Best Screening Practices to Minimize Risk

Property Management Insider has a nice, 7-part list of the best screening practices to minimize risk. Here are just a couple:

2. Reduce subjective decision-making at the community level
Use automatic approvals based on your company’s rental criteria to simplify the move-in process and reduce individual decision-making, thereby reducing fair housing violation risk. Reserve manual approvals for borderline applicants and restrict the ability to perform them to authorized users…

4. Separate criteria for applicants and guarantors
Bad applicants should not be buried under exceptional guarantors. After all, the guarantor isn’t the one who’ll be living in your community…

Here’s a link to the full list, which also includes some tips about setting criteria customized for each community.

NAA Whitepaper on Criminal Conviction Screening Policies

The National Apartment Association has just released a white paper titled Criminal Conviction Screening Policies: Best Practices to Avoid Disparate Impact Liability and it is a valuable resource for management companies evaluating their screening processes in the wake of HUD’s guidance last month. The white paper is divided into two parts: Part I deals with how to design criminal conviction policies so they are not susceptible to disparate impact claims of discrimination, and Part II explains how the concept of disparate impact liability emerged under the FHA and why HUD’s guidance has made screening policies a subject of increased interest for housing providers and advocacy groups.

This is truly a good resource, but as they write in the conclusion, the thinking on this issue is sure to evolve over time:

The analysis is admittedly an early assessment of the intersection between criminal screening policies and the HUD disparate impact rule approach. The way both HUD and the courts treat these types of disparate impact claims may (and, indeed, is likely to) evolve over the coming years as courts provide precedent for interpretation of the HUD Guidance and as HUD or Congress enacts further clarifying guidance, regulations, rules or statutes.

In the meantime, here’s a handy table of Do’s and Don’ts they provided in their introduction:

DosDontsGraphic

Here’s a link to the full PDF version of the paper.

Resident Puppy

An apartment community in Washington, DC has a unique amenity:

Emmy is a 9-month-old English bulldog who lives in the 2M leasing office. Living up to her unofficial title of Puppy Ambassador, Emmy’s days are full of greeting visitors, playing with building residents and taking naps in an Emmy-sized replica of the 2M building. At night, she goes home with the building’s leasing manager, who lives on-site.

“Here in D.C. there are lots of people who are transplants, don’t have family and work insane hours. Not everyone can own a pet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the perks,” explained Holli Beckman, vice president of marketing at WC Smith, 2M’s developer. “Emmy helps give a sense of community you really want as a renter.”

In addition to being available for walks and romps in the dog park, Emmy also helps host community yappy hours. Some prospective residents ask to meet the pup the moment they walk in, and others find it hard to leave — especially when she lifts her paw to wave goodbye.

If you decide to have your own puppy ambassador you might even be able to get it subsidized since it seems like a natural sponsorship opportunity for a company like Carolina PooPrints!

New Software Tool for Evaluating Leasing Professionals

A Raleigh-based company has launched a software product that seeks to help managers evaluate and place leasing professionals:

Low retention rates in leasing offices have been plaguing the multifamily industry for decades, though nobody knows exactly why.

But with tons of metrics available, Raleigh, N.C.-based Leasalytics is hoping to solve that puzzle, by offering a more transparent view of leasing consultant performance.

The new software aims to give managers a better handle on which leasing agent would succeed in a certain environment, on who the right leasing agent is for a given time and place.

Read the full article here.

Good News for Users of AANC’s Lease Online

Here’s some good news for all PTAA members who use the AANC lease online:

Blue Moon Forms Online for AANC customers can now capture signatures electronically for Lease documents using the Blue Moon Electronic Signature System. Electronic Signature functionality is a value added service available to AANC Online customers. Using the E-Signature functionality does not have any additional cost associated with its use beyond the standard cost of generating the Lease document. To learn how to activate this newly added feature to your account please click here. If you have any additional questions please contact your local affiliate or Blue Moon at tech@bluemoon.com or (512) 322-0999