News & Research Listing

News, Industry Insider, Operations Insights
Five Holiday and Winter Community Event Ideas That Engage Residents

Improve resident experience with these highly marketable event ideas.

“Resident experience” is the hot topic in the apartment industry these days — and for good reason. When you’re able to achieve a positive resident experience, you’re also able to achieve more renewals and new leases.

Importantly, a huge part of creating a positive resident experience is fun resident events; however, it can be difficult for your property to host regular, planned events, especially if it’s small to mid-sized. In general, it’s probably not a question of whether your team wants to do events, but rather a lack of time, ideas and budget.

To help you fill out your resident event calendar for the upcoming holiday season and bring a spark of joy to your community, here are five easy, affordable, and unique ideas:

1. Lend a helping hand.

Often, people want to volunteer and lend a helping hand to others, especially during the holiday season, but don’t know where to go or what to do. If your team figures out all of the details and sets up an easy volunteer opportunity for your residents, you may be surprised how many residents say “yes.”

For something hands-on and in-person, you can partner with a local charity, food pantry or homeless shelter. For something simpler, you can organize a canned food, toy or clothing drive within your community. Coordinating a drive will be as easy as keeping a collection bin in your leasing office or lobby and getting the word out to your residents through social media posts, flyers and emails.

To help improve the chances of residents joining in, you can even offer a selection of dates for when they can volunteer if you’re doing an in-person event. The recipient organization will be so appreciative of the support and your residents walk away feeling good about giving back to the community.

2. Host a holiday potluck and create a cookbook.

This idea is a cool twist on a classic resident event. At least a week before the potluck, have your residents submit the recipes for the dish they will be bringing to the dinner and compile them all into a seasonal, winter cookbook. Then, give a copy to each of your residents at the end of the potluck. Not only will your residents enjoy time together and a yummy dinner, but also receive a special token they can take home and enjoy for years to come.

As an additional tip, the more you can make it feel like a true cookbook, the more likely your residents are to keep it on their shelf. It also is recommended to put your community’s logo on it and giving the cookbook a fun, memorable name.                                                                              

3. Make trendy winter wreaths or garlands.

This is a great winter-themed craft and activity that is relatively inexpensive and will get residents to come out and participate. This is because it is both a low-commitment and high-value event. For residents, there’s nothing better than free holiday home decor that will take under 30 minutes to get. Plus, it also creates an opportunity to do a community-wide giveaway for the wreath that gets the most likes on social media after you share them all.

If you’re not sure what to get for this resident activity, there are tons of videos on YouTube that show you how to make incredibly beautiful wreaths from supplies from the Dollar Store. You really can’t go wrong!

4. Build mini gingerbread houses.

The “mini” part of this resident event idea is key because the idea of putting together a full-sized gingerbread house can easily feel overwhelming and time-consuming for residents. It’s understandable why they might then be deterred from the whole icing and gumdrop ordeal.

However, if you make it a mini gingerbread house creation night, it’ll be much more enticing and unique. Who doesn’t like things that are mini? Not to mention, there’s no shortage of miniature-sized candy you can grab for decoration.

This will be a fun, creative, hands-on event for your community that is family-friendly and good for people of all ages. This is also another event you can share all over social media and have your audience vote on the prettiest (or funniest) mini gingerbread house for a special prize!

5. Host a post-holiday happy hour.

While a happy hour is a popular resident event, hosting one in celebration of your residents making it through the holiday season makes it super fun and unique. After all that decorating, shopping and cooking, who wouldn't want a drink? Also, it is much more likely your residents will attend an event after rather than during the holiday season.

To make it extra special, your team can even craft a signature drink that’s named after your property and turn it into a tradition where you serve it every year. For the cherry on top, you can order some low-cost drinking glasses with your logo printed on it.

Hands-On Activities + Souvenirs = Marketing Magic

While it might feel a little unnatural and “promotional,” try to view every resident event as a marketing opportunity — take photos and videos, create stories, make TikToks and share, share, share!

Another recommendation for consideration is pairing a souvenir or take-home item, such as the drinking glass or cookbook, with every event. Residents love to be able to walk away with something they can keep and use in their home. Not only will it entice them to show up, but they’ll walk away with that warm feeling that comes with a smile (and maybe leave you a review or two).

Ashley Tyndall is Chief Relationship Officer for Criterion.B.

November 19, 2021
Five Holiday and Winter Community Event Ideas That Engage Residents
News, Industry Insider, Apartment Business Update, Apartment Advocate
Detailed Analysis: How Will President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework Offsets Impact the Multifamily Industry?

What offsets remain on the table, what's out and how it affects the rental housing industry. 

President Biden on October 28 went to Capitol Hill and released an updated framework for the Administration’s Build Back Better “human infrastructure” plan. After months of negotiations, this new plan has been scaled back by half from its original $3.5 trillion price tag.

Major provisions include expanded child tax credit, universal preschool, investments in elder care and expansions of Pell grants and free school meals. The proposal also includes $550 billion in clean energy and other climate change initiatives including a credit of up to $12,500 for U.S.-made, union-made electric vehicles, incentives for charging stations, the enhancement of existing home energy and efficiency tax credits and the implementation of a rebate program focused on electrification. The program includes funds to address lead in in drinking water, stormwater resiliency and supports resiliency efforts in Environmental Justice communities.

Of interest to our industry, the plan invests $150 billion in affordable housing provisions including investments in rental assistance, housing vouchers and the construction and rehabilitation of an estimated 1 million affordable homes. Click here to access a more detailed list of housing dollars.

The $1.75 trillion plan is offset by tax increases on ordinary income and capital gains income that would impact upper-income Americans. Left out of the package are any changes to like-kind exchanges, increases in the ordinary income tax rates, the general 20 percent capital gains tax rate, the tax treatment of carried interest and the 20 percent pass-through deduction or the taxation of unrealized capital gains at death. A provision in the Ways and Means bill that would have restricted the ability to use IRAs to make certain types of real estate investments is also not included. Interestingly, the proposal does not include any changes to the current-law tax treatment of state and local income taxes. However, this is expected to be addressed as the package moves forward.

As of this writing, it is unclear whether the revised proposal will enable Democrats to cinch the congressional majorities they need to pass reconciliation legislation.

Following the White House’s updated framework, the House Rules Committee released an updated version of the package. Use the drop down features below to review the key tax provisions in play that would impact the multifamily industry.


Tax Increases in the Updated Framework

Individual Income Tax Rates

Although the Framework does not increase the top 37 percent tax bracket, it imposes:

  • a 5 percent surtax on taxpayers earning over $10 million in modified adjusted gross income (AGI) (i.e., adjusted gross income less investment interest expense) and an additional 3 percent surtax on taxpayers earning over $25 million in modified AGI.

Notably, there are no changes made to the 20 percent Section 199A pass-through deduction.

In sum, the top marginal income tax rate would rise to 39.04 percent from today’s 29.6 percent when the impact of the net investment income tax (see below) is included in calculations.

Capital Gains Income Tax Rates

Although the Framework does not increase the top 20 percent capital gain tax, it imposes:

  • a 5 percent surtax on taxpayers earning over $10 million in modified adjusted gross income (AGI) (i.e., adjusted gross income less investment interest expense) and an additional 3 percent surtax on taxpayers earning over $25 million in modified AGI.

In sum, the top capital gains tax rate would rise to 31.8 percent from today’s 20 percent when the impact of the net investment income tax (see below) is included in calculations.

Net Investment Income Tax

The proposal would expand the current-law 3.8 percent net investment income tax to include net investment income (i.e., capital gains, interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, and rents) earned in the ordinary course of a trade or business by single filers earning over $400,000 and married couples earning over $500,000. It would not apply to any wages on which FICA is currently imposed.

Excess Businesses Losses

The proposal makes permanent a provision limiting excess business losses that was otherwise set to expire at the end of 2026. Under current law, a non-corporate taxpayer is considered to have an excess business loss if their total business deductions exceed business income plus $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers. Additionally, while current law allows excess businesses losses to be treated as a net operating loss, the proposal would modify this treatment and not allow losses to offset wages or portfolio income in future years. Losses, however, could be carried forward.

Tax Increases Not in the Framework

Left out of the Framework are tax increases affecting:

  • Like-kind exchanges. NMHC and NAA have long advocated to maintain current-law relative to like-kind exchanges to encourage investors to remain invested in real estate while still allowing them to balance their investments to shift resources to more productive properties, change geographic location, or diversify or consolidate holdings.
  • Carried interest. The House Ways and Means Committee’s “human infrastructure” bill would have imposed a three-year holding period on so-called Section 1231 real estate gains.
  • Taxation of unrealized capital gains at death. NMHC and NAA support the retention of current-law stepped-up basis rules. Changes to current law could either diminish or discourage the ability of heirs to make improvements to inherited property. Affordable housing inventory could be lost as a result.
  • Estate taxes. Notably, NMHC and NAA signed an October 28 letter opposing changes to grantor trusts and valuation rules in the House Ways and Means Committee’s “human infrastructure” bill. That bill proposed to bring grantor trust a decedent owns into that decedent’s taxable estate. Additionally, the bill would have prohibited the use of valuation discounts when non-business assets, including real estate, are transferred.
  • Modifications to the types of investments accredited investors may make with IRAs. The House Ways and Means Committee’s “human infrastructure” bill would have restricted the use of IRAs to make certain types of real estate investments.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit & Rehabilitation Tax Credit

While the House Ways and Means Committee’s version of “human infrastructure” legislation included provisions to expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and the Rehabilitation Tax Credit, these provisions are not included in the new framework.

We joined an October 25 letter sent by the A Call To Invest in Our Neighborhoods Coalition to President Joseph Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) asking that final legislation expand LIHTC authority by more than 50 percent. The letter also expresses support for reducing to 25 percent (from 50 percent) the amount of a project that must be financed by tax-exempt private activity bonds in order to access 4 percent LIHTCs. The House Ways and Means Committee-passed reconciliation bill includes these provisions as part of its proposed changes to LIHTC, and it is estimated the bill would provide an additional 1.4 million units.

Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives

Energy Tax Incentives

The proposal would modify energy tax incentives available to the multifamily industry. Firms meeting baseline requirements would receive a base credit, but they would have to meet prevailing wages and apprenticeship requirements to receive a bonus credit.

Specifically, firms can quintuple the base credit if they pay all contractors and subcontractors prevailing wages. Projects would also have to be staffed by apprentices (5 percent of labor hours must be performed by apprentices for projects commencing construction in 2022, 10 percent in 2023, and 15 percent thereafter, with a minimum of one apprentice for each contractor or subcontractor employing at least four workers. Exemptions would be permitted if apprentices are unavailable.

Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction

Beginning in 2022, the base credit for buildings with four or more stories that exceed 25 percent of ASHRAE standards in effect three years before a building is placed into service would be $0.50 per square foot for energy savings. It would increase by $0.02 per square foot for every percentage point by which energy savings exceed the 25 percent baseline threshold, up to $1.00 per square foot. Bonus amounts, as described above, are available for taxpayers meeting applicable labor requirements.

Additionally, taxpayers would be able to take a deduction for energy efficient lighting, HVAC and building envelope costs placed in service as part of a retrofit. The value of the deduction would be based upon how much energy savings is achieved. A minimum 25 percent reduction would be required to realize a $0.50 per square foot gain in the base credit.

The base credit would be increased by $0.02 per square foot for each additional percentage point in energy savings, up to $1.00 per square foot. Bonus amounts, as described above, are available for taxpayers meeting applicable labor requirements. We have long sought a provision to address investment in building energy retrofits that result in significant energy savings relative to building’s own baseline energy performance to be eligible for the credit. The provision would be effective through 2031.

New Energy Efficient Home Credit

The proposal would extend the New Energy Efficient Home Credit (which applies to buildings of three or fewer stories) through 2031. For multifamily units acquired after 2022, a base credit of $500 is provided for units that participate in the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Program while meeting both national and regional program requirements. It is, however, unclear whether units will decide to participate in this program. A credit of $2,500 per unit is available if the building meets the applicable labor requirements described above. Finally, a base credit of $1,000 is available to multifamily homes certified as zero energy ready under the Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home Program

November 1, 2021
Detailed Analysis: How Will President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework Offsets Impact the Multifamily Industry?
Industry Insider
SCOTUS Strikes Down CDC Eviction Moratorium

On August 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled 6-3 to strike down the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) federal eviction moratorium (CDC Order). This important decision is not about pursuing evictions for all residents, but rather it restores the ability of housing providers to effectively manage their properties and recognizes that the CDC lacked the authority to impose an unfunded, federal housing mandate that disrupted court processes, housing operations and the rental housing stock nationwide.

“It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the COVID–19 Delta variant,” read the unauthored majority opinion issued along ideological lines. “But our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends.”

Please note that this SCOTUS ruling only applies to the CDC Order – the CARES Act 30-day notice  requirement and state and local eviction moratoria remain in effect. Housing providers should continue to follow all applicable laws and regulations, including state and/or local eviction restrictions, and consult trusted local counsel for clarification as needed.

The ruling emphasized that if a federal eviction moratorium is to continue that Congress must specifically authorize it, which the National Apartment Association (NAA) continues to oppose. There is a possibility that the U.S. House of Representatives will pursue such legislation when Congress returns in September; however, the possibility of an eviction moratorium bill passing through both the House and Senate is slim.

Instead of continuing to pursue flawed and unlawful eviction restrictions, the focus must shift to the distribution of federal emergency rental assistance funds. A recent Treasury report revealed that only 11% of funds have been distributed, meaning $41.4 billion still has not reached renters and housing providers who need the funds the most. NAA, alongside our real estate industry coalition partners, is urging Congress to implement critically needed reforms to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that will accelerate distribution. By taking the steps to make responsible and necessary reforms to this program, lawmakers can address the underlying financial distress faced by rental housing providers and their residents and ensure the long-term stability of the nation’s rental housing infrastructure.    

Critically, NAA continues its lawsuit seeking more than $26 billion in damages brought on by the CDC’s order. This lawsuit’s primary intention is to ensure unfunded rent debt accrued under the CDC order is paid, wiping $26 billion in unfunded rent debt from housing providers’ books and, subsequently, from residents’ records. The SCOTUS ruling is a good first step in making housing providers and residents whole again, and further affirms the lawsuit’s goal of recovering lost rent suffered under an unlawful federal mandate. Your support is encouraged.

August 31, 2021
News, Industry Insider, Apartment Business Update, Apartment Advocate, Operations Insights
NAA Sues Federal Government to Recover Industry’s Losses Under Nationwide Eviction Moratorium

Join the lawsuit

The National Apartment Association is taking legal action to recover damages housing providers suffered under the CDC’s eviction moratorium and ensure that similar measures can never again be enacted.

The National Apartment Association (NAA) on July 27 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to recover damages on behalf of rental housing providers that have suffered severe economic losses under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) overreaching federal eviction moratorium.

As NAA members and the broader industry understand all too well, the CDC’s prolonged order directly harms those who provide critically needed rental homes, jeopardizes the long-term viability of housing infrastructure and sets a dangerous precedent for future disaster-response measures. NAA is the first to take legal action seeking compensation for the CDC’s policy and to ensure that similar “emergency measures” cannot be enacted again.

The suit, NAA et al. v. The United States of America, is open to all rental housing providers who have been damaged by and are operating in a state or locality under the federal eviction moratorium. It argues that the CDC order has curbed several rights under the U.S. Constitution including: The right to access the courts, the freedom to contract with others absent government interference, the right to demand compensation when property is taken by government action and the limits of federal government power. NAA is confident that the CDC will be found to have acted illegally based on court rulings to date, including the most recent decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming that the CDC’s order was unlawful.

Apartment owners and operators have continued good-faith operations throughout the public health and economic crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now left to shoulder $26.6 billion* in debt not covered by federal rental assistance. As a low-margin industry where just 10 cents of each rental dollar is considered “profit,” this debt is unsustainable and could devastate countless small businesses while simultaneously damaging housing affordability. Though NAA is proud of the unprecedented adaptability and flexibility of our members and the broader industry, we firmly believe that it is time to make rental housing providers and their residents whole again.

Relief efforts to date have fallen short of fully supporting the rental housing industry and its residents. While the federal government has allocated roughly $47 billion in federal rent relief, it took more than nine months for Congress to do so. Further, that amount also does not cover the full and continuously growing amount of rent debt – current estimates indicate an additional $26.6 billion on top of Congress’ $47 billion rental assistance funding. The government’s prolonged inaction, paired with a sluggish rollout and the CDC eviction moratorium, has only allowed unfunded rent debt to continue to balloon.

Since the onset of the pandemic, NAA has aggressively advocated to protect the interests of the rental housing industry. We have called out the dangers and short-sightedness of eviction moratoria and asked for its sunset to both the 116th and 117th Congresses, in meetings with both the recent and current White House administrations and across all levels of media. NAA was among the first to take legal action challenging the CDC’s authority last September by joining the National Civil Liberties Alliance lawsuit, Richard Lee Brown, et al. v. Secretary Alex Azar, et al

The COVID-19 pandemic was devastating, and if we do not act, the housing affordability crisis may grow into a catastrophe where the government could invoke more “emergency” remedies. With the meter on rent debt still running, political will waning and Congress moving past COVID-relief measures, NAA is putting up the greatest fight yet and asking the courts for two things: Fair compensation for damages suffered under the unlawful CDC order and an assurance that the federal government can never do this again.

NAA is proud to take action for our members and work to stabilize the industry. The rental housing industry cannot be held solely responsible for an unfunded rent debt while the federal government trades one crisis for another. Ultimately, making housing providers and their residents whole again will help secure the long-term health of the rental housing industry and ensures households across the income spectrum have continued access to rental housing.

*$57.3 billion in rent debt at the end of 2020 (Urban Institute) + $8 billion in Q1 2021 (MBA) + estimated $8 billion in Q2 2021 (MBA, Q2 numbers expected soon) - just under $47 billion in allocated rental assistance = $26.6 billion in unfunded rent debt (and climbing)

Join the lawsuit

July 27, 2021
News, Industry Insider, Operations Insights
The Tools to Reach Prospects and Residents in 2021

Communication is a priority in 2021, necessitating the right tools, tactics and training are in place.

Marketing to potential prospects has grown increasingly sophisticated during the past decade. But the move from an old-fashioned grassroots approach to digital lead generation intensified during COVID-19.

“2020 really accelerated the rollout and adoption of technologies that allowed us to maintain continuity during a rapid transition to a virtual way of doing business,” says Melissa Brady, Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Fogelman Properties. “Given the pace of innovation and the corresponding change in consumers’ expectations for more virtual and self-service options, we will continue on this path while looking for ways to optimize and consolidate our MarTech stack.”

The situation is similar for interaction with current residents. Some property managers have reported that COVID cases spiked in their communities. “We have several properties where we have employees in quarantine or out ill,” says Steve Hallsey, Executive Vice President of Operations for Wood Residential Service. “This situation puts a lot of pressure on other site employees.”

Social distancing is essential to prevent these virus outbreaks, but it has made it difficult for onsite teams to connect with residents in ways in which they have grown accustomed.

“I think it’s a challenge, especially for some folks that are right out of college, to be able to connect with the residents and be authentic as they’re also trying to socially distance,” says JoLynn Scotch, Managing Director of Operations at Bozzuto.

To be successful in this environment, apartment operators need to think differently.

“Creativity is at a premium to maximize leasing velocity and generate higher retention rates,” says Woody Stone, Executive Managing Director of Operations Cushman & Wakefield, Multifamily Asset Management, Americas.

In a digital, socially distant world, there are many ways to introduce your brand to potential residents. For Cortland, social media has been a strong driver of leads during the pandemic.

“With more people working remotely, we’ve also noticed an increase in social media usage this year,” says Tim Hermeling, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Cortland. “As a result, we have shifted marketing dollars to social media advertising.”

In 2021, Fogelman plans to rely on customer relationship management (CRM) software to optimize its media mix and drive lead conversions. Once those leads come, it plans to roll out live chat and text options across its portfolio to maximize engagement with prospects and use artificial intelligence (AI) to respond to leads in real-time, 24/7.

On average, Brady says customers use 10 channels to communicate. Fogelman’s teams will need to lean on technology like CRM, AI, chat and text to identify viable prospects and respond in near real-time this year.

“This requires a continued focus on training so that our front-line teams are confident in not only managing these tools but also delivering personalized experiences and great customer service, virtually or in-person,” Brady says.

Before prospects get to an apartment operator’s front-line teams, they usually check out a property’s reviews. In the digital world, one can argue that online reviews are the new curb appeal. Depending on positive online reviews is nothing new. Review sites have been around for decades. But with apartment searchers cooped up at home, they may be even more critical. 

“Drawing prospects to our properties is heavily reliant on positive online reviews,” Stone says. “In this virtual environment, a poor reputation is much harder to overcome.”

Good reviews start with good management. At Bozzuto, enhanced resident engagement and awards have increased customer satisfaction. Cushman utilizes various software options to enhance communication with its prospects or residents and address issues before they are posted online, which helps it elevate scores. “We have also been reminded during the pandemic how important it is to go beyond the basics of simply managing a unit,” Stone says.

During the pandemic, part of the management process has been working with customers who need help with payments. Technology, again, can play a role in these discussions. Scotch says her company has relied on its CRM during this time to put those customers on payment plans.

“It has been instrumental,” she says. “We also used Zoom and FaceTime as additional communication tools.”

In 2021, as in 2020, having the right tools to communicate with prospects and residents will help operators successfully navigate what is bound to be a challenging year ahead.

Les Shaver is a freelance writer.

January 25, 2021
News, Industry Insider, Apartment Business Update, Apartment Advocate
New Ruling Voids CDC Eviction Order

A new federal ruling has voided the CDC’s Eviction Order; a stay of the decision has been issued until the appeal is heard.

On May 5, a federal judge from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling voiding the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium order. Though the U.S. government quickly appealed the case, this ruling is another significant addition to the foundation created by the National Apartment Association’s (NAA’s) ongoing legal challenges to the CDC eviction moratorium.

Unlike previous legal efforts, this court specifically vacated the CDC order in its entirety despite the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging courts to limit the decision to parties in the case. The Judge in this case rejected that request and set the entire order aside.

In response, the government swiftly filed its appeal to the D.C. Circuit, where a three-judge panel will decide the issue. The same judge quickly granted the government’s request for a temporary administrative stay – this means that, practically speaking, the moratorium will remain in effect until the government’s appeal is ultimately decided. The stay gives the Court time to consider the merits of the DOJ’s appeal and the plaintiffs time to file any opposition to DOJ’s motion for stay. The matter will play out in the courts during the next several weeks, and it is important to remember that the CDC eviction order remains in effect until the D.C. Circuit issues its ruling.

NAA released a statement to the press on this matter and will continue to keep members apprised of updates to this case, as well as the other legal challenges to the CDC order. We understand the frustration and disappointment, but every decision in our favor is a positive step forward.

May 10, 2021
News, Industry Insider
Remote Work and Its Impact on Moving

New research shows that remote work options post-pandemic will affect where Americans choose to live.

Remote workers are on the move, with more relocations to come, according to new research from Apartment List.

Its Remote Work Survey of 5,000 employed adults across the country found that 40% of workers expect some sort of remote work post-pandemic—21% said they expect to be fully remote and 19% expect a hybrid remote work environment. Just over half of the respondents will be onsite full time, and 7% are unsure.

According to Apartment List, 19% of remote workers moved during the past year, compared to 13% of onsite workers. Overall, 16% of respondents have moved since last April, with 57% remaining in the same city, 20% moving to a new metro and 12% crossing state lines.

Apartment List compared its findings to Census data that shows 9.8% of Americans moved to a new residence from 2018 to 2019, and although it acknowledges the data is not directly comparable to this survey, it says that this difference “nonetheless indicates that the pandemic seems to have prompted more moves over the past year than would typically occur.”

More than two-fifths of remote workers said they are planning to move in the next 12 months, while a quarter of onsite workers indicated the same. More than half of untethered workers, those with no homeownership or family obligations, plan to move within a year.

Reasons behind recent moves included more space, buying a home, reducing monthly costs and finding a more affordable market. For upcoming moves, remote workers were more than twice as likely to move for a more affordable housing market than onsite workers (35% to 17%). The top response for those planning a move—onsite and remote workers—was to purchase a home.

Among likely movers, access to affordable markets for homeownership was the most important factor on deciding where to live in the next several years. Meanwhile, the least important factor, overall, was access to urban amenities. That said, according to Apartment List, “…forward looking plans show that urban areas still have high appeal, and this is likely to grow as city-life begins to regain its vibrancy. This suggests that the places most likely to attract remote workers may be the ones that were already doing so pre-pandemic—markets such as Austin and Nashville that offer the urban amenities that remote workers value, at a significantly lower cost than coastal superstar cities.”

Read the full report.

May 10, 2021
News, Industry Insider, Apartment Business Update, Apartment Advocate
New Rule Requires Notifying Renters Being Evicted

A new rule will require “debt collectors” to provide renters written notice of their rights under the CDC Eviction Order.

On April 19, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an interim final rule requiring “debt collectors” to provide written notice to renters of their rights under the CDC’s eviction moratorium order and prohibiting "debt collectors" from misrepresenting renters’ eligibility for protection from eviction under the moratorium. The rule will go into effect on May 3 and last through the duration of the CDC Order, which was recently extended through June 30, 2021.

To understand the rule’s applicability, it is important to note the CFPB’s definition of “debt collector,” derived from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). According to the CFPB, under the FDCPA:

[The interim final rule requirement] may include lawyers who represent landlords or property managers in eviction court to collect unpaid rent, if they start collecting the debt for [a renter’s] landlord after [renters] fall behind on [their] payments.

Further, there may be other considerations, including relevant case law that may be more conclusive about whether property managers or management firms are categorized as “debt collectors,” and whether state eviction laws and court processes separate the process to recover possession from actions to cover outstanding rent debt.

The National Apartment Association (NAA) encourages members to seek the advice of a local attorney before proceeding with an eviction to understand whether CFPB’s rule applies.

The CFPB’s rule is an unfortunate expansion of the CDC’s Order, and NAA remains in conversation with the Administration and federal agency officials about the ongoing challenges that rental housing providers face while the CDC Order and related federal requirements remain in place. In addition to being bad public policy, these efforts make compliance difficult in an area where there is already an abundance and patchwork of legal requirements complicating the CDC’s Order. This interim final ruling only adds to the confusion as federal, state and local eviction moratoria are being applied very differently in courts across the country.

It is time to end federal efforts that interfere with the eviction process. NAA will continue combating these policies and shift focus to the distribution of the almost $50 billion of federal rental assistance.

April 26, 2021
News, Industry Insider, Apartment Innovations, Operations Insights
Resident Texts: Break on Through to the Other Side

Here’s why your text messages fail to reach your residents.

Historically, a flyer pinned to a board in the lobby was one of the most effective methods for mass communication to residents. Today, although many boards remain, owners and operators have a slew of additional communication tools at their disposal. While many remain loyal to emails, an increasing number of apartment communities have tapped into texting to connect with residents quickly and effectively.

Texts offer a fast, affordable and reliable communication channel. According to research from OpenMarket, 83 percent of Millennials open texts within 90 seconds of receipt. And older research from Gartner revealed 90 percent of all people read texts within three minutes of receipt, with a 98 percent total open rate. 

That said, there is one downside to texting that is becoming more prevalent: Not all text messages are reaching residents. 

Why the Disconnect?

Owners and operators intending to reach out to their entire list of residents often are using software that enables bulk text sends. This is convenient and affordable, allowing them to quickly reach hundreds or even thousands of people at a time. However, mobile carriers have a long history of blocking certain messages, and they are continually growing more stringent about the types of texts and the content within them. When carriers see the exact same messages going to hundreds or thousands of phone numbers, it gets there attention, and not in a positive way.

U.S. mobile carriers AT&T and T-Mobile are now requiring new fees and processes for any business looking to text groups of people. The rules, which went into effect this summer—called “10DLC” after the 10-digit long codes that businesses use to text people—may make message blocking an even more common occurrence.

Often, the person who scheduled the send doesn’t even realize the messages were blocked, because most software doesn’t automatically alert the sender (you can usually only see the message failed if you take the time to log into the software, which not everyone does). 

How to Break on Through to the Other Side

The good news is general advice for sending messages that will make it to their intended recipients enables apartment communities to keep residents in the loop about changes, events and more, without disruption.

  • Send personalized messages: Personalization is the key to messages that don’t get blocked; look for a texting software that will allow you to easily accomplish this. For property managers and owners, this can mean either including the person’s name within the text, or naming the property within the message. Mentioning a specific payment or date or other detail can also count as personalization. Not all messages that lack personalization get blocked (you’ve probably received many that didn’t), but that’s because carriers don’t catch everything, but make no mistake, they are paying closer attention than ever before.
  • Show full URLs: Because carriers want to avoid having their customers receive spam by any means necessary, revealing the URL’s domain name can help alleviate their concern. Avoid using website link shorteners, which may look largely promotional in nature (whether that was the intention or not). Use full URLs when links are required. 
  • Always include an opt-out option: Under Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rules, it’s required to receive an opt-in before properties can start sending messages to their residents. Also required is the ability to opt-out at any time, so preserve that option in every single text. A message like “Reply STOP to unsubscribe” works well.
  • Send only relevant images: Most texts to residents shouldn’t require an image; however, if there is an image that needs to be sent, ensure it is truly relevant. If the image does not pertain to the text, it could be blocked.
  • Regularly update your resident texting list: If people regularly opt-out of your messages, it can be a red flag to carriers. Enough red flags, and a sender might become blacklisted from sending messages altogether. To combat this, make sure your lists are constantly updated when people move out or new residents move in.
  • Keep content clean: This is hopefully obvious, but keep texting content straight forward, informational in nature and clean. The acronym “SHAFT” describes content that is forbidden or subject to additional rules:
    • Sexually inappropriate
    • Hate speech or profanity
    • Alcohol
    • Firearms and depictions or endorsements of violence
    • Tobacco (including vaping), or endorsement of illegal or illicit drugs

Text messaging is a powerful tool for property managers, when it’s used well. Used too often or to promote irrelevant information, and apartment residents will unsubscribe. Used without personalization, relevant images and full URLs, and carriers will block the messages. When property managers and owners keep these tips in mind, they can continue to utilize text messages to keep residents informed and engaged within their home and community.

Tom Sheahan is the CEO of Red Oxygen.

November 23, 2021
Resident Texts: Break on Through to the Other Side
News, Industry Insider, Operations Insights
Three Ways to Leverage Video for Recruitment and Retention

Video storytelling is a powerful, engaging and underused medium across the industry.

Just when owners and managers thought they were finally turning the page on the unprecedented challenges of 2020, the pandemic has yet one more card up its sleeve – "The Great Resignation.”

As the pandemic drives people to reassess their lives and futures, many are revisiting what they want, both professionally and personally. On the career front, that means a mass exodus toward unemployment in hopes of finding more money, increased flexibility and greater happiness.

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 2021 saw a record 4.3 million people their jobs for greener professional pastures. For the apartment industry, where average employee turnover was already close to 33% annually before the pandemic, “The Great Resignation” has only added to the existing problem.

As a result, operators find themselves in a fierce battle for talent in a historically tight and tumultuous labor market, fighting to distinguish themselves from the competition in not only the multifamily industry but other industries as well.

While there isn't a magic wand owners and managers can wave to fix these overwhelming labor issues, the best option they have is video storytelling – a powerful, engaging and still vastly underused medium across the industry.

Attracting the Right Talent with Video Storytelling

Humans naturally gravitate toward storytelling. From our hunting and gathering days to our modern world, immersive and engaging stories have always been able to expand our thoughts and drive our decision-making.

When you combine a target audience's natural inclination toward stories with the uniquely engaging powers of video, the result is a potent communication tool that can help messaging rise above the background noise.

In the case of talent acquisition and retention, video storytelling is a convenient and fast solution that can directly address staffing shortages in multifamily. From attracting the right talent for open positions to engaging and retaining existing employees, video could very well be the competitive edge every operator is looking for to counteract “The Great Resignation.”

Outlined below are three simple ways multifamily teams can propel their recruitment and retention efforts to new levels with video content.

1. Personalized Video Introductions to Potential Candidates

The talent you're targeting with your recruiting strategy is going to be looking at different positions at different organizations in different industries. That means you are up against some stiff competition for that talent.

Your first goal should be grabbing your potential new hire’s attention and making your opportunity stand out from other potential employers. Video is a great way to differentiate yourself and make a lasting impact on top talent. Imagine being a prospective employee and receiving a personalized video as an introduction rather than a boilerplate email or even a quick call. While a video might take a few minutes to film, edit and distribute depending on the platform you use, it leaves a lasting impression that gives you a distinct advantage.

Also, given the out-of-the-box nature of a video introduction, you’re inherently appealing to talent with a similar out-of-the-box mindset. In this case, innovation breeds innovation, a quality many communities are in short supply of at the moment.

2. Drive Employee Satisfaction and Increase Retention

Rental housing was facing serious employee turnover issues before the pandemic. Of course, in the throes of “The Great Resignation,” it's absolutely critical that you not only fill current workforce gaps but also keep the talent you have.

That is easier said than done in an environment where people are already quitting their jobs in droves. That said, multifamily teams don't have much room for error before a bad problem gets even worse.

That is why it is so important to ensure every employee feels like a valued member of the team. Recognizing success and increasing satisfaction across your staff is another area where video storytelling shines.

A video introduction of a new hire, a quick shout out for a job well done, or a thoughtful message for a team member dealing with challenges at home can go a long way in driving satisfaction. A personalized video is going to be more effective than a card or email in making your employees feel special and important.

3. Foster Employee Engagement Through Video

According to recent research from Gallup, 36% of U.S. employees are engaged by their work and employer. That means 64% are either not engaged or actively disengaged, neither of which bode well for talent retention.

When an employee is fully engaged in their work, they are committed to staying with the company and meeting both individual and organizational goals. Fully engaged employees are loyal to an organization's vision and committed to excellence.

Effective communication and employee engagement go hand-in-hand, where organizations with clear communication channels are better poised for success. Video is an ideal medium for fostering that critical communication, making it easy to convey goals and objectives at both the organizational and individual levels.

Employees want to feel included and know their individual contributions are adding to a community's overall success. There's no better way for management to relay those thoughts and foster those feelings than through video.

Moreover, providing employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their roles is essential for engagement. Video fulfills this need very well, and unlike in-person training, you can archive video training sessions so employees can reference them again and again.

There’s no magical solution to address the talent issues that have plagued the multifamily industry for years. However, with the pandemic indirectly intensifying the problem by way of “The Great Resignation,” managers and operators need to find a competitive edge, one that will help them win the battle for talent.

That's exactly what video storytelling offers to the industry. It’s a powerful solution to engage talent – both potential and current – that doesn't strain already heavy workflows. Now, it's just a matter of seeing who the early adopters will be, the ones that will put their communities a giant step ahead in the fight for talent.

Mike Davis is Senior Vice President of Multifamily at OneDay.

November 19, 2021
Three Ways to Leverage Video for Recruitment and Retention