How technology can serve as an amenity
BY KALI PERSALL
Institutional Real Estate Inc.
As larger garden-style and mid-rise operators search for the next “it” amenity in new construction, small-scale apartment assets of less than 50 units, which comprise the majority of apartment properties in the United States, are often limited by space or resources constraints.
For all the attention given to resident preferences, there is relatively little addressing how technology can be leveraged as a resident-facing amenity and a tool to achieve scale, among other benefits. A recent paper by Veritas Investments, an owner/operator of smaller, classically styled buildings in irreplaceable locations across the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, explains how smaller assets can compete by utilizing proptech, which places innovation at the center of the resident experience and enables operational scale.
To read the full report, click here.
Veritas Investments, one of the largest operators of multifamily, urban retail and mixed-use properties in California, is pleased to announce that Stephanie Versin has joined the privately-held firm as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Leasing. This new position within the firm reflects the ongoing growth of one of the West Coast’s premier apartment managers. Stephanie’s deep experience in real estate, hospitality and business marketing will help Veritas in unifying the sales and marketing functions and support a more seamless customer-centric experience while leveraging the firm’s tech-forward infrastructure.
“We are thrilled to have Stephanie join us at Veritas,” said Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Jerden. “With her impressive track record, Stephanie brings to the table a unique combination of skills and experience that will be critical to the organization’s growth and success.”
Stephanie’s career began in hospitality in London, shortly after completing her Master’s of Business Administration in her native France, at NEOMA Business School. Her time at French hotelier Accor eventually led her to Chicago, where she oversaw all aspects of marketing and communication for the opening of Accor’s premier flag, the Sofitel, in Chicago. Stephanie later headed up marketing for all of Accor’s Sofitel- and Novotel-branded hotels throughout North America. Her career then took her on to other impressive leadership roles at both Hyatt and later Kimpton Hotels, which had its headquarters in San Francisco prior to acquisition.
Stephanie then departed hospitality for the multifamily industry, where she held the position of Vice President at San Mateo-based Prometheus Real Estate Group. There, Stephanie oversaw the marketing and branding of a 15,000-unit portfolio, and she employed her passion for marketing and her aptitude for strategic thought to execute a successful refresh of the Prometheus brand. More recently, Stephanie’s career brought her back into hospitality, where she headed up marketing as Senior Vice President for boutique hotel operator Sightline Hospitality.
Veritas Investments, one of San Francisco’s leading managers of apartment homes, issued the following statement about the end of misguided efforts by a local tenant group to stop residents from applying for rent relief:
“We at Veritas are heartened to see the end of the campaign orchestrated by the Housing Rights Committee and its proxy tenants organization to keep those in need from applying for rent relief. We have been working diligently to collaborate individually with our residents to help those who have been adversely affected by the pandemic economically to remain safely housed. A few holdouts, misled by the Housing Rights Committee, had rebuffed our multiple attempts at outreach. The voluntary end to their debt strike will finally allow us to work with all our residents to receive the rent relief to which they are entitled under the state law.” said Jeff Jerden, COO of Veritas Investments.
“We hope this marks the end of the Housing Rights Committee’s efforts to undermine the housing stability of renters in this city in pursuit of its policy goals,” Jerden continued. “The misleading information coming out of the HRC served only to further confuse renters trying to navigate the complex rent relief process offered by the state at a time when their focus should have been to help those most in need.”
Veritas has implemented industry-leading pandemic rent relief efforts and has made every effort to help residents understand and apply for the relief available to them. Veritas’ most recent resident-first policy was a Dec. 14 announcement of a “Backstop Plan” that affords Veritas residents an unprecedented safety-net should they qualify for and apply for relief.
It is important to state that these initiatives are the product of Veritas’ continued efforts to meet the needs of its residents as a result of the pandemic. HRC and its proxy organizations have consistently tried to falsely claim credit for our programs and quite frankly, we know why — because no other property manager in the state has enacted such wide-reaching resident initiatives.
Key aspects of the Dec. 14 “Backstop Plan”:
- Veritas will forgive the uncovered portion of a resident’s back-rent who has applied to and qualifies for State relief funds but may later find that such funds become depleted, up to the maximum 18-month benefit.
- For residents who have a pending or approved application for State rental assistance, the company will continue to hold off on imposing annual rent increases.
As demonstrated repeatedly throughout this unprecedented pandemic, Veritas remains committed to finding a resolution individually with each resident to keep them safely housed.
‘This Further Assures Residents That All Who Qualify For Rent Relief Will Get It’
San Francisco-based Veritas Investments, one of the largest managers of apartment homes in San Francisco, announced today a first-of-its-kind rent relief program for its residents who apply to the State’s Emergency Rent Assistance Program (“ERAP”) program. Under the Veritas “Rent-relief Backstop” program, the firm will forgive the uncovered portion of a resident’s back-rent who has applied to and qualifies for State relief funds but may later find that such funds become depleted — resolving a concern that has been aired about the oft-confusing relief efforts rolled out in response to the pandemic.
“We like to think of it as providing our residents an early holiday gift, in taking one more concern off their plates,” said Jeff Jerden, Veritas’ COO. “Veritas has been laser focused on helping our residents stay safely housed throughout this unprecedented crisis, including having the farthest-reaching eviction moratorium in the country, and giving residents direct aid in the millions of dollars to date. Our new Rent-relief Backstop is the first to provide a safety net behind the State ERAP relief, removing all impediments for those who may qualify to apply.”
Veritas’ residents qualifying for this offer must apply for State ERAP funds at www.housingiskey.com and fully cooperate with the State program. Should an application for funds, which would have otherwise been approved, be denied based on a shortage of funding from the government at some point in the future, Veritas and its GreenTree Property Management affiliate will then contribute funding up to the 18-month maximum coverage period offered by the State program. This offer applies only where a resident has submitted a completed application to the State by January 31, 2022. The State and Governor Newsom have continued to say that 100% coverage is available up to the 18-month maximum for all who qualify and apply to the ERAP program.
GreenTree will monitor the screening process conducted by the State via its ERAP portal to determine whether a resident applies for and qualifies for ERAP funding. GreenTree’s commitment to fund rent relief coverage will apply only to residents who qualify for funding but are unable to receive it, should there be a lack of funds from the State, up to the maximum 18-month coverage period outlined in its ERAP program.
For residents who have a pending or approved application for rental assistance, the company will continue to hold off on imposing annual rent increases. In addition, GreenTree continues to waive late fees for residents who have a pending or approved application for rent relief.
Veritas/Greentree residents who have questions may call the firm’s Resident Services for support at (415) 347-8600. A letter announcing the program was sent to residents, and included access to a training video outlining specific steps, as explained by a nonprofit housing partner, Mission Economic Development Agency (“MEDA”), during recent outreach efforts.
For any San Francisco residents with questions about various protections under local, state, and federal law, there are local resources who can help including the San Francisco Rent Board (visit sfrb.org or call 415.252.4600); or the Eviction Defense Collaborative (call 415.659.9184, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or in-person at 1338 Mission Street).
Veritas has been a leader in resident-relief efforts throughout the pandemic, having announced in March 2020 that it was instituting what is believed to be the nation’s first eviction moratorium and later extended it further than any other California owners or managers; and Veritas has provided millions of dollars in direct rent-relief for its residents to date, working with those that ask for assistance as well as contacting them directly.
“We will also continue to support San Francisco residents through the wide variety of programs that Veritas currently participates in or has initiated itself, including its Open Doors Program that has provided temporary, furnished apartments at no cost to victims of domestic violence and, more recently, to Afghan refugees arriving in the Bay Area; the Home Bridge Program that helps families find relief during times of crisis, emergency or unforeseen circumstances through partnerships with Ronald McDonald House Charities and UCSF; and through our partnerships with Project Open Hand, HealthRight 360, Self-Help for the Elderly, and other programs,” added Jerden.