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Resident Retention: Recession-Proofing your Community

According to First Advantage SafeRent, year over year, 2008 vs. 2007, application volume has decreased nationally by 7.8% and this negative trend is consistent across A, B and C asset classes (http://fadvsaferent.com).  And RealFacts reported that rents decreased across the entire U.S., with occupancy dropping from 92.9% to 92.2%.  Talk about Gloom and Doom!  Things are not looking great. When faced with a shrinking applicant pool and net effective market rent decreases, retaining existing residents who are typically at higher rent levels becomes mission critical.   But check this out:   Annual Survey Respondent Renewal Intentions How Likely Will You Be to Renew Your Lease: Annual Survey Results   2008 2007 Change Very Likely 43.6% 43.6% 0.0% Somewhat Likely 28.0% 26.7% 1.3% Not Likely 16.4% 20.3% -3.9% Don't Know 11.5% 8.9% 2.6% Refused 0.2% 0.3% -0.2%  Source: SatisFacts Research (www.SatisFacts.com)   There’s an interesting opportunity presenting itself to those who will embrace it. The message that is loud and clear is that retention is the answer to recession-proof your community.  It is critical to hold on to the residents you have, as there are fewer and fewer prospects and rental applications coming through our doors.  With accelerated job losses and the subsequent move outs those losses produce, renters with job security become very valuable assets to property managers looking to reduce turnover costs and ride out the storm.  The national turnover rate has slightly declined, although it has been consistently high over the last six years ranging each year between 59%......
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Resident Retention: Low Cost / No Cost Strategies

Numbers? We Ain't Got No Stinking Numbers! So, you need to obtain permission to enter, track down a late rent payment, return a phone call, or place a pre-renewal phone call.  But wait! Their phone number isn't in the system. Surprised? You shouldn't be. The sad truth is that the average apartment community has contact information for only 50% of their residents, and much of that information is outdated.  Perhaps, as an industry, we have the mindset of, "Well, at least I know where they live!" The problem is that when issues come up and we need to contact them, we can't.  Calling information, searching through their paper rental application, searching the White Pages online... It's a waste of the staff's time - and time is money!  There's a simple, yet EXTREMELY effective solution. We ask the resident for their contact information.  Sounds crazy, I know. But snark aside, by setting an organizational standard, property managers can train the team to ask for or confirm the resident's contact information at every interaction.  The impact of this basic cultural change will astound you."Well hello Mrs. Jones. Yes, I can help you with that. Oh, I see that we do not have a current phone number for you. What's the best number to reach you? What's the best email address to reach you?"  "Thanks for calling Mr. Lee. Is this still the best number to reach you: 555-1234? I see we don't have an email address for you. What is your email address?"  For whatever reason, our leasing teams......
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Limitations in Construction Fair Housing Claims

Great news for multifamily developers: That statute of limitations for fair housing issues relating to construction and development are now limited to 2 years following a project's completion. http://www.multihousingnews.com/multihousing/content_display/industry-news/e3i7b7c9db010011facebb7686524233c21
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