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Are You Aware Of the 7 Year Rule In Background Checks

I have found that many are not aware of the 7 year rule when running a background check so I wanted to be sure you are all fully informed. The 7-year rule states that all civil suits/ judgments, non-conviction arrest records, and paid tax liens can’t be reported in a background investigation after 7 years. This rule applies to every state in the U.S., some instances, states chose to take it even further with their regulations, such as in California, New York, and Kentucky, where non-convictions can’t be reported at all, except for pending charges. Most criminal convictions are not governed by the 7-year rule. (see this chart for some of the exceptions) Since the 7-year rule is a federal guideline it applies to all states for non-criminal convictions and to many states for criminal convictions, you may find that your background check provider will only provide information according to those parameters. People earning over $75,000 annually may see arrest information longer than seven years in the past included on their background reports due to a Salary Exception, but this also depends on the state. Before requesting the report from the agencies, employers are required to provide the applicant with a clear disclaimer of disclosure and obtain the applicant’s written consent of the query. The employer is also required to inform the applicant about the types of information that will be requested in the report. If the employer decides to take adverse action as a result of the report, they are requi......
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Mike Rowe’s Brilliant Lesson for Finding Your Career: DON’T Follow Your Passion!

Mike Rowe’s Brilliant Lesson for Finding Your Career:  DON’T Follow Your Passion!

We have all heard that phrase, haven’t we?  Follow  your passion and you will never be unhappy with your job.  Mike Rowe may just be my favorite keynote speaker at any NAA Apartmentalize Conference (formerly Education Conference and Expo), and there have been several I have absolutely adored.  His entire speech had me hanging on the edge of my seat in disgust as he detailed out his trip into the sewers of Boston, but this one piece of advice really stuck with me:  Don’t follow your passion. We have heard the opposite all of our lives:  Follow Your Dreams!  So hearing the opposite sounds just wrong.  But as he dug into the concept, I found myself completely agreeing.  The basic premise was that what we are passionate about doesn’t always match up with what we are actually good at.  So while it might sound great to think that we can all somehow achieve the highest echelons in whatever we happen to choose, that path may not be realistic.  He gave the example of so many American Idol contestants who, no matter the amount of passion they had about their singing career, only could muster a screeching, off-key mess.  For those who will never be able to hit the right pitch, is it really the best advice to advocate that they continue to pursue a career singing?  Suggesting that these poor souls continue to focus on their passion is just not in tune with reality, and it could be damaging as they foreg......
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Six Ways to Build a Culture of True Corporate Social Responsibility

Six Ways to Build a Culture of True Corporate Social Responsibility
Being a good corporate citizen has always been the right thing to do. But, let's be honest: many companies haven't viewed making their communities better places to live as part of their core missions. Now, however, practicing corporate social responsibility (CSR) isn't something companies have the luxury of doing only when they feel like it. These days, CSR is a necessity. Stated simply, our employees and our residents are demanding it. According to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, 91 percent of millennials would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality. Additionally, 63 percent of millennial women and 45 percent of millennial men say their decisions about job offers are impacted by the employer's CSR work, according to the Six-Month Research Update to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, a study conducted by Achieve. So what should a meaningful CSR program look like at your property management company? In summary, it entails much more than a company making periodic charitable donations, although such donations are certainly praiseworthy. True CSR is an all-encompassing initiative to care for employees, residents and the communities in which a company operates. Below are some suggestions on building a culture of true CSR: Offer paid time off to volunteer. Providing employees with paid time off to volunteer for an organization or a cause of their choice is a great way to both help the surrounding community and support the cases that are near and dear to the hearts......
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Dress Codes Remain Important in the Apartment Industry

Dress Codes Remain Important in the Apartment Industry
It seems almost impossible to imagine now, but there was a time when people dressed up to fly. During the 1950s and 60s, men donned suites and women wore dresses while traveling on airplanes. I bring this up not to grumble about the sweat pants and flip-flops you often see on today's airline passengers, but to point out how much more casual Americans are today about their attire. The work outfits that were once reserved for casual Fridays are now seen every day in some office environments. In such an era, property managers might be wondering if having a dress code for their onsite leasing teams is really important. In my view, the answer is, resoundingly, "yes." Dress codes remain essential to creating a professional environment. When team members dress in a professional manner, they are more likely to behave in a professional manner, and they are more likely to command the respect of prospects and visitors. At ROSS, we have a fairly strict and detailed dress code. For starters, no visible body piercings, except for earrings, and no visible body tattoos are allowed. In the leasing office, women are to wear navy blue, black or gray business suits or pantsuits; skirts must be of a conservative business length (not more than 2 inches above the knee). Men have to wear navy blue, black or gray business suits with buttoned dress shirts. This may seem old-fashioned to some, but our employees really respond to our dress code and recognize how important......
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Boosting Employee Wellness

Boosting Employee Wellness
To build productive and thriving onsite teams – that's the goal of leaders everywhere.  But the creation of high-performing employees involves more than simply training them for their specific jobs. Companies have to truly care about their employees' overall well-being. Working in multifamily can be extremely fulfilling, but it's also demanding and comes with no small amount of stress. Property management firms have an obligation to help their employees take care of themselves and be the best version of themselves they can be. Below are suggestions for boosting employee wellness. • Promote physical fitness. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever, and team members who are physically fit are bound to be happier, more energetic and more productive. Provide discounts to memberships to local gyms or implement a gym membership reimbursement program.  Hold friendly, low-key competitions among team members to see who can exercise the most during a certain timeframe and offer a great prize for the winner. If your company does this, it might want to give employees digital step trackers or incorporate some other type of technology to track team members' progress. Also, encourage team members to share their progress in these competitions on social media, as this can help employees within your company connect with each other and create bonds that foster wellness.  Beyond such competitions, urge your employees to take regular walking or exercise breaks during the day. Also, consider bringing in nutritionists to speak with employees about healthy eating, and make sure your onsite vending machines offer som......
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The Boston Marathon, and Why You Shouldn't Pit Your Leasing Agents Against Each Other

This year's Boston Marathon was no joke.

It was cold. It was rainy. It was windy. It was in Boston! ("Boo Boston! Hiss!" said the Yankee fans.)

Professional runners dropped out of the prestigious race because of hypothermia symptoms. In April!

Desiree Linden, the winner of the women's title (and the first American woman to win the race in 33 years, which is neither here nor there in regards to this post, but is definitely awesome, and therefore worth a mention), almost quit herself. According to reports, she wasn't feeling well at the beginning. So when her teammate Shalane Flanagan had to make a porta potty stop in the middle of the race, Linden waited for her so she could help her get back to the front. (Because women always have to go to the bathroom in groups, right? I'm allowed to say it because I'm a woman.) She figured she might as well help her teammate if she couldn't help herself.

Despite that delay, Linden won. And, with her help, Flanagan secured seventh place. Not too shabby.

Look at that teamwork! Linden could have easily left her friend in the dust. Would she still have won? Maybe.

But maybe not.

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Career Advancement Lessons Hidden in Plain Sight!

Today I want to talk about lessons in career advancement hidden in plain sight!  When an industry leader is speaking during a conference education session, or maybe during a webinar, that person is not only imparting specific tips relating to the topic, but they are also sharing a hidden lesson, showing you exactly how they rose through the ranks in their career.  Do you know how to find those hidden bits of wisdom? I’m not sure when I started realizing there were hidden lessons embedded in our webinars, but one that really stood out was a webinar with Chad Moulin.  Chad is a leader on the maintenance front within the multifamily industry, and one webinar he shared a simple tip about keeping a glass of water on his night stand when he was on call.  Therefore, when a resident called in at two in the morning, he would quickly take a swig to clear out his throat, so when he then answered the phone, he would sound awake, alert, and eager to handle their issue. As I heard the tip, I thought that was a great idea to improve that resident interaction, but even more so, I asked myself, “who even thinks of ideas like that?”  In other words, ideas on how to sound more positive and energetic on a 2am call would never even occur to most people.  Frankly, most people are not exactly thrilled with the prospect of being on call in the first place, so they probably think ......
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Apartment Staffing 101: Don’t Hire Nice People

Apartment Staffing 101: Don’t Hire Nice People
Apartment staffing can be tricky business. Over the years, I have managed and hired hundreds of Leasing Agents. It can be tough trying to find the right candidate. Early in my career, I made many mistakes when it came to hiring.  Some candidates I thought would be great turned out to be all talk and no action, while others who I thought we be just “ok,” turned out to be excellent employees.  But one of the biggest mistakes I made was presuming that because a candidate was “nice,” that they would be a great Leasing Agent.  However, what I found is that while “nice” individuals are perfectly acceptable, all of the “great” leasing agents I ever hired were very “kind” people.   What's The Difference Between "Kind" and Being "Nice"? It's a common misconception that being "nice" and being "kind" are the same thing. People tend to confuse the two. They are in fact two separate traits that can make a big difference in an employee's performance.  Individuals that are "nice," tend to be very polite, are well-liked, show common courtesy and are very personable. Most of the agents I come across fall into this category.  On the other hand, "kind" individuals are the ones that always show empathy for others, try to help wherever they can and always seem to put other people's interest above their well being. This shows in their sales techniques (i.e., connecting with renters), their role within the organization, their willingness to help fellow employees and most importantly, t......
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Helping the Homeless During the Holidays

Common holiday traditions involve spending time with family and friends, exchanging gifts and feasting on lavish meals. Yet, this is not a realistic scene for a staggering portion of the American population. Overall, 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. These individuals don’t have homes to bundle up in during the cold weather; instead, they’re sleeping on the street, in their car, in a motel room or a community shelter. Many of them won't get to enjoy a festive homemade meal. While it’s true the holiday season is about spending time with family and friends, it's also about giving to others. Here are just a few ways you and your apartment company can help those experiencing homelessness during the holidays:Donate itemsGiving food, blankets, pillows, towels and clothes directly to those experiencing homeless or to the shelters that serve them is one effective way to alleviate the suffering of the homeless. Also, consider making and carrying around care bags with small essentials – socks, snacks, bottled water, soap, hats, gloves – so that you can give them to a homeless person you see asking for help. These bags are great to make with your kids or even with residents and co-workers to help build upon the notion of helping others. Show kindnessThis is a simple, yet effective way to lift the spirits of those experiencing homelessness. Do you walk by those experiencing homelessness without looking at them? Stop, look them in the eye and s......
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What Property Managers Can Learn from the New ‘Bachelor'

ABC finally announced who will be their new Bachelor—Arie Luyendyk Jr., a race car driver and former Bachelorette runner up from 2012. But, why am I telling you this? Of course you've been obsessively checking Twitter for days and watching Bachelor in Paradise to play amateur detective and getting into heated debates with your spouse about the merits of Eric (his suggestion, an OK one) vs. Dean (who knocked himself out after his treatment of poor Kristina) vs. Jack Stone (just me?), right? (Apparently I've come a long way since I've been a The Bachelor apologist, and learned some property management tips from it nonetheless.)

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