Neil Shekhter: “They should freeze all payments for multifamily so nobody gets hurt”

One of LA's biggest rental landlords on what he would say to Mnuchin

If Neil Shekhter had 10 minutes with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, his demands would be simple: Pause all payments in the multifamily industry, for the entire food chain. That means landlords, banks, debt funds, and of course, tenants.

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“If you pause everything, then nobody gets hurt,” Shekhter, the founder and CEO of NMS Properties, said in a conversation with The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani. “Because everybody has payments to make — even the bank, their money’s not free. If they don’t get paid, they have problems. Everybody has somebody to answer to. And at the top of the food chain is the government.”

Shekhter talked about the challenges of running a multifamily empire with several active development sites in the midst of a global pandemic. He also spoke about concerns of a national rent strike and the unpredictability of rental income going forward. But he remained steadfast in his belief that multifamily housing would emerge as the strongest sector in real estate after all this has passed, and had advice for up-and-coming investors.

“The only safe sector today is multi,” he said. “If they buy an apartment building even at 2 cap, they’re going to be fine, because interest rates are so low. And they’re going to be low for a long time.”