Posts filed under ‘Operations’

NAA Whitepaper on Criminal Conviction Screening Policies

The National Apartment Association has just released a white paper titled Criminal Conviction Screening Policies: Best Practices to Avoid Disparate Impact Liability and it is a valuable resource for management companies evaluating their screening processes in the wake of HUD’s guidance last month. The white paper is divided into two parts: Part I deals with how to design criminal conviction policies so they are not susceptible to disparate impact claims of discrimination, and Part II explains how the concept of disparate impact liability emerged under the FHA and why HUD’s guidance has made screening policies a subject of increased interest for housing providers and advocacy groups.

This is truly a good resource, but as they write in the conclusion, the thinking on this issue is sure to evolve over time:

The analysis is admittedly an early assessment of the intersection between criminal screening policies and the HUD disparate impact rule approach. The way both HUD and the courts treat these types of disparate impact claims may (and, indeed, is likely to) evolve over the coming years as courts provide precedent for interpretation of the HUD Guidance and as HUD or Congress enacts further clarifying guidance, regulations, rules or statutes.

In the meantime, here’s a handy table of Do’s and Don’ts they provided in their introduction:

DosDontsGraphic

Here’s a link to the full PDF version of the paper.

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May 4, 2016 at 8:27 pm 1 comment

How Do Residents Feel About Airbnb?

You’ve likely heard a lot about how apartment managers feel about Airbnb, but how do residents actually feel? One company asked its residents and the results were interesting. From NAA’s Industry Insider:

An ongoing topic among apartment industry professionals ever since, Cortland Partners decided to ask its residents about how they feel about allowing short term rentals at their communities. In January, Vice President, Resident Experience, Brian Ericson, sent a six-question online survey to more than 14,000 Cortland Partners residents and received 1,153 responses…

The company, which operates nearly 35,000 units in 95 communities, primarily in the Southeast, Texas, and Ohio, learned that 43 percent of residents surveyed are “strongly” opposed to allowing Airbnb rentals, compared to only 12 percent who “strongly” support Airbnb rentals.

In total, 52 percent are opposed to Airbnb rentals, compared to only 18 percent who are in favor; 30 percent of respondents were measured as neutral. The survey also showed that by allowing its residents to become Airbnb “hosts” it could negatively affect retention rates.

The full article is definitely worth a read.

April 28, 2016 at 2:35 pm 2 comments

Four Tips for Boosting Resident Retention

This piece in NAA’s Industry Insider offers four basic tips to help boost resident retention. This one in particular stood out:

Offer online payment and maintenance services: More than 90 percent of the survey’s participants saw online rent payment and maintenance requests as important online features of a resident portal. And nearly 80 percent said they’d prefer to pay rent online.

None of the tips are rocket science, but is your community doing them and, if not, should it?

April 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm 1 comment

That Baseball Stat Geek Could Help You Set Rent Rates

From the NAA Industry Insider:

After losing several of his best players, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane in 2002 took a gamble when he enlisted replacements that were relatively unknown but statistically had a strong chance of hitting it out of the ballpark, so to speak. Beane’s hunch about his new players proved true when the A’s managed to stay competitive and financially healthy with this new lineup.

Predictive analysis works in a similar fashion. It analyzes trends and data related to the behavior of apartment shoppers to recommend pricing on apartment properties. A number of factors such as rent and occupancy rates go into this formula. “It’s probably the frontier for revenue management going forward,” according to Rich Hughes, head of data science with RealPage Inc., which conducts this type of analysis. 

This method of analyzing tenant behavior to determine pricing may be especially useful in assessing certain risks associated with short-term leases. 

April 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm Leave a comment

Great Way to Engage Your Residents This Holiday Season

As many of you know the Piedmont Triad Apartment Association does a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina every year. Typically we concentrate our drive on the summer months, but what many of our members don’t realize is that the drive actually runs year-round.

We’re bringing this up because we’ve been contacted by a couple of member properties that are running holiday food collection drives in an effort to engage their residents while helping feed the hungry in the local community. They contacted us to get some advice on setting it up – of course we’re happy to help! – and it occurred to us that other properties might like to do the same thing. So, if you would like to do a food drive for the holidays then please feel free to give us a call and we’ll help coordinate it with Second Harvest. What a great way to serve the community while also engaging your residents!

OwnersCup and DAWe also want to remind you that we have a competition to see which management company can raise the most food during the year. We count all the food each management company and their communities raise from January 1 through December 31 and award the company that raises the most with the Owner’s Cup at our annual Diamond Awards banquet the following March. This is important to know because any food you raise during a holiday food drive, or any other food drive you do for that matter, will count towards your total for the year so please let us know how much you collect!

November 11, 2015 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

Package-gate

A front page story in the 10/21/15 issue of the Wall Street Journal highlights the increasing challenge that property managers face in handling package deliveries for their residents:

The biggest landlords in the U.S. are being crushed under a mountain of packages, leading one large apartment operator to stop accepting deliveries and others to experiment with ways to minimize the clutter.

The moves are at the center of two colliding trends: an increase in apartment living and a surge in online shopping. The result is a rising tide of packages with no good place to go…

Camden Property Trust, the 14th-largest U.S. apartment operator by number of units, stopped accepting parcels at all of its 169 properties nationwide this year. Executives said the Houston-based landlord, which has roughly 59,000 units in 10 states and the District of Columbia, had received almost a million packages in 2014, and the rate was increasing by 50% a year.

Each package results in about 10 minutes of lost productivity, Camden executives estimated. At a rate of $20 an hour for employee wages, that amounts to about $3.3 million a year, they said.

“Ultimately, this was going to eat our lunch,” said Keith Oden,president of Camden. He refers to the situation as “package-gate.”

Camden’s approach to the issue of package handling is probably the most extreme, but others are sure to follow if they don’t experience too much of a backlash.

We’d love to hear from our members about this issue. Are you dealing with an increasing number of package deliveries and, if so, how is it impacting your operation? How do you handle package deliveries on your properties?

October 21, 2015 at 3:01 pm 1 comment

Op-Ed Highlights Importance of Renters Insurance

An op-ed in the Winston-Salem Journal in response to an apartment fire in the city highlights the importance of renters insurance:

Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire. Residents are trying to go on with their lives, but that’s not easy. Property manager Lou Baldwin told the Journal that his company would return residents’ security deposits and June rent, so they could move into other apartments. That’s a start, at least, for residents like Samuel, who lost everything in the fire.

“It’s my first apartment,” he told the Journal. “Everything my son owned, I owned, my girlfriend owned – everything we owned is in the home and we have nothing at all. We’re starting from scratch, and it hurts a lot,” he said.

A sad reminder of the importance of taking out renter’s insurance.

June 19, 2015 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

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