Category: Multifamily

Eco-Friendly Strategies for Property Managers

How to make your apartment community more appealing to green-minded potential renters and retain existing ones.

Sustainability and green building have been two of the enduring trends of recent decades. While green building emerged in the 1990s, it started taking center stage a decade later and ever since it’s been keeping the spotlight. Similarly, sustainability, once a niche feature, is now a hot topic for everyone, including renters and property managers.

Younger generations, which make the largest pool of residents, care about their carbon footprint and they are willing to pay more for apartments managed by teams focused on environmental responsibility—and multifamily owners and operators must focus on making their communities appealing to this group.

Sure, sustainable design and green building are paramount in the collective effort to provide a greener lifestyle for apartment dwellers—but what other green living features should owners and operators focus on? We’ve put together the top eco-friendly amenities that will make your community more appealing to potential renters and retain the existing ones.

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    Texas judge finds national eviction ban unconstitutional

    A federal judge in Texas ruled that the national ban on evictions is unconstitutional.

    A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the national ban on evictions that’s been in place since September is unconstitutional.

    “Although the Covid-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution,” U.S. District Judge John Barker wrote Thursday evening, siding with a group of property managers who argued that the ban exceeds the power of the federal government.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national eviction moratorium was first announced under former President Donald Trump in September 2020. It prohibited evicting renters who were financially struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    President Joe Biden has since extended the moratorium through March, and has called for it to be kept in effect through September 2021.

    The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Landlords have criticized the CDC’s moratorium, saying the government was overstepping its authority and that they can’t afford to house nonpaying tenants. There have also been court challenges to the moratorium in Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee, though they were all unsuccessful.

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      4 Ways to Balance the Needs of Pets and Residents in Multifamily Communities

      Pets have become more and more of a priority as so many people continue to spend significant time in their homes. Pets offer many wonderful benefits – companionship to residents who feel isolated, help in reducing stress during challenging times, and the enticement of physical activity through play and exercise.

      A recent national study conducted by the American Apartment Owners Association revealed that nearly 90 percent of renters are pet owners and want pet-friendly apartments with access to pet amenities.

      These trends are important for multifamily leadership teams to understand as they seek to create communities that are welcoming to pet owners. Additionally, a percentage of their residents will likely be non-pet owners, with preferences that are also important.

      Mark-Taylor currently has more than 4,000 pets living in our 60+ portfolio of communities. While sometimes challenging, the four approaches below have allowed us to provide the best customer service to all of our residents and balance the needs of pets and residents.

      1. Communicate Pet Policies Clearly

      In an Apartments.com article from 2018, 33 percent said they were influenced by pet policy when deciding whether or not to tour a community.

      Communities should clearly communicate pet polices through websites, social media, review responses and tours.

      Leasing teams should make sure pet policies, cleaning and deposit fees are thoroughly discussed prior to move-in.

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        Make or Break Maintenance

        Maintenance teams have a direct impact on residents’ decision to renew. Here is some insight into bettering your odds.

        Maintenance teams are the unsung heroes of apartment communities: When a resident has a problem with their home, it’s the maintenance technicians who come to the rescue. But how much does the work of the service team factor into resident satisfaction and their decision to renew?

        Probably more than you think.

        NAA’s APTVirtual session, “Make it or Break it Maintenance” delved into the role that maintenance service plays in renewal rates—for better or worse.

        A SatisFacts survey gauging residents’ reasons for nonrenewal pinpointed several controllable community maintenance factors.

        While 44% of residents reported that they were not likely to renew, 27% listed apartment appearance and condition as a primary factor. Another 23% named community appearance and cleanliness and 21% cited pest or insect problems. An additional 14% listed maintenance staff themselves as their reason for leaving.

        “We’ve always known that our maintenance teams are essential. They’re the face of our communities,” said Mary Gwyn, session expert and chief innovator at Apartment Dynamics. “There was talk at the beginning of the pandemic about laying people off. The people they didn’t even talk about laying off were our maintenance people because they’re essential to maintaining the property, to retaining our residents.”

        Though the survey shows that unsatisfactory service and upkeep levels can cause residents to leave, proactive and attentive maintenance service also has a direct and positive correlation to renewals.

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          Gen Z Renters Drawn to Vibrant Smaller Towns over Urban Centers

          Unlike their millennial peers, Gen Z renters seem to favor vibrant small towns concentrated in America’s heartland, far from the ubiquitous coastal cities, according to a new study from RentCafe.

          “Younger people are willing to trade off living in a crowded, bustling city for having more space at home. Many of these heartland places are also much closer to their hometowns, too, enabling a tighter intergenerational connection, which is more valued among younger adults today than with Gen X,” said Jill Ann Harrison, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology, University of Oregon, in the release.

          According to the most recent national apartment-application data, the share of Gen Z renters jumped by 36 percent in 2020 compared to the prior year. At the same time, the number of apartment applicants from every other generation decreased. And, “some cities saw spectacular increases in rental applications from the youngest generation to enter apartment life.”

          “With the ongoing shift towards remote work, Gen Z may become the poster child for economic revival in the heartland if they’ll be able to work from home after the pandemic,” RentCafe says in the study.

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            5 Ways to Increase Rental Housing Revenue or Rents in 2021

            By Justin Becker

            With 2021 finally here, it seems like we might finally be moving toward some semblance of normalcy. In recent months, landlords and building owners were just thankful to receive regular rent from their tenants. Now, however, it might be possible to increase rents and rental housing revenue to start covering your losses.

            Raising the rent might not be the best way forward, especially as the pandemic is still going on in most parts of the world. We don’t want to punish anyone simply because they’re renting from us. But it might be possible to generate rental housing revenues in other ways.

            Let’s have a look at some of these methods now and decide upon the best ones for your needs.

            1. Rent Out an Amenity

            Amenities are something you have to provide to renters. But you can provide some extras at an additional price. If any amenity is particularly in demand, such as parking space, you can rent it out to get additional revenue.

            You can get even more revenue by charging more for parking during days when the area is more crowded than usual. For instance, if a city has a monthly or yearly festival going on, parking can become a precious commodity. The rates of parking will go up everywhere. So, there’s no reason why the space on your property will remain the same.

            Keep in mind that you can offer parking to people who are not your tenants. If the tenants have an issue with cars taking up space so close to their living places, you can offer them a fraction of the revenue collected.

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              Credit Scores for Lease Applicants Are Rising

              Good credit is becoming increasingly crucial for renting an apartment and according to RentCafe’s latest report, the credit scores of renters and lease applicants has been going up one point each year since 2018.

              “Specifically, according to our analysis of more than five million lease applicants nationwide, the average credit score of renters in the U.S. was 638 in 2020,” the report says.

              Some key findings:

              • Baby boomers have the highest scores (683), while the youngest renters, Gen Z, are at the other end with 586. Still, it’s worth noting that, of all age groups, Gen Z increased their scores the most in the last three years, by 55 points since 2018.
              • Renters in San Francisco boast the highest scores in the nation, 719, followed by those in Boston (716), New York (715), and Seattle (706).
              • Nationwide, the average credit score of renters clocked in at 638 in 2020. Those living in high-end buildings are the only ones boasting above-average credit scores of 669.
              • Those with less-than-ideal scores can still find nice apartments in Arlington, TX, or Memphis, TN, cities where renters’ average scores hover around 580. Moreover, an extra 20 points would get them in a luxury building in places like Mesa, AZ, Las Vegas, or Houston. In these cities, the average credit scores for high-end buildings are the lowest in the country.

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                MBA RIHA Study Reveals Progress, but 5 Million Renters and Homeowners Missed December Payments

                CONTACT
                Adam DeSanctis
                [email protected]
                (202) 557-2727

                WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 8, 2021) – Five million households did not make their rent or mortgage payments in December, and 2.3 million renters and 1.2 million mortgagors said they feel they are at risk of eviction or foreclosure, or would be forced to move in the next 30 days. That is according to fourth-quarter 2020 research released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA).

                The new fourth-quarter 2020 findings on housing and student loan payments come from RIHA’s study, Housing-Related Financial Distress During the Pandemic, which was previously released in September 2020 (second-quarter findings) and October 2020 ( third-quarter findings).

                The percentage of homeowners and renters behind on their payments has decreased since last year’s second quarter. In December, 7.9% of renters (2.62 million households) missed, delayed, or made a reduced payment, while 5.0% (2.38 million homeowners) missed their mortgage payment. The proportion of student debt borrowers who missed a monthly payment climbed to approximately 43% of borrowers in December from the steady share of around 40% since May.

                “Gradual improvements in the labor market and economy helped more renters and homeowners make their housing payments at the end of 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause financial stress for millions of Americans, and particularly for those who rent and have student loan debt,” said Gary V. Engelhardt, Professor of Economics in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. “Despite 5 million renters and homeowners not making their December payment, fewer believe they are at risk of eviction, a foreclosure, or would be forced to move in the next 30 days. This confidence is perhaps an indication that direct checks and enhanced unemployment benefits, rental assistance, mortgage forbearance programs, and a federal eviction moratorium have so far been effective in keeping people in their homes.”

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                  Want to own an apartment building? Buy a distressed hotel for pennies on the dollar

                  Real estate developers are buying distressed hotels for bargain prices and converting them to more lucrative and much-needed affordable housing.

                  Communities are desperate for more affordable housing, but the cost for developers is just too high. Land, labor and materials were pricey before the coronavirus pandemic, and they are even more so now.

                  That is why some creative developers are now turning to hotels – and it appears to be a match made in real estate heaven.

                  The stay-at-home culture of the pandemic has hit the hotel sector hard. The share of hotels behind on their mortgages rose to just over 18% in December, up from less than 2% a year ago, according to Fitch Ratings. Hotels are suffering even more than retail real estate.

                  But that creates an opportunity for investors, like David Peters in Minneapolis, who is buying distressed hotels at bargain basement prices, and converting them to affordable apartments.

                  “Apartments around here, you might pay $120,000 a door, and we can purchase these hotels probably $30,000 to $40,000 a door, and maybe put $10,000 a door into the renovations,” said Peters.

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                    Pandemic Will Inflict More Pain on Rental Housing Before Recovery Begins

                    The pandemic continues to burden multifamily rental housing as rents continue to fall and more pain is coming, Yardi Matrix says in their U.S. Multifamily Outlook for winter 2021.

                    ‘After a year ravaged by a global pandemic and political division, nothing would be more satisfying in 2021 than a return to normal” … but “it will take some months to get most of the country vaccinated and get businesses operating as normal,” the report says.

                    “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, national rent growth remained relatively flat on a year-over-year basis, ending the year at -0.8 percent. There was a large divergence in performance between markets, though. High-cost gateway markets struggled the most, while many tech hub and tertiary markets thrived,” the Yardi Matrix report says. Some highlights of the report:

                    • Job growth has been mostly positive since the summer, but the economy remains nearly 10 million jobs off its peak.
                    • Nationally, rent growth fell only slightly in 2020, but there was a huge variation among metros. Rents and occupancy levels fell sharply in high-cost gateway markets, as renters left crowded and expensive coastal centers. More affordable markets in the Sun Belt, Southwest, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic saw modest rent growth.
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