLO market.

 

CMBS has been impacted with new loan originations and issuance essentially shut down; will be on the sidelines until market certainty improves and bond buying resumes

 

Pricing of CRE Capital has widened considerably for both public and private debt and loan markets.  Price discovery in process although there are fewer transactions so spread and floor requirements vary considerably. New loan originations in general will likely require significant spread increase of 100bps +/- with floors of 75bps+/-.

 

Regulatory Assistance: Interagency guidance from federal regulators this week encourages financial institutions to defer payments on loans impacted by COVID0-19 for up to 180 days.  This guidance allows banks to work with borrowers who will have troubles meeting their requirements due to COVID-19, especially on hotel and retail loans, without these loans being accounted for as Troubled Debt Restructures (or impaired).  Loans must be current prior to the crisis to be eligible for this type of modification and payment relief

 

Pandemics typically do not fall into Business Interruption Insurance.  Landlords may also try to make claims under other sections of their insurance policies. 

 

Force Majeure: There is only a small amount of case law on the subject of Force Majeure over the past 100 years and cases do not relate to pandemics.  For any claim, the language must be closely reviewed to determine applicability.  A governmental shutdown of construction sites would likely qualify as an unanticipated event beyond the reasonable control of a party.  Even if a contract does not have express Force Majeure language, the common law doctrines of frustration of purpose and impracticability may apply.  Keep in mind that even if Force Majeure does apply, that may only permit a delay in performance and not an excuse to performance. 

 

Use of technology is at an all-time high, this event will drive further adoption.  Challenges come with technology including privacy issues, less social interactions. Relationships will still prevail. 

 

Anticipating a Q4 Recovery for CRE. 

REFA COVID-19 Webinar Recap

COVID-19 Update from REFA


We are thinking of all of those impacted by COVID-19. As we navigate through these challenging times, we would like to help be a resource for our members and the community.


We ask that you follow guidelines that are recommended by the local and federal government. Resources can be found here: MassGovCDCWHO.



What Can We Do?

To assist those less fortunate, we hope you will consider supporting our Charitable Partners, Rosie's Place, HomeStart, and FamilyAid or your local food bank.



Helpful Tips to Stay Healthy:

- Wash your hands

- Keep your hands away from your face

- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze

- Practice Social Distancing

- Work from home



Doing Our Part

As a reminder, REFA in-person meeting and events will be postponed until further notice.


The REFA Team and GBREB Staff have the option to work from home until approximately March 27th and we will update members with any information as needed. The best way to contact us is via email, but we will be checking our voicemails with limited access.


Our top priority is our members staying safe. REFA will do our part in keeping you informed with any updates we receive via email communications and twitter.


*If you have registered for an upcoming event prior to April 17th, you should have heard from the REFA staff about next steps. We will continue to update members with information about future events.


Stay safe and healthy!




Copy of REFA COVID-19 PREPAREDNESS AND RESOURCES

COVID-19 Update from REFA


We are thinking of all of those impacted by COVID-19. As we navigate through these challenging times, we would like to help be a resource for our members and the community.


We ask that you follow guidelines that are recommended by the local and federal government. Resources can be found here: MassGovCDCWHO.



What Can We Do?

To assist those less fortunate, we hope you will consider supporting our Charitable Partners, Rosie's Place, HomeStart, and FamilyAid or your local food bank.



Helpful Tips to Stay Healthy:

- Wash your hands

- Keep your hands away from your face

- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze

- Practice Social Distancing

- Work from home



Doing Our Part

As a reminder, REFA in-person meeting and events will be postponed until further notice.


The REFA Team and GBREB Staff have the option to work from home until approximately March 27th and we will update members with any information as needed. The best way to contact us is via email, but we will be checking our voicemails with limited access.


Our top priority is our members staying safe. REFA will do our part in keeping you informed with any updates we receive via email communications and twitter.


*If you have registered for an upcoming event prior to April 17th, you should have heard from the REFA staff about next steps. We will continue to update members with information about future events.


Stay safe and healthy!




Copy of Copy of REFA COVID-19 PREPAREDNESS AND RESOURCES

COVID-19 Update from REFA


We are thinking of all of those impacted by COVID-19. As we navigate through these challenging times, we would like to help be a resource for our members and the community.


We ask that you follow guidelines that are recommended by the local and federal government. Resources can be found here: MassGovCDCWHO.



What Can We Do?

To assist those less fortunate, we hope you will consider supporting our Charitable Partners, Rosie's Place, HomeStart, and FamilyAid or your local food bank.



Helpful Tips to Stay Healthy:

- Wash your hands

- Keep your hands away from your face

- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze

- Practice Social Distancing

- Work from home



Doing Our Part

As a reminder, REFA in-person meeting and events will be postponed until further notice.


The REFA Team and GBREB Staff have the option to work from home until approximately March 27th and we will update members with any information as needed. The best way to contact us is via email, but we will be checking our voicemails with limited access.


Our top priority is our members staying safe. REFA will do our part in keeping you informed with any updates we receive via email communications and twitter.


*If you have registered for an upcoming event prior to April 17th, you should have heard from the REFA staff about next steps. We will continue to update members with information about future events.


Stay safe and healthy!




REFA COVID-19 PREPAREDNESS AND RESOURCES

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