How Credit Privacy Numbers (CPN) Impact Screening

NAA posted an interesting article about CPNs that explains what they are and why apartment managers need to be aware of them.

Through ads targeting high-risk individuals, groups selling CPNs entice individuals with claims of a clean credit slate and most commonly, the car, house or apartment that is beyond reach. For approximately $150 to $250, a group such as CPN Direct will provide the buyer with a “clean” 9-digit CPN which can be used in place of their existing SSN on credit, loan and lease applications. Included within each CPN package are credit lines that have been opened and maintained to establish good credit — often in the 750 range — for the buyer.

Using CPNs in place of an SSN in a financial transaction is a federal crime, according to the Federal Trade Commission — and for good reason. CPNs are directly tied to predatory identity theft practices that target children, the elderly and those incarcerated for long periods of time, and aim to build credit off of the victims’ stolen Social Security numbers. With each victim group, it often is years after the events that the crime is recognized, often crippling the victims’ financial wellbeing…

Unlike other fraud schemes such as chip reading, which focuses on flash scams, CPNs and Synthetic Identity fraud are designed for major transactions, including apartment rentals. While the cost of a resident skipping or being evicted varies greatly by market, the cost to prematurely turn an apartment is universally a burden of time and finances for a management company. Compounding the risk of fraudulent lease activity are secondary risks to premise liability that all rental housing operators must factor in.

Turnover Rates Hit Historic Low

Renters are staying put at a historically high rate. In the Executive Summary for their 2018 Income & Expense Survey, the National Apartment Association reported that:

…turnover rates sank to their lowest point on record (data available from 2000) at 46.8 percent. Owners strived to lower turnover costs by focusing on resident retention and increasing renewal rates. The U.S. Census Bureau reported a similar historic low in renter mobility rates in 2017 (21.7 percent) compared to 35.2 percent in 1988.

Source National Apartment Association

Key Takeaways from NAA’s Income & Expense Survey

The National Apartment Association recently published the results of their 2018 Income & Expense Survey, and offered some key takeaways in an Executive Summary:

  • Operating expenses increased by 2.1 percent, the slowest rate of growth since 2013.
  • Net Operating Income (NOI) grew by 5.8 percent, up 2 percentage points over 2016, impressive amid slowing rent growth.
  • Increases in payroll expenses were in line with wage growth in other private sector industries, averaging 2.4 percent.
  • The number of market-rent garden-style units per full-time employee increased for the third consecutive year to 44.3. The challenges of an ongoing labor shortage within the industry likely kept some communities understaffed throughout the year. Increased pressures on wages can be expected in 2018 and should be evident in next year’s survey results.
  • Once again, property taxes were responsible for the largest increase in expenses, up 5.3 percent year-over-year. The average property tax bill was $1,833 per unit and represented one-third of expenses. Fifteen years ago, property taxes comprised less than one-quarter of operating outlays. Contesting assessed values has become commonplace for many owners feeling the squeeze from skyrocketing taxes.

Click here to read the full Executive Summary and click here to order a copy of the survey results, which provide breakdowns for each metro market.

Preparing Your Property for Hurricane Florence

It’s looking more certain that Hurricane Florence will be impacting the Triad area – our homes and the homes of our residents. You can find updated information on the predicted track of the hurricane HERE.

The National Apartment Association has provided many resources on their website for addressing emergencies and disasters. We have also gathered a few key tips for preparing from the website and listed them below.

Take Forecasts Seriously
Many use prior experience with hurricanes to judge whether or not to ride it out, but each storm is different. Pay close attention to the National Weather Service and local law enforcement.

Give residents an emergency preparation plan
Consider distributing a pamphlet with precautions to take, including information about food spoilage from power outages and clearing patios of furniture and projectiles.

Secure your community
Trim trees, lower the levels of swimming pools and turn the pumps off, open electronic access gates, stow pool furniture, umbrellas, or anything that can become a projectile in high wind.

Own a generator or gas-powered chainsaw
There can be no predicting how long it may take for power to return or for the city to respond to fallen trees and limbs.

Stockpile necessities
Have residents fill their bathtubs with water and stock up on batteries and flashlights. Remind residents of the danger of open flame or gas indoors.

Make sure you have your residents’ contact information
You’ll need to alert residents on the condition of the community. Also, consider posting updates on your website or social media.

Why Seniors are Choosing to Live in Apartments and What That Means for Managers

PTAA hosted a Community Manager Roundtable in Winston-Salem on June 18 which featured a presentation from Corinne Auman of Choice Connections of NC. Her presentation was focused on explaining why apartments are becoming more and more popular for retirees, and what that means for community managers. Here’s some of what we learned:

Why we’re seeing a rise in the number of elderly residents living in apartments:

  • Growing (some would say exploding) elderly population. 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day.
  • Maintenance-free living
  • Financial constraints. Independent living communities are significantly more expensive than most market-rate apartments.
  • Not wanting to live with all those “old people.”
  • Not seeing health conditions as serious, or unlikely to improve, and as a result, believing that they don’t need the additional services provided by senior living facilities.

Corinne also provided some tips on how to recognize some indicators that a resident might be struggling or need professional care services, as well as a list of resources to which community managers can refer the resident or the resident’s family members.

We will likely have Corinne lead another session in Greensboro in the near future so keep an eye out for the calendar announcement.

7 Sales Tips for Leasing Professionals

Multifamily Insiders has a good article about the challenges faced by leasing professionals, and they end it with seven helpful tips for developing a prospect-centered approach to leasing. Here’s three of them:

Have a conversation, not an interrogation. Too often we’re asking question, question, question, question. Interview. Interview. Interrogate. This is a very scary thing when you’re on the buying side. Have a conversation with the person that you’re talking with.

Focus on the prospective resident. Pay attention to the prospect and treat them like a person. Don’t treat them like a guest card. Don’t treat them like a tour. Don’t treat them like a number. Focus on them, pay attention to them, and listen to what they are saying. Interact with them the way you would want to be treated if you were in their situation. Make them feel like they matter, and you’ll see a tremendous difference.

Start and finish the tour strong. Your prospective resident will be impacted most by what you do at the beginning of the tour (it “frames” the rest of the tour) and the last thin you do (it’s what they’ll most likely remember).

You can find the rest of the tips here.

Emotional Service Animal Tips from the Airlines?

Property managers aren’t alone in having to deal with the emotional support animal issue. There might be something to learn from how the airlines are approaching the issue:

It recently announced changes to increase scrutiny about its passengers flying with service or comfort animals — Delta says it flew 250,000 of such animals last year, which was a 150 percent increase over 2016. Incidents reported of those animals biting or defecating during flights had nearly doubled since 2016.

“Delta emphasized safety concerns in detailing the increased documentation owners that will be required to provide about their animals,” Brulliard writes. “But its action also was spurred by a widespread perception among airlines and disability rights advocates that some fliers are fraudulently taking advantage of the federal law to bring untrained pets of myriad species into crowded cabins.”
Sound familiar?…

“Passengers with trained service animals will need to submit a veterinary health form at least 48 hours before travel to the airline’s new ‘Service Animal Support Desk,’ ” Brulliard writes. “Customers with emotional-support animals or psychiatric service animals must do the same but also must provide a letter from a doctor or mental-health professional and a signed document saying the animal is trained to behave in public.”



Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

It would surprise no one to learn that there’s a tight job market in the rental housing world, but you might be surprised at exactly how many open positions there are in the industry. According to new research from the National Apartment Association, there are about 4,000 open positions nationwide. The largest number of open positions can be found in the “Property Management” category, and not far behind that is the “Maintenance Category.”

Source: National Apartment Association

As you can see the largest number of openings by job title is for Maintenance Technicians – shocking right? – and the researchers were kind enough to dig a little deeper into that position’s data:

Source: National Apartment Association

All of this data is derived from a new monthly NAAEI product called Apartment Jobs Snapshot. Here’s more info about it from NAA’s site:

The Apartment Jobs Snapshot is a new monthly product from NAAEI highlighting labor force trends in the rental housing industry. It examines the total job posting trends by position, category and geography, as well as providing fresh and detailed updates for industry employers. The snapshot will feature enhanced quarterly editions with more expansive data, starting in April 2018.

How to Handle Holiday Package Rush

NAA’s Industry Insider has a timely article about how property managers should handle those last 72 hours of package deliveries before Christmas:

With Dec. 24 falling on a Sunday, and with the largest carriers (UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service) having announced last week their potential challenges to meeting retailers’ “promised” delivery dates, the situation for communities has become one of reminding residents about office hours and their late-arrival options such as bringing them to the doorstep or gaining approval to set them inside the apartment.

Based on informal inquiries by NAA, most apartment communities will stay open a bit later on Saturday Dec. 23 and many will open for part of Dec. 24.

Others are working with carriers, encouraging them to drop packages on Dec. 24 at the apartment—not the leasing office…

On a recent Facebook discussion, Megan Rhines Felten ‎Property Manager, ‎Mandel Group, Milwaukee, writes, “Our office is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we sweet-talked our delivery drivers into setting the packages at each resident’s door. The delivery people do not know this yet, but they’re getting a Starbucks gift card and some home-baked treats as a thank you from us.”…

Mary Gwyn, CPM, Apartment Dynamics: “We’ve sent notices to all our communities reminding them of our hours. We send text alerts when we receive a package, and remind them that we can put the package inside their doors. If the package is marked perishable, we’ll also call if they don’t respond by text.”


Tips for Conducting a Price Review

Multifamily Insider has a nice “how-to” for conducting pricing reviews with your team. From the article:

Weekly or bi-weekly pricing review calls are a great forum to learn more information on why a property is or isn’t leasing. But sometimes when helping teams the answer isn’t as simple as just “the price”. You may be surprised what may arise as part of these regular communications. Here are three lessons learned from leading these pricing review calls: 

1. Managing the Fear is Very Important:

One of the main reasons for having a pricing call is to help the operations team understand your revenue management system’s pricing recommendations. Additionally, these calls assist in soliciting important feedback from the sites. …

2. Over-Amenitizing

Amenities are often initially established with a piecemeal approach. On the pricing calls, we look at pricing holistically. While all of those amenities may have made sense when determining the values one by one, stacking them together may out-price most of your demand…

3. Listen for Subtle Cues

Let’s add psychologist to the list of revenue manager qualities, because the phrase, “tell me more about that”, should be a common request as one sleuths out the implications of seemingly innocuous comments heard on pricing calls.