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Property Management Industry Pulse

Top Challenges and Needs in Rental Housing

In July and August 2021, AppFolio sponsored an online survey of rental housing providers in the United States, conducted by the National Apartment Association (NAA) and ndp | analytics. The survey, which received a total of 1,048 responses, focused on the top challenges currently facing the rental housing industry. Below are the key survey findings.

Top Three Challenges Facing Rental Housing Providers

Respondents were asked to select the three topics that are most challenging right now.  The most common top challenge was HR, staffing and recruitment; 74% selected it as one of their top three challenges. Operational efficiencies and maximizing revenue were the second and third most common challenges with nearly 63% and 48% selecting them as a top challenge, respectively.

Human resources issues, operating more efficiently and maximizing revenue have been the top concerns for rental housing providers for quite some time. However, the impacts of COVID-19 have heightened these challenges for owners and operators.  

Top Three Challenging Activities Within HR, Staffing and Recruitment

After selecting their top three challenges, respondents were asked to rate a set of activities within each of those topics. Each activity was rated on a scale of one to five, with five being the most challenging.

Withing the topic of HR, staffing and recruitment challenges, attracting new team members, training new hires and reducing turnover were rated as the most difficult activities. Employers are struggling to keep their on-site offices fully staffed as a result of high salary demands, low morale, concerns surrounding COVID-19 and labor shortages.

 

Top Three Challenging Activities Within Operational Activities

Inside the issue of operational efficiencies, finding high quality vendors, reducing labor-intensive processes and reducing costs were rated as the most difficult challenges. Changes brought on by the pandemic have led owners and operators to rethink their operational strategies in order to improve their bottom lines and employee productivity.

Top Three Challenging Activities Within Maximizing Revenue

Among the subject of maximizing revenue, increasing net operating income (NOI), mitigating bad debt loss and returning performance to pre-pandemic levels were rated as the most difficult challenges. Rental housing providers are struggling with escalating expenses due to COVID-19 and rental income losses.

Most Crucial Needs for Rental Housing Providers and Their Solutions

Respondents were asked to elaborate on their top challenge, including how they are currently solving their problems today and what they need to help solve the challenge moving forward.

In Conclusion

The survey responses also illustrated the continued bifurcation in the industry with some owners concerned about whether or not they will be able to stay afloat and others reporting strong rent growth and high occupancy rates. One thing that came through loud and clear was the desire for the pandemic to end and for continued strong economic growth. An end to eviction moratoriums, more efficient and faster distribution of rental assistance funds and improvements in the labor market will go a long way in alleviating many of the challenges rental housing providers face today.

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For more information contact Paula Munger