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Should You Text Your Residents

Sensing that their residents are “glued to their phones” one property manager at a market-rate apartment community in Charlotte, N.C., decided to add texting to her resident communication repertoire—whether it’s to announce package delivery, rent dates or other key community news and information.

She was concerned initially about potentially infringing on residents’ privacy, but says that since the effort began, no one has asked the community to cease texting them.

The community has email addresses for 100 percent of residents and has cell numbers for approximately 70 percent. When the texting option was made available through an app, approximately 35 percent did so.

At a major national apartment operator, the senior vice president of marketing and training there estimates that approximately 25 percent of her communities are texting residents.

“It’s important to hit the right demographic and right audience with the right message, and not over-message,” she says. “Some things should still go through email, but other things that are more time-sensitive are better for text.”

She adds, “[Based on resident surveys], when residents are asked how they want to be communicated with, the overwhelming majority still say email,” Staciokas says. “Text is very personal. It’s about finding the right message and use case for text, and not overdoing it.”

The View on High, a student housing community near Ohio State University, recently used a platform to alert residents about a knife-wielding attacker who drove his car into several students on campus.

Of course, texting isn’t appropriate for all communication. More sensitive matters—late rent, resident complaints or any legal issue—are still best handled on the phone or in person.