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Mr. Anacan presents a thoughtful assessment and suggested course of performance with respect to Fair...
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If your running your business while in fear of the Fair Housing Laws, you probably do not fully und...

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- Blog posts tagged in Rent

Posted by on in Property Management
While metro Washington, DC seems to rank at the top of the list of just about everyone's favorite apartment markets, current performance stats actually are a little stronger in adjacent Baltimore. June's occupancy rate in Baltimore's base of about 190,000 apartments stood at an even 96 percent, up 2.1 percentage points from the late 2009 figure and 0.7 points ahead of occupancy in Washington, DC. Neighborhood-level occupancy was right around the 95 percent mark in even the weakest of Baltimore's individual submarkets, and the rate was 97 percent or better in Ellicott City/Columbia and the Towson area. Effective rents in metro Baltimore jumped by 4.2 percent during 2010's initial six months, measuring change on a same-store basis. Since rents only backtracked a very tiny bit previously, growth during the first half of this year has already more than made up the ground that had been lost. Baltimore's current average monthly rent of $1,107, then, is an all-time high. Viewed in the big picture, Baltimore is one of the first local apartment markets where recovery from the recent down cycle is complete. It wouldn't be surprising if Baltimore's performance premium over the stats posted in Washington, DC actually gets a little more pronounced over the next couple of years. The DC metro is going to have to deal with processing more new supply, which likely will have some impact on the occupancy and rent growth performance potential at the top of the market there.   Statistical information presented in this post...

Posted by on in Property Management
Just like pretty much every other metro across the country, Jacksonville has seen its apartment market generate some performance momentum so far during 2010. However, this locale took one of the nation's worst beatings during the down portion of the market cycle, so it remains far from reaching healthy status once again. Apartment absorption in Jacksonville registered at some 2,900 units during 2010's initial six months, far surpassing completions limited to around 500 apartments. Occupancy, then, has made big strides, rising 3 full percentage points since late 2009. Even with that upturn, however, the June occupancy figure was only 89.3 percent. That's the third worst reading across the 64 metros that form the core of MPF Research's national apartment analysis, coming in just ahead of the rates in Houston and Fort Myers. With overall occupancy so low, it's not surprising that even the top-performing neighborhoods and product niches are struggling. The metro's best neighborhood-level result in submarkets with sizable apartment inventories is the 92.8 percent occupancy in the Mandarin area. Across the various product categories, 1990s-era properties are doing the best with occupancy at 92.5 percent. Apartment operators in Jacksonville actually raised effective rents by a significant 2.7 percent during 2010's 2nd quarter, measuring change on a same-store basis. That's an aggressive move for a place with occupancy still so low. But even with that quarterly bump, rents haven't made much progress in making up the ground lost previously. From peak to trough in this market, effective pricing declined about 13...

Posted by on in Property Management
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) exists to ensure that all potential tenants are given an equal opportunity to obtain residency. This anti-discrimination policy means that, as a landlord, you are not allowed to base tenancy at your property upon any of the following factors, including: age, race, color, religion, familial status, or handicap. This law is straightforward enough; however, there are certain common instances in which landlords find themselves inadvertently in violation of this act. A common slip-up that can potentially lead to legal troubles down the line is searching for a certain “type” of tenant based upon your property’s location, amenities, or general pre-existing demographic. Consider the following scenario.  As clearly stated in the FHA, you cannot base your decision upon whether or not to accept a tenant on their situation or life circumstances. For example, even if you prefer to rent to students, you absolutely cannot refuse to rent an available unit to a family of three simply because they are a family rather than a single student. Remember, though, the average tenant wants to find a living situation that is comfortable for them. In the above scenario, for example, if you have a ten-unit complex that is primarily occupied by students, chances are other students (as opposed to families or young professionals) are going to be most enticed by your property. To achieve maximum visibility among this target demographic, you should place advertisements in outlets that cater to the university population in your area—school-affiliated publications, websites and bulletin boards at local college...

Posted by on in Property Management
Yesterday, there was lots of media coverage highlighting results of a survey that indicates quite a few of today's renters don't expect to ever become home buyers. Specifically, a Harris Interactive poll of about 2,000 folks conducted for real estate search site found that 27 percent of current renters don't anticipate that they'll eventually make the leap to home purchase. Looking a little more closely at the survey info provided on Trulia's website, only 663 of the 2,000 people surveyed actually are renters, and there's no info provided on what type of housing (apartments, single-family homes, or something else) the renters are leasing. That seems like a pretty small sample to use when making broad-brush statements about a large and diverse group of renters, but let's go ahead and assume that the survey results are accurate. Do they, in fact, mean anything? The Census Bureau reports that 66.9 percent of American households are homeowners, meaning that 33.1 percent rent. If 27 percent of those renters don't expect to buy at some point, the total pool of all households excluded forever from purchase is just 9 percent. Throwing some more numbers out there for you to think about (go on, whip out your iPad for a calc-a-long), today's median home price across the country is $176,900, according to the National Association of Realtors. Assuming you're really old fashioned and will only buy a home that costs three times your annual income, you'll need to make about $59,000 to afford the...

Posted by on in Property Management
While 2nd quarter 2010's 1.2 percent jump in U.S. apartment rents was the first meaningful increase in pricing power seen during the current market cycle, the boost was encouraging widespread. It wasn't just a handful of areas getting back on track ... at least minor upticks occurred almost everywhere. Across the 64 metros that form the core of MPF Research's apartment market analysis, 56 of them realized effective rent improvement during 2nd quarter, measuring change on a same-store basis. One city (Memphis) registered identical rents in March and June, leaving just seven metros suffering further declines. Quarterly losses of more than 1 percent were limited to Tucson, Las Vegas and New Orleans. The strong quarterly showing pushed annual rent change into positive territory for a total of 25 metros as of June, up from just seven as of 1st quarter. The nation's top 10 performers for rent growth proved to be an incredibly mixed bunch in terms of general characteristics. They stretched from the East Coast to the West Coast. Some were large, others small. A few maintained their momentum after doing reasonably well during the national downturn, whereas others regained considerable ground that was lost during 2008-2009. El Paso, the nation's strongest overall performer of late, remains red hot. Effective rents soared 7.7 percent during the year-ending June. If you're thinking El Paso can support some additional development, you're right. If you're thinking this tiny market can immediately support the number of units that appear to be at the starting...

Posted by on in Property Management
It’s a fact: Some neighborhoods are more safe than others. It’s also true that while a neighborhood may be quite safe at the time you purchase an investment property, things can go downhill at any time (happily, this phenomenon can work in the opposite direction as well). To make things even trickier, high crime rates aren’t necessarily limited to “bad” areas. Sometimes crime can trickle into nicer areas from surrounding neighborhoods, which is why it’s important to really do your homework before investing in a property—some hazards are simply not immediately obvious. If, for any of these reasons (or completely different ones), you find yourself with a property in an area that is suffering from regular criminal activity, there are steps you can take to help make your property a safer place for tenants to reside. Form a Neighborhood Watch ProgramThis is one of our favorite options, because it goes beyond just protecting your property and tackles the larger issue—making your entire neighborhood a safer, more enticing place to live. The results of accomplishing this are huge for you and include increasing property value and potentially lowering vacancy rates. If your neighborhood does not already have a Neighborhood Watch Program, it does take some effort to start up but, again, the payoff is big. Begin by advertising the group to neighbors through fliers and notices in local publications (such as alternative weekly newspapers and online publications), and through social networking services. Once you have interest, set up a meeting and devise...

Posted by on in Property Management
Property ManagementIncrease apartment rental rates in a recession? Preposterous, you say! Yes, it is - IF you have not been keeping up with the maintenance needs of your tenants and over all customer service. If your property management company has not been responding to the everyday ebb and flow of maintenance and upkeep of your investment property, than you can rest assured that when you post that 30 or 60 day "Change of Rental Terms" notice, that a series of "30 Day Notices" from your tenants will soon follow. What is the answer to raising rents in a tough apartment market such as Los Angeles? Responding to maintenance requests. The residents of your investment properties will always appreciate quick turn around of their maintenance requests and will remember such service when the it comes time to keep rents up to market. I am not talking about a super significant raise here folks - just a gentle increase to help you, the landlord, keep your NOI through these trying time. In my experience here at First Light Property Light Property Management, Los Angeles, a resident seldom moves out of a building for a subtle increase of 3% to 5%. Early on we did, however, find that if we as a property management team happened to have overlooked a resident's maintenance request, that this overlooked request was the FIRST thing they brought up when the rate increase letters went out. The outstanding issue was promptly resolved, but it would have been much easier on...

Posted by on in Property Management
  While almost every apartment market across the country has posted notably improved overall fundamentals during 2010, few can match the turnaround seen in Portland. The metro's stats looks good for both occupancy and rent change. And, perhaps most impressive of all, recovery is apparent in every single product niche across every single neighborhood. Portland's apartment occupancy rate stood at 95.8 percent as of June. That's still a little below the peak readings seen in 2006-2007, when occupancy hovered around the 97 percent mark. But, it's important to realize that 2006-2007 wasn't a normal period for the metro. Today's occupancy performance, in fact, is a full percentage point over the norm logged during the past decade as a whole. Occupancy stands near the 96 percent mark in every product age category throughout Portland's suburban markets and in the stabilized properties in the urban core. The only significant availability, then, is in the recent completions still moving through initial lease-up downtown, and those projects are making progress by leaps and bounds. The overall occupancy for developments built since 2000 in the urban core has soared from a low of about 73 percent in fall 2009 to a rate of 91.6 percent as of mid-2010. In another quarter or so, the newest completions seem likely to be essentially full. With those occupancy results, you'd expect Portland's apartment rents to be moving ahead considerably; and, in fact, they are. Effective pricing climbed 3.5 percent during the initial half of 2010, with that growth split...

Posted by on in Property Management
Creative Ways To Retain Residents At Renewal Time So often we focus on leasing and being creative with our marketing that we forget about Resident Retention. We think oh we don’t have to market our current residents they already live here at our community. That is the wrong thought process, marketing does not stop the moment they sign a lease, it’s a continuous thing. So let’s focus on some creative ways to market renewals and to get the current resident to stay a current resident. Especially now in these times when we are all competing for each other residents. I was reading a past issue of Rent and Retain magazine March/April 2006 and discover a fun list of 21 methods to deliver lease renewals. I tweaked some and added a little here and there! I really hope you enjoy this and have fun! There will be lots of more fun and creative ways to market current residents to stay coming your way soon! •Remember the first initial letter is to have all the information they need to renew their lease. You can still deliver it in a fun and creative way!  1)  Wanted Poster- This is great if you have a picture of your resident. Get some cream color paper to make it look aged. Scan the picture and write “WANTED-YOU to renew your lease!”  2)  “Seems Like Only Yesterday”- Do the same thing with the wanted poster but write “It Seems Like Only Yesterday that you moved in. We’ve had a...

Posted by on in Property Management
Nashville ranks among the U.S. apartment markets recording the most pronounced upturns in performance during 2010. Demand is coming in at very strong levels that well exceed deliveries, driving up occupancy quite rapidly and, in turn, stimulating rent growth.MPF Research's calculations show Nashville apartment absorption during the January-June 2010 time frame at nearly 4,200 units, compared to roughly 1,000 units of new supply. Apartment demand in Music City perhaps was boosted a bit by flooding that damaged a portion of the total housing stock in May, but the impact doesn't appear to be especially significant. Pointing to that result, apartment demand during the first half of 2010 proved substantial throughout the metro, not just in the neighborhoods where flooding occurred.Nashville's overall occupancy rate for apartments now has reached 94 percent, up 3.1 percentage points since bottoming at the end of 2009. Notable progress is occurring in all key submarkets except Sumner County, on the metro's far northeast side.Improved occupancy allowed apartment operators to boost effective rents at an impressive clip of 4 percent during 2010's first half, with most of that growth occurring specifically during 2nd quarter. Year-to-date increases erased the losses seen in 2009's last half, taking annual rent change just past the breakeven point at a positive figure of 0.2 percent.Building actually started recently on a couple of moderately-sized apartment communities totaling 311 units. However, the total stock under construction in the metro remains under control at just over 800 units, so it won't take much near-term demand to...