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Put a Positive Spin on a Not So Positive Situation

 

There will be times when the office is devoid of laughter. Those times when we’ve got to get down to business, have tough conversations, and reflect on the task at hand. In times like those, “the words we use during them, can define a situation”. This doesn’t go to say you shouldn’t be positive throughout them though. We all have a choice when it comes to approaching tough scenarios and the choice we should make, is to take the optimistic route and set a better path for the interaction.

 

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Top 5 "Kid Friendly" Amenities for Apartment Communities

Top 5 "Kid Friendly" Amenities for Apartment Communities
I recently posed a question to a group of developers...What if you started looking at your communities from the standpoint of children being the residents, instead of the adults? Now obviously, I'm not talking about a community where every unit is filled with slides and see-saws or kids roaming the grounds like Lords of the Flies. But it's a question to highlight what can be done if the primary motivation for the planning of amenity space, marketing and the overall feel of a community was done with children in mind.With 33% of all renter households (14.3 million) having minor children, it's an important question. And as more and more residents with children decide to rent instead of buy, having a true "family friendly" community can become a huge differentiator in the marketing and retention of tenants.So what would a community that is designed around the family and actual children look like?Onsite Daycare This may be a game changer when it comes to "family friendly" communities. One of the most significant issues for families is finding quality child care close to their residence. Having an on-site daycare within your community solves many problems for working parents and could be a tremendous asset to your residents. We see partnering with a local daycare to open in a retail section of your community or underused space. You get a great tenant that genuinely adds value to your community, and your residents get a one-of-a-kind amenity. On-Demand Babysitting With services like Care.com, you can set up a "portal" for your residents......
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Fair Housing Compliance - What Qualifies As A Senior Living Community?

Fair Housing Compliance - What Qualifies As A Senior Living Community?
What qualifies as a senior living community? An increasing number of housing developments appear to be marketing themselves as "Active Adult" or "Empty Nester" communities.  How can that be?  "Adult Only" housing was outlawed in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan signed the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) into law. Familial Status Exemption Among the important changes to the original Fair Housing Act was the addition of "familial status" as a protected class. In 1988, an exemption was added to the familial status rules for properties that are able to qualify as "Housing for Older Persons." The result? Exempt properties are immune from complaints of familial status discrimination. Still, nearly three decades later, many communities that want to exclude children seem unaware or ignore the fact that they first must qualify for an exemption to be compliant with the law.How do housing providers qualify to meet the exemption? At least 80 percent of its units must be occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older. OR,  if at least one person 62 or older resides in each apartment home (100% of the homes), it is also considered a senior living community Properties are required to demonstrate their "intent" to be "Housing for Older Persons." Required Intent How do enforcement agencies determine intent? They will look at the totality of facts. This would include the property’s policies, procedures, leases, advertising and so on. The determination of the required intent is purely a subjective opinion. And in at least one s......
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I Got Called Something Offensive on a Ratings and Review Site!

I Got Called Something Offensive on a Ratings and Review Site!
Have you ever been called something offensive on a ratings and reviews site? I have! The one that stands out the most to me is the time when a resident's complaint was triggered because I said he needed to pay his rent by the deadline or I would initiate the legal process. If I remember correctly he felt meant that he didn't need to pay his rent by the deadline because of a specific personal situation that he felt negated his requirement to do so.  I was the assistant manager at the time, so I had this resident's situation forwarded up the chain of command to get reviewed. As I initially thought, this person's situation did not enable him to pay his rent when he felt he should be able to and I communicated this to the resident. Well, the resident wasn't happy with this and went on a ratings and reviews site and called me a "Nazi" and criticized all of us too.  What the heck? When I first read the review I was equal parts upset and it also made me laugh. It upset me, I think for obvious reasons, as I felt that I was very reasonable with the resident, had his situation reviewed (even when I knew that he was not going to get what he asked for), and I hated being called a "Nazi." And I also had to laugh because his comment was so nonsensical, so over-the-top, so ridiculous that I didn't know what else......
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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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How and Why You Should Respond to Negative and Positive Online Reviews

How and Why You Should Respond to Negative and Positive Online Reviews
Because teams tend to focus on damage control when it comes to negative reviews, responding to positive reviews are often sidelined.  After all, responding to positive feedback is often sidelined as many times the focus is on damage control for negative reviews. How many times has an ecstatic review gone viral? Whether renters are reading a positive or a negative review, responses surely have an impact. 52.3% of prospects feel communities have great customer service and 50.6% of prospects feel communities really care about their residents, according to our 2017 Online Renter Study. Although the reviewer may not return back to read a community’s response, the benefits to responding to reviews is twofold. A thoughtful, engaged and authentic response will attract new renters as well as boost retention rates which can have a profound effect on the community’s bottom line. Follow these 4 simple steps to craft a well-rounded response STEP 1 – Examine ·        Read the review in its entirety and alert team members of any possible areas of improvement or areas of success. STEP 2 – Acknowledge ·        Pinpoint areas in the review to acknowledge. Address the issues specifically and avoid any canned responses. STEP 3 – Market ·        Look for marketing opportunities to reiterate in the review response. Remember people will be reading your responses for year years to come – don’t miss out on a chance to promote your community. STEP 4 – Respond ·        Respond to the review authentically and honestly. Leaving your name and contact information in the response.  ......
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Make your Workplace a Better Place to Work

Workplace Interactions Wesley Aleshire BlogLet’s explore the importance of workplace communications by highlighting how to create positive relationships in your workplace. Let’s start with interactions with your co-workers. We’re talking about communication; obviously some of which will be non-verbal, such as a smile, a nod, or other small gestures like that. But we’re also talking about direct, good old fashioned, work banter, chatter, and water cooler talk!   First and foremost, talking with your co-workers. This could be the language you use around them or toward them. How can we harness the power of speaking with someone to improve workplace communication, create positive relationships, and show self-confidence? How about this for starters? "Good Morning!"   Yes. Good Morning. The simplest, most basic form of a greeting you could offer to a co-worker could also be one of the most powerful, sparking positive emotions that starts the day off on the right foot. Go ahead, give it a shot with someone close by. If you’re reading this in the afternoon or evening use that greeting instead.    Did you smile while greeting them? If you smiled, you just helped usher in the second strategy for building and strengthening workplace relationships. Smile. It’s not something we always feel like doing, but it’s beneficial in one way or another and will always pair well with that “Good Morning” greeting. You see, your smile makes you appear more approachable (even when through clenched teeth), and as a result, your co-workers might begin to feel more comfortable around you.   Another tactic which plays well into the morning greet......
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Top 5 Amenities Renters REALLY Want (and 5 they don't)

Top 5 Amenities Renters REALLY Want (and 5 they don't)
Everyone in the industry these days is talking about amenities. What renters want, what they don't, and what they will want in the future. The problem is, most developers aren't listening to the actual renters. Over my career, I have spoken with 100's if not 1000's of renters, listening to their wants and needs for a place to call home. Contrary to popular belief, not every renter is a millennial who wants a smoothie bar in their bathroom. The vast majority of renters have simple needs in a building or community when it comes to amenities. Real Closet Space When I say "real," I think we all know what we are talking about. Not the closets with one bar that can fit a shirt and jeans. We're talking about walk-in closets or ones with built-in storage. Renters these days are older or moving from established households and have more clothing. Many developers are "afraid" to take a portion of a bedroom to enlarge a closet, but I can tell you from first-hand experience, I think most of us would like larger closets and a smaller bedroom. More Storage This is a must-have for most renters these days. Unlike prior years, when renters were younger with very few things, today's renters are older and have amassed a lot of items. It's important to give residents enough space to make a difference, especially when units are small. I've never seen a renter say "I'm going to give up all my possessions so I can live in......
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Managing Racial Allegations in Online Reviews

The discourse about racism has penetrated almost every industry, and the apartment industry is no exception. Starbucks, H&M, and Roseanne Barr are among the more visible brands/personalities embroiled in these controversies in recent months. You don’t want your company or property to face the same challenges and their consequences. Today, residents will vent their concerns online, accusing the onsite staff or management company of engaging in discriminatory behavior. A typical complaint may include feeling belittled or demeaned by a team member because of race.Following are the common racial allegations and how to deal with them. Racial profiling Residents criticize one or more staff members of racially profiling them. Often a resident of color shares feeling marginalized due to the tone, attitude, and/or body language of a staff member. There may be a more explicit charge of name calling or using racial slurs. Sometimes, residents express delays in service requests as a factor of their race. Discriminatory enforcement of community policy Residents of color, sometimes, allege that onsite staff arbitrarily enforce community policies based on race. They express that staff imposes restrictions on them and not on “white” residents. For example, smoking on premises is disregarded for certain residents while residents of color receive a violation letter. In reviews, residents have accused a manager of simply showing more courtesy and friendliness to certain people and not others – who happen to be people of color. Neighbors are racist Another type of racist allegation is when residents accuse their fellow neighbors of being ra......
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What is $.32 Cents Worth?

I’m not much on employee reviews, not because reviews in and of themselves are “bad.” Rather, reviews seem so subjective and one-sided and in some cases, oriented toward punishment. No matter if an employee is asked (required) to fill out a self-review, the only words in the review that matter are what the boss writes. I’ve talked with many team members who, when offered the chance to write a response to their annual review, refuse to do so because they say, “No, it works against me. I know how that works. If I disagree I sound defensive.” When they don’t add anything verbally or written, has there really been a healthy exchange of feedback? Recently, a property management company announced to me they were changing from annual reviews based on time of hire and going to an annual review process to be completed by the end of the first quarter. All reviews will result in ratings of 0-4 with the majority of employees being rated a 2, meaning they would receive no more than a 2% increase. Accordingly, there would be only rare instances of someone achieving a rating of 3 and no one would ever be good enough to receive the superstar rating of 4. One may achieve a 3 or 4 on one area (and the very lengthy self-review itself must be completed and turned into one’s boss a full week or two prior to the scheduled review date) although that will not change the overall rating. It will still be a ......
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