Posts Tagged ‘AppFolio’

Understanding Tenant Psychology

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

tenant psychologyIf you’re having trouble connecting with your residents, it might be communication error. According to nationally recognized body language expert Jan Hargrave, and many other professionals who study personality and motivational factors, only 7% of all communication is verbal.  It really isn’t the words you say that creates a lasting impression, it is how you say them, your posture and your tone.

Millions of dollars are spent each year on marketing research and efforts to discover what motivates buyers. Residential property research shows that renters want convenience, access to public transportation, open spaces and a safe place that feels like home. One thing that all of those needs have in common is an emotional connection. Understanding how a resident feels about your property (and the world in general) will help you build a stronger relationship with them.

Studying body language reveals some universal clues about individual personalities. While this isn’t an exact science, posture, facial expressions, subtle changes in tone or inflection and gait provide valuable insight to better understand your renters.

Hargrave says that a majority of all communication is non-verbal. Here are a few examples of how you can adjust your body language and interpret what your tenant is trying to tell you when words aren’t enough.

Open and Accepting

A person that stands straight, smiles, makes good eye contact and angles his or her body slightly toward you is generally open to communication and comfortable with the environment. She is more prone to reach out for a handshake. Most people identify this person as friendly and outgoing.  This type of tenant normally says what she means and expects you to do the same.

Shy and Awkward

A shy individual often lacks confidence. He rarely holds direct eye contact, avoids touching – sometimes is uncomfortable shaking hands – and creates barriers by folding arms across the chest, turning slightly away from you or grasping a book or other item in front of him.  You can put this person at ease by encouraging him to tell you what he needs to feel comfortable. Although community gatherings and parties may sound appealing, he will often be more motivated to look for apartments away from the crowd.

Aggressive or Angry

An aggressive personality type is often easy to spot. Avoids eye contact, angles the upper body away from you, generally has a classic “smirk” on the face, and walks with a swagger or extremely heavy foot step. These same clues also indicate an arrogant personality type. Your best strategy for communication with these personalities is to remain calm, let them feel like they are leading the conversation and avoid conflict by restating their needs to confirm you understand before adding new information.

Experts say that 38% of communication is expressed via tone or inflection. Listening for changes in the voice helps differentiate an aggressive personality from arrogant personality.

Personality Profiles Help Build Rapport

Regardless of the personality type involved, most people display common body language in response to stimuli. A slight, sudden lift of the eye-brow indicates heightened interest, biting one’s lip shows hesitation or nervousness, and standing with one foot slightly in front of the other reveals the person is assuming dominance in the situation.

Understanding a tenant’s personality helps build rapport because it improves communication, if you use the right techniques. Watch for subtle clues and respond with appropriate responses. For example, if your shy, awkward resident doesn’t want to renew the lease, it might be where her apartment is located in the complex. Before she walks out the door, discuss other apartments. If you can get her to open up, she might tell you that she really would like to be closer to the action, even if she doesn’t engage very often.

Tying it Together

Offering extraordinary amenities, onsite retail options and community-sponsored events makes your property appealing for residents. Properly maintaining the facilities, upgrading appliances and color schemes and perfectly manicured green spaces add value to your property. Developing a clearer understanding of diverse personalities as part of  relationship building strategies is one more tool that property managers can leverage to generate brand loyalty.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

Are You Doing Enough To Protect Your Residents’ Privacy?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

File-security1Protecting residents’ personal information and privacy aren’t new concerns for property managers. After two decades of widespread Internet use, and improved technology, guarding personal data online still presents challenges.

Marketing, Personalization and Privacy

Studies show that brand marketing and personalization strategies deliver to a business’s bottom line. Translated into property management terms, that means happier residents, lower vacancy averages and higher retention rates.

Mobile users in North America are predicted to reach 287 million by 2017, according to Mashable projections. Apartment managers wisely engage in marketing strategies that include advanced information collection techniques and mobile campaigns to cement relationships and build new ones.

The residential rental market clearly benefits from integrating advanced data collection and personalization strategies. The National Multifamily Housing Council cautions that these benefits come with increased risk for data breach. Though risks exists, managing collected information and employee training mitigate those risks for property owners.

Internal Strategies

  • To make sure you are doing all you can to protect tenant privacy, create strong internal policies.
  • Establish company policies that limit employees’ access to sensitive electronic and paper information to designated personnel.
  • Change passwords and pin numbers every thirty to sixty days, and anytime a key employee transfers, retires or is otherwise terminated.
  • Protect digital data with computer locks and passwords.
  • Secure printed documents and digital storage devices in locked file cabinets.
  • Invest in a commercial shredder or contract with a document shredding company to dispose of outdated documents annually.
  • Evaluate bring-your-own device rules and current policies for social media engagement on company-owned digital devices.

Training for Resident Privacy

Employee training is an essential component of developing a strong internal plan to protect personal information. Before you implement a new training policy, ask yourself these questions. Do your employees know how to respond to a request for information from residents? From law enforcement? In emergencies?

Protecting personal information requires advanced planning and coordination efforts. Creating an information sharing protocol for your employees ensures they are ready to respond, especially in emotional and emergency situations.

Beyond Digital Information

As new technologies and devices emerge in the future, expect data mining and storage issues to follow, but don’t ignore the role face-to-face communication has in managing privacy.

Every leasing office needs a designated area for discreet discussions with residents and potential renters. Employees must protect sensitive information gathered and discussed during the application and lease renewal processes from others nearby. If there isn’t a separate office available, train employees to write information down or point to segments of the contract rather than stating phone numbers, social security numbers and other personal information out loud.

Creating an atmosphere of community for your property often improves renter satisfaction. Long-term relationships depend on integrity, honesty and trust. Don’t breach that trust. Discourage employees from engaging in gossip or inappropriate conversations about other tenant’s financial matters, relationships or employment issues without express permission. Never release phone numbers or unit numbers to other tenants. You can decide when your staff should offer to contact the tenant for permission to share  information or state the privacy policy prevents sharing.

Protecting tenants’ personal information and privacy aren’t new concerns for property managers, but how you respond to emerging trends and technology defines your property and your brand.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

5 Ways Property Managers Can Leverage 2014 Market Predictions

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Industry experts published annual predictions for property managers and real estate professionals a few weeks ago. Based on market research and consumer trend indicators, 2014 has potential to be a year of growth and change. Developing response strategies designed to capitalize on research and indicators is one way to get ahead of the competition in 2014.

Adjusting Marketing Strategies

One prediction suggests that apartment seekers will fall into two predominant categories this year – the haves and the have-nots. To zero in on these two different demographic groups, property managers may need to adjust their marketing efforts. Rather than advertising with a blanket approach hoping to capture interest based solely on square footage or number of bedrooms, ad dollars may be better spent targeting those two groups directly.

By advertising in venues that appeal to down-sizing baby boomers or high-end property seekers, managers create opportunities to highlight property amenities specifically for them. Likewise, advertisements targeting recent graduates and newlyweds struggling to establish themselves might consider youth-oriented online publications and social media hangouts.

AppFolio’s property management software tools allow you to monitor and track advertising results. This allows users to pinpoint which ads are producing strong results and areas that underperform based on completed visits and applications completed.

Responding to Environmental Engagement

The gap is shrinking between what people want and what they will pay for some items. For example, sales for electric vehicles are rising steadily, even though fueling stations are still not available in all areas. The number of total electric cars on the road is projected to reach 2 million in the next ten years – hybrids during the same window will soar to 7.6 million, according to TMC News.

The availability of apartment homes with recharging stations is limited. Small communities can take advantage of the limited availability by installing shared “quick charge” stations with key card access.  Private, per-unit stations come with an investment cap of around $2000. Managers should realize a positive return on investment within the first year or two, depending on rent recovery plans.

Building Digital Relationships

Along with environmental responsibility, tenants want more digital access and higher levels of engagement from landlords. Simon Mainwaring, a recognized branding consultant, advises business owners to remember that positive encounters between any brand and its consumers produce measurable results. The result is that businesses strive to provide better service and customers show their appreciation – often by sharing their experience with people in their social networks.

Initiating positive encounters for property managers includes giving tenants digital options for making payments, requesting repairs and maintenance online and access to the Internet in common areas. Converting manual dispatching to web-based maintenance request processing serves the tenants’ digital needs and streamlines the workflow process, creating positive experiences on both ends.

Feeding the Social Circles

Along with built-in iPad docking stations and Cat 5 wiring for lightning speed access, tenants today want to be connected 24/7 to everyone – friends, family, colleagues, and property managers. They tweet, post and text the superlative and the mundane.

Integrated property management systems close the communication gaps that plague many non-digital systems. The fastest, most efficient way to spread the news about the new electric car recharging station is via electronic newsletters, tweets and Facebook status updates. Digital communication also creates a complete history of correspondence between owners, tenants and managers with a single click.

Upgrading for Efficiency

Digital technology isn’t the only thing tenants look for today. Upgrades must address efficiency. There are still state and federal incentives for property owners gearing up to replace aging windows and doors with high-efficiency products. Look for panes designed to block UV rays that damage furniture and draperies, high insulation ratings and eco-friendly composite frames.

Modern property management strategies to attract and retain tenants should include relationship building mechanisms, energy-efficient and eco-friendly features and social engagement tools that meet the needs of 21st century consumers. One of the most valuable tools to achieve success is a web-based property management system that ties all three together.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

How Will You Attract Millennial Renters in 2014?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

ForRentSignby  on February 12, 2014 in Property Management Software

In December we held a contest that asked you how you would be appealing to Millennial renters in 2014. Since announcing the winners in December, we’ve had a chance to go through all of your responses, and we definitely noticed a trend. An overwhelming number of you made it clear what you thought would attract Millennial renters: “Get social, be mobile, provide more online services and targeted amenities!”

It’s no surprise that Gen-Y renters are tech-savvy individuals who are active on social media and love their mobile devices. Many of you recognized the importance of increasing your social media presence and providing services to renters online. Here were some of our favorite responses:

Get Social

“To start with, we have recently begun a campaign for boosting our social media presence, with an emphasis on education rather than sales. Helping the new generation understand what questions they should ask, and what to expect, paints us as the experts in our area. Who would you rather work with? Someone who’s forcing a property into your Twitter feed or someone who wants to help you find the property that’s best suited for your needs?”-David L, FL

Be Mobile

“Recognizing that Millennials tend to utilize smartphones for all tasks (be it research, communication, or photos) we have started the process to optimize our websites to be more mobile friendly. Making it easier to view photos, fill out an application, or schedule an appointment right from their phone.”-David L., FL

More Online Services

“Everything from looking for a place to rent, to applying, to signing the lease, to submitting maintenance requests—are ALL online!”-Palisades Property Management, OR

“I know millennial renters want to utilize the web and so do I. We want almost all resident and owner communication to be done through our software, whether it be work orders, rental payments, lease renewals, owner deposits, vendor payments, etc.”-Lisa T., OH

“Continue to use technology to grow and reach them. We now have online applications and ability to pay almost all fees online. We use all forms of electronic media to communicate, and we are continually updating our website with the freshest images and up to date availability.”-Anna G., TX

Targeted Amenities

“Work-life balance is important to the newest generation of professionals, who want to maintain a healthy balance between their working and professional lives. Amenities are a huge appeal factor for renters. Larger, open common rooms are popular. Many developers have added fitness centers and outdoor areas, including yoga and Pilates studios to appeal to renters. Outdoor spaces such as patios, decks and pools are a lure for renters who want to host friends and family. Other amenities include dog runs, garden plots and bike storage.”-Frank F., NY

“We are building new apartments with smaller floor plans, high ceilings so they feel bigger and have lots of light, and with lots of storage built in.  We are adding bike storage locks directly on to the walls and ceilings —so they can hang their bike in the apartment.  We are also including common area outdoor BBQs for socializing.”-Keegan M., CA

… And if all else fails, some of you weren’t afraid to think outside the box:

“To appeal to Millennial renters I’m going to hand out candy.”-Dan B., CT

“I will wear a banana costume and wave a sign in downtown Minneapolis … ”-Blake L., MN

We really enjoyed reading through all of your insightful, and sometimes humorous, responses. Thanks to all who participated in our contest!

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

Should You Repair or Replace? Choosing Wise Renovations for Rental Propeties

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

repair_replace_balanceRental property renovations open the doors for financial rewards through potential rental or selling price increases. However, deciding which renovations to undertake that will ultimately reap the most benefits can be complex. Interestingly, there’s a lot of advice offered by real estate professionals about which renovations are most worthwhile for investors, and these experts know what improvements renters really want.

Even more interesting – they know how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to making wise property renovations, understanding the correlation between curb appeal and rental rates, how to choose remodeling projects that preserve equity and the integrity of the property.

Still Turning and Burning your Property? Don’t Get Burned Yourself

More property investors are realizing the benefits of treating their rental homes more like “their home” as opposed to another “unit.” Even scaled down renovations and remodeling projects can help increase equity and help you maintain a top-notch resident base. Investing in major projects is just that – major – so keep in mind that even minor improvements can make a tremendous long-term difference for both renters and owners.

However, some major projects cannot be ignored, and this is when treating it as a home comes into play for investors. One major roofing failure can spell disaster, put residents out of their home, and you temporarily out of income – facing a huge repair bill. Itemize your “to do” list according to importance, putting preserving the integrity of your dwelling on top of the list. Everything else you should evaluate by cost, the improvement’s potential lifespan, and consider any applicable tax credits and return on investment.

Cleaning, Cleaning, Cleaning – The #1 Return on Investment for Rental Properties

That’s right – a clean home is a desirable home. Those appliances don’t have to be top condition or modern, just clean! Carpets and flooring don’t need to be replaced when a good shampooing or deep cleaning may make them look brand new again.

Consider that the lifespan of carpeting averages about 11 years, according Old House Web’s experts, but wood flooring and many types of tile can last a lifetime. If replacement is imminent, consider upgrading to resilient and lovely Terrazzo tile or a natural, eco-friendly wood. If there are only a few flaws, chips, scratches, or imperfections that can be resolved with spot replacements or partial refinishing, then the cost-effective solution is clear!

Interior and Exterior Painting

Curb appeal extends to the interiors in the eyes of a renter; after all, they have to see those walls every day. If you’ve rented to a smoker or the same resident for many years, you’re likely justified in going with a complete overhaul with interior paint. However, you might be able to get away with a few walls here and again, but it’s such an inexpensive renovation, it’s best to refresh everything for your new charge.

Kitchens and Bathrooms – To Renovate or Resurface?

These two improvements are known for their tremendous return on investment; however, they are also known for their high initial investment. Contractor and remodeling experts are promoting the benefits of resurfacing over replacements. Resurfacing bathtubs, showers, and cabinetry are far more cost efficient projects than replacing them, particularly if they are in decent condition. The pros at Old House Web estimate that acrylic baths have a 15-year lifespan, so estimate “how much life” your major fixtures and appliances have left before considering costly replacements.

Final Considerations in Remodeling Rental Properties

Your budget, how much time you have, and the condition of your property certainly play a role in your remodeling decisions; however, as a wise investor you have to know when to “turn and burn” and when to take your time and renovate units as though you were living there. You’ll see happier residents and may even get some recommendations through your efforts of being a responsible and caring landlord.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

How To Improve Your Property’s Reputation In 2014

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

The best part of the transference into a new year is the opportunity to start anew. If you’re a property manager or multi-resident complex owner who has had some reputation issues crop up online in 2013, the coming year offers an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and convert that negative image into a positive and appealing one.

You’ll have to take action rather than disregard those negative remarks on the web, however, it’s not necessary to hire a reputation management consultant to begin the healing process. With a little bit of patience, diligence, and the assistance of a good property management software application, it’s possible to improve your property’s reputation within the first quarter of 2014 with your own efforts.

Reputations Management Do’s and Don’ts for Multi-Housing Properties

According to an article by Onsites Insites, a leading publication for apartment property management information, more than 85% of consumers read online reviews of rental properties before even bothering to drive by the property or inquire about availability. These professionals also offer some tips on how to manage any negative online reviews that may be cropping up about one of your properties.

Reputation Management Do’s

  • Take time to respond to every review.
  • Think before responding negatively.
  • Encourage reviewers to move the conversation offline by offering your contact info.
  • Remember that anything can end up online with every action you take on property.

Reputation Management Mistakes

Don’t make the mistake of only responding to reviews left by current residents. Remember, it’s the ghosts of the past that can haunt your future, and the Internet is forever. Avoid responding to negative comments with an emotional stance or believing that resident complaints won’t get any further than a complaint form letter or a phone call – understand it can end up on the web.

Streamline Communication with Current Residents for Better Retention

Happy residents are repeat customers so to speak, and their word of mouth referrals can make or break your property’s reputation. Resident’s love knowing that you’re receiving their complaints, compliments, requests, and payments for rentals or homeowner association fees. The days of putting stamps on envelopes are gone for most of us, and people like the freedom to handle all of these tasks online. Immediate gratification of, “you’re message has been sent” or “your payment has been processed” is comforting.

Streamlining accounting, the processing of tenant requests, and making property details and notifications online is easy a with an online property management software program data basing all this information. Tenants are happier, leave better comments online, and are more inclined to refer your property when their needs are being heard and met quickly.

Use Social Media to Jump Start Your Reputation Management Campaign

Social media is a simple and free way to tap into a completely new set of potential residents. Use the most popular apps and social media circles to promote any new additions or improvements from 2013, or talk about any changes to look forward to in the New Year. Pool updates, newly surfaced tennis courts, or freshly renovated interiors are desirable improvements that can drive the most desirable clients into your rental office.

While using all this technology to your advantage to improve your property’s reputation in 2014, don’t forget the power of the human touch. Nothing beats good old fashioned courtesy and fairness when it comes to enhancing tenant satisfaction, so be mindful to not overly automate tenant services while taking advantage of modern conveniences.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.


2014 Predictions for Apartment Managers and Real Estate Professionals

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Appfolio_2014PredictionsIf the end of the year numbers from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) are any indication of what we can expect in 2014 — managers and property owners in the multifamily housing market have plenty to smile about.

NAHB reported building permit issuance jumped more than 15% in October. There was so not-so-nice news though.  While the West and Southern regions experienced healthy increases, 15.4% and 9.4% respectively, the Midwest reported a steep drop of 9.6%.

Resident Demographics

It looks like 2014 is going to be the year for filet mignon and top ramen. There are some indications that luxury and high-end apartment home communities, along with economy units for students and recent grads, can expect better occupancy rates than mid-priced properties.

On one end there is a  high number of recent college graduates saddled with high student debt loans. On the other end, baby boomers with extra cash and empty-nest syndrome are trading the large family home for a smaller dwelling.

Sustainability and Digital Trends

Back in 2011, Multifamily Executive Magazine reported more than 60% of participants in a residential survey conducted by Strata Research said that environmental elements were high on the list of things they considered when choosing a place to rent. That trend is expected to continue into 2014. Evidence shows that more people expect low-energy appliances and windows with lower U-values and better thermal performance.

There is still some disparity between what consumers want and how much they are willing to pay for environmentally friendly features in apartments. The gap is beginning to narrow as residents learn more about how saving money and saving the planet can work together.

Residents in 2014 will be looking for electric car fueling centers, built-in iPad docking stations and community access to wi-fi and Cat-5.

Visuals and Aesthetics

Glass Magazine reports that commercial customers are demanding windows that not only provide superior thermal performance, but also have less visual obstruction and uninterrupted sight-lines. Look for more vinyl and less metal based windows in newer apartment homes and retrofit buildings. Fenestration trends include addressing the demand for aesthetics, sustainability and performance in one package.

Residents want more green space — with connectivity. Property owners will hear more requests for community gardens, rooftop retreats and common areas to socialize with other residents and online friends.

This new year will bring many exciting opportunities for property managers to connect better with current residents and make changes to lure new renters to their property with eco-friendly features and digital everything. Bottom line. Expect 2014 to be an exciting year with last years emerging trends gaining more traction and stability, and new technology opening doors to create better relationships between real estate professionals and people searching for a new place to call home.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

Timeless Interior Design Elements That Are Ideal for Rental Properties

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Bryan Ives | Appfolio


The key to increasing your rental rates or market value may lie within one simple concept – establishing a timeless look with your rental property renovations. When you think of classical designs, thoughts of Roman architecture may come to mind, or perhaps you’re remembering a common oldie: that checkerboard patterned black and white tile floor. Classical yes, timeless – not by a long shot.

Notice how outdated shag carpet and avocado green appliances looked ten years ago, but now these are often “special order” items that cost far more than comparable items. Retro is “in” now, but it likely won’t be in a decade, and wise investors keep this in mind when considering investing in profitable rental property renovations.

Whether you plan to remodel bathrooms, the kitchen, or update the flooring or other areas, keep these tips for timeless design elements in mind.

Natural Materials Never Go Out of Style


Revamp free standing stairs, countertops, and flooring with an installation crafted from natural materials. Wood slabs are a particularly attractive option for stairways, cabinets, and shelving that can authentically add a touch of timeless class to any home. Consider using “clear” wood species such as alder or maple enhanced with medium stains boasting a natural look that will retain their timeless look for decades to come.

Countertop and flooring renovations add both beauty and value to rental properties, and quartz, tile, and granite make ideal selections; however, choosing timeless hues and patterns is vital. Back in the 70s yellow and gold tints were wildly popular. Today, these colors represent expressions of the past and you don’t want your decor to date your property, so stick with neutral, natural grains and patterns, especially when dealing with major design components such as flooring renovations.

Keep it Simple, Stay in Style

The saying goes, “the devil’s in the details” and this motto certainly holds true when it comes to creating a timeless look for rental properties. Adding details is costly, time consuming, and typically a fruitless effort on behalf of property investors. Getting too ornate and stylistic with trendy updates can bring that devil to the surface – and he likes to bite into your income. Keep rental property renovations simple to save money, time, and ensure that renters will be attracted to your property regardless of what’s “in style.”

Choosing a Theme – Leave it up to Residents

Bedroom_design1The elements of style and taste greatly vary, so before delving into making big changes to rooms in efforts to give the place a little character, consider the fact that renters may not share your vision. A prime example of good intentions gone wrong is when home or rental property investors choose to update bathrooms and kitchens for the fantastic return on investment, yet the rest of the house goes untouched. Establishing a design trend in one or two rooms without carrying it throughout the house is a huge no-no. By all means make the necessary repairs, but reconsider using these renovations as a chance to establish a theme.

Say “Yes” to These Timeless Design Elements

Storage space never goes out of style, so if you’re itching to make a rental property improvement, consider installing shelving along bare walls. Functional and stylish, storage space is much appreciated, particularly in the kitchen cabinetry department. Painting, carpeting, flooring, and appliances should be neutral in color, so as to not deter potential renters interest simply because your decor doesn’t “match” or “fit in” with their existing components.

The key to success when renovating rental units is to stick with the timeless, classical look, leaving the design elements up to the tenant.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

5 Things Property Managers Must Know About Fair Housing

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Compliments of | by: Aimee Miller

According to a recent report on fair housing trends, there were nearly 30,000 discrimination complaints filed in the United States in 2012, an increase of nearly 5% from 2011. Here are five things you should know to help avoid being the target of one of those complaints.

1. Be Careful How You Advertise
In your advertising, you can focus on amenities, attributes of your property, and location, but not on the type of tenant you want. Saying “great for young couples” can be considered discriminatory towards older renters, as an example. You shouldn’t use words like “safe” or “exclusive” since that implies that you restrict to whom you rent. Use the fair housing logo or include a statement of non-discrimination at the end of each ad.

2. Be Precise in Your Screening
Tenant screening is an area that frequently causes complaints. Have a written policy for the necessary criteria to rent your unit such as employment history/income, credit standards, etc. Outline your application process and include a statement that you adhere to all applicable fair housing laws. Your application shouldn’t include questions about physical disabilities, age, race, or ethnicity. You may, though, include questions about prior evictions, money judgments, or bankruptcy filings. You may also ask why someone is leaving his or her current unit. Keep good records of every applicant and inquiry.

3. Be Consistent with Your Apartment Rules
It’s acceptable to have mandatory apartment rules that are basic and non-discriminatory for all tenants. They should be written and uniformly enforced to all residents. Statements like “children should not be rowdy in the hallways” are unacceptable, but changing the reference to “residents and guests” is fine. Keep detailed records of any violations of the rules – time, date, and type of violation; how you became aware of the infraction and the actions you took to enforce the rule.

4. Be Detailed in Your Eviction Process

Under fair housing laws, tenants can be evicted for legitimate reasons such as non-payment of rent. For other causes be sure there has been a serious violation of the lease or a history of eviction of others for similar actions. Detailed files should contain a record of all complaints by neighbors and what has been done to respond to each. HUD historically has examined the following documentation in these situations:

  • Warning letters/eviction notices
  • Written complaints by third parties
  • Written logs kept by management
  • Police records
  • Photographs

5. Be Thorough with Employee Training
Document a written policy for employees regarding sexual and other types of harassment. All new employees must undergo training sessions that should include all memos that reference policies on how to comply with fair housing laws and the consequences for violating them. Provide all employees with a written copy of a non-discrimination policy. Have employees sign an agreement that says termination will result from violation of any fair housing law.

Being aware of and diligently following fair housing statutes is the best way to avoid having to defend a claim that could be lodged against you.

appfolioAppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.