Why Tenants Want to Move, and Why Some Don’t

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Tenants Moving

Leading rental listing service Apartments.com recently asked more than 1,500 renters to describe why they would or would not move in 2014.

The results reveals both shifting trends in renter behavior, and a more lighthearted look at celebrity neighbor preferences.

Affordability, neighborhood and apartment size topped the list of reasons people said they are moving; close to half (46 percent) of former homeowners said they prefer renting; and internet listing services and word of mouth were named as the top two resources for renters during their apartment search.

“This year, both economic and lifestyle factors seem to be on the minds of most renters planning to move,” said Dick Burke, president of Apartments.com. “Many helpful online tools, like Apartments.com, are available to help renters make informed and responsible decisions with highly personalized searches, online video walk-throughs, the ability to post and read reviews and apps for iPhone and Android.”

Why are people moving in 2014? And, why aren’t they?

This year, moving decisions were heavily steered by economic factors. Shopping for a less expensive apartment topped the list of reasons renters are planning to move, while affordability topped the list for why renters are staying put. Other popular responses rounding out the top five reasons for whether or not to move included renter preferences, personal tastes, job security and family issues.

Apartments.com details the top five reasons survey respondents said they are moving in 2014:

Shopping for a less expensive apartment: 24.6%
Wanting to live in a different neighborhood: 13.6%
Looking for a bigger apartment: 12%
Change in marital status: 11.6%
Looking for a smaller apartment, or to live alone: 10%

When asked to check all that apply, the top five reasons that renters said they aren’t moving in 2014:

Can’t afford to move elsewhere: 47.3%
Like the neighborhood they live in: 40.8%
Like the apartment building they live in: 40.8%
Have job security: 22.5%
Like their neighbors: 12.4%

The 2014 Moving Trends Survey also shows that winning the lottery, a job loss or promotion, relationship changes, and noisy or annoying neighbors are the top reasons that would cause settled tenants to change their minds and move. Only 13% believed they could find something more affordable.

Why are previous homeowners choosing to rent in 2014?

Supporting a rapidly growing trend, close to half of all renters (44.1 percent) previously owned a home, up from 35.1 percent in 2013 and 33.6 percent in 2012. Interestingly, homeownership preferences are split right down the middle in 2014:

54 percent of former homeowners wish they still owned a home
46 percent of former homeowners prefer renting
51.2 percent of renters (who have never owned a home) prefer renting
48.8 percent of renters (who have never owned a home) would like to own a home right now

When asked to check all that apply, the majority of survey respondents see the following as benefits of renting vs. owning:

No unexpected repairs (leaky toilet, clogged sink, etc.): 59.9%
No or low maintenance (don’t need to shovel a driveway, cut grass, etc.): 51.4%
Flexibility to move: 51.3%

There was a sizable increase this year in previous homeowners who indicated that they are choosing to rent mainly because they cannot afford homeownership anymore, while the flexibility renting offers in choosing where to live remained as the number two reason for the third year in a row. Apartments.com provides the top five reasons former homeowners are choosing to rent in 2014, and compares these results to its 2013 survey. The statistics indicate the economy continues to be a driving factor for this group of renters:

Can’t afford homeownership anymore: 21.5% (up from 14.2% in 2013)
Flexibility renting offers in choosing where to live: 15% (down slightly from 15.7% in 2013)
Lost home due to foreclosure or divorce: 13% (up from 11.2% in 2013)
To relocate for employment: 12.4% (down from 13.3% in 2013)
Because renting is more affordable: 10.4% (down significantly from 22.2% in 2013)
Who will renters share their apartments with in 2014?

One area that seems to be a constant is renter living arrangements, which have remained nearly identical for the past three years:

Husband/wife/significant other and/or kids: 47.6%
Living alone: 42.6%
Roommate(s): 9.8%

Celebrity Preferences

Only 12 percent of renters planning to stay put in 2014 would change their minds (and move out) if Miley Cyrus moved in as their neighbor. “Apparently, most renters wouldn’t mind if guests at Miley’s parties have their hands in the air like they don’t care!” said Tammy Kotula, public relations and promotions manager, Apartments.com.

More renters would prefer Dakota Fanning (23.4 percent) as their celebrity renter neighbor than Ashley Greene (12.9 percent). Also, Chris Noth (15.1 percent) would be preferred as a celebrity renter neighbor over Nick Jonas (8.2 percent).

Source: Apartments.com

What’s The Most You Can Pay For An Apartment Building?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

by: Michael Blank

Apartment-BuildingsA deal comes in for a 12-unit apartment building from one of your brokers. He faxes you a rent roll and a list of expenses. The asking price is $575,000, and he’s asking for what you want to do. It’s relatively easy to answer the question “is this a deal?” (the answer is usually “no”), the harder question to answer is “what is the most I would pay for this deal and why?”

When I first got started with analyzing apartment building investment deals, it took me about 4 hours to answer this question. This is extremely time consuming, and when you’re looking at a lot of deals, it can be overwhelming.

The trouble is, if it takes you too long to get back to the broker with feedback (or if you don’t get back to him at all), he will stop sending you deals. The same is true if you always respond with “that price is too high, it needs to be X”. Without usable feedback, the broker won’t know what you’re looking for and/or won’t be able to articulate to the seller why his asking price won’t work for you.

In this article I’d like to describe how to answer the question “what is the most I would pay for this deal and why”, and to answer it promptly.

How to Quickly Analyze an Apartment Building Deal using the 50% Rule

Step # 1: Determine your Investment Criteria

Before you can seriously answer this question, you need to decide what your investment criteria are. If you plan to syndicate the deal, you need to answer the same question for your investors.

What is the minimum cash on cash return and average annual return that you and your investors will be happy with?

For example, you might decide that you won’t touch anything with less than a 10% cash on cash return and an overall average annual return of 20%.

If you’re syndicating the deal, you need to decide what returns you want for your investors. What minimum returns will you need to show to attract capital?

Before you can analyze a deal, you need to determine your investment criteria. Otherwise, how will you know if you have a deal?

Step # 2: Determine Fair Market Value Using the Cap Rate

I’m not going to explain the “cap rate here (Bob Diamond does that in his REIClub article here), but I do want to give you some tips for determining what cap rate you should use in your analysis. The BEST way to determine what similar properties have sold at is to ask you brokers. Hopefully you’re working with a handful of good brokers who are feeding you deals. If they’re worth anything, they’ll tell you what the prevailing cap rates are in the area and will send you comps for the area you’re looking in. From that, you can create valuable information about the cap rate and price per unit.

Let’s assume that the prevailing cap rate for your market is 8% for similar buildings. That just means you have a way to assess “fair market value”, but who’s happy with that? You may decide that you don’t want to get into a building with anything less than a 10 cap, and that is a fine investment criterion.

Knowing the market cap rate is important for estimating the re-sale value and your financial projections later on. Also, it may be unrealistic to look for 10 cap deals in an area where everything else is selling at an 6-cap, make sense?

Step # 3: Assess the Value of the Building Using the 50% Rule

Now you can quickly assess what you want to pay for any deal that comes in. Assume the seller is reporting gross scheduled income of $100,000. In our income projections, we will use an occupancy rate of 90% unless the seller provides a lower number. If the reported expenses are less than 50% of income, then ignore what’s reported and use 50% to calculate the Net Operating Income (NOI).

Apply your desired cap rate to get the current valuation of the building:

If the asking price is above $450,000, you can now quickly get back to the broker and say that the fundamentals aren’t right. You can say that the expenses are clearly under-reported, or the vacancy rate, etc. You might say, “The expenses are way low. Assuming 50% of expenses, and using the reported rental income, in order to get at my desired cap rate, I could spend no more than $425,000” and see how flexible the buyer is.

Using the 50% rule makes it easy to quickly answer the question “what is the most I could pay for this apartment building investment deal and why?”. It will save you tons of timing in phase 1 of the analysis and makes you more responsive when a deal first comes in.

Michael BlankMichael Blank’s passion is being an entrepreneur and helping others become (better) entrepreneurs. His focus in real estate investing is buying apartment buildings by raising money from private individuals.

Michael has been investing in residential and multifamily real estate since 2005 and began syndicating deals in 2010. He is the author of the Syndicated Deal Analyzer and the free eBook “The Secret to Raising Money to Buy Your First Apartment Building”.

This post provided by REIClub.com for creative real estate investors. Copyright 2002-2011 All Rights Reserved. Published with Permission of Author. No part of this publication may be copied or reprinted without the express written permission of the Author and/or REIClub.com


Plan to Limit Mortgage Interest Deduction Draws Criticism

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

NAR_LogoThe National Association of Realtors® expressed “extreme disappointment” over several of the provisions contained in U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s tax reform draft released yesterday, namely proposed limits on the mortgage interest deduction and capital gains, and the repeal of deductions for state and local property taxes.

The NAR says these proposed changes to the taxation of real estate will impact every single American, either directly or indirectly.

“NAR supports reforms that promote economic growth, but we strongly oppose severely altering the rules that govern ownership and investment in real estate. Real estate powers almost one-fifth of the U.S. economy, employs more than 17 million Americans, and contributes a quarter of all federal and state tax revenue and as much as 70 percent of local taxes,” says NAR President Steve Brown.

The group will carefully analyze the details of the Chairman’s plan to determine the best way to educate Congress and the public about how this plan would impact the owners, consumers, and producers of both residential and commercial real estate.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Criminal Background Checks: 6 Tips for Landlords

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

identity-photo-224x300Running a criminal background check on every adult rental applicant under serious consideration is a must-do for any landlord who wants to protect profits.

Failure to run a criminal check can increase landlord liability, especially if the new tenant hurts others, and increases the chances that an applicant will become a problem tenant.

On the other hand, having a strict crime policy can attract good tenants who place safety at the top of their apartment-hunting wishlist.

To get the most out of your criminal background checks, it’s important to keep these tips in mind:

1. Criminal reports, unlike credit reports, usually are not indexed using specific identifying information like the applicant’s Social Security number. That means you will need to rely on other information to link possible criminal reports to your applicant. Your rental application should include the date of birth, the party’s full legal name and any alias names, as well as previous addresses.

2. Criminal reports are available on both state and national levels. The advantage of the national reports is catching applicants who may be providing incomplete information on the rental application regarding their whereabouts.

3. Tenant screening reports are best when used together. For instance, using the Previous Address Tenant History, you may be able to identify addresses — and possible criminal convictions — in places the tenant has failed to reveal.

4. Criminal reports can be supplemented by leasing policies that discourage those with criminal tendencies from applying. For instance, participating in a Crime Free Multi-Housing program and advertising that policy to applicants can reduce the risk of attracting the wrong ones.

5. Be aware that, in some areas of the country, criminal checks are regulated. Oregon recently passed new restrictions on what landlords can do with the information from criminal background checks. Nonprofit agencies that assist ex-cons with re-entry into communities have lobbied for more tenant-friendly laws across the country. Be sure to stay on top of your local rental laws.

6.  Make sure you require the same level of screening reports from all applicants. If you scrutinize the ones you suspect are most likely to have a criminal background, but let others slide altogether, it will look like discrimination

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Lawmakers to Stall Evictions

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Senator& Mayor LeeCalifornia Senator Mark Leno joined San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, other elected officials, tenant advocates, labor groups and business leaders to introduce legislation closing a loophole in the Ellis Act that allows speculators to buy rent-controlled buildings in San Francisco and immediately begin the process of evicting long-term renters.

Aiming to mitigate the negative impacts of a recent surge in Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco, Senate Bill 1439 authorizes San Francisco to prohibit new property owners from invoking the Ellis Act to evict tenants for five years after the acquisition of a property, ensures that landlords can only activate their Ellis Act rights once, and creates penalties for violations of these new provisions.

“The original spirit of California’s Ellis Act was to allow legitimate landlords a way out of the rental business, but in recent years, speculators have been buying up properties in San Francisco with no intention to become landlords but to instead use a loophole in the Ellis Act to evict long-time residents just to turn a profit,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Many of these renters are seniors, disabled people and low-income families with deep roots in their communities and no other local affordable housing options available to them. Our bill gives San Francisco an opportunity to stop the bleeding and save the unique fabric of our City.”

Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco have tripled in the last year as more than 300 properties were taken off the rental market. This spike in evictions has occurred simultaneously with huge increases in San Francisco property values and housing prices. About 50 percent of the city’s 2013 evictions were initiated by owners who had held a property for less than one year, and the majority of those happened during the first six months of ownership.

“We have some of the best tenant protections in the country, but unchecked real estate speculation threatens too many of our residents,” said Mayor Lee. “These speculators are turning a quick profit at the expense of long time tenants and do nothing to add needed housing in our City.”

Enacted as state law in 1985, the Ellis Act allows owners to evict tenants and quickly turn buildings into Tenancy In Common (TIC) units for resale on the market. In San Francisco, the units that are being cleared are often rent controlled and home to seniors, disabled Californians and working class families. When these affordable rental units are removed from the market, they never return.

Senate Bill 1439 will be heard in Senate policy committees this spring.

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Why Investing in Student Housing is Becoming More Popular

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Student Housing

Last year Worcester Investments purchased its first student housing complex near the University of Kansas. Since this was a little different for us, we wasted no time getting down to the facts. While conducting market research on our student housing investment, we found a few interesting statistics that might make you consider expanding your own investment strategy.

Why More Students are Opting to Live Off-Campus than Ever Before

  • The National Multi-Housing Council (NMHC) stated that in 2010 school-owned housing facilities could only accommodate about 30% of the enrolled student population.
  • The cost of room and board at a public 4-year university is up 20% from five years ago; private 4-year universities charge 14% more than 5 years ago.
  • The average full-time undergraduate enrolled in a public four-year college receives enough grant aid to cover a significant portion of tuition and fees, but not to cover any other expenses. Let’s break that down. If the average net price of tuition and fees is $3,120, that means the student is left with a net out-of-pocket cost of $9,500 for room and board.
  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, national college enrollment is projected to increase by approximately 2.3 million by 2020.

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.

4 Easy Water Conservation Tips for Apartment Communities

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

WaterSavingsWith rising water rates, persistent drought conditions, and a growing U.S. population, water conservation is becoming more important every day. Water and sewerage costs have doubled in one of every four municipalities over the last 12 years, which can hurt property managers today and in the future.

Did you know that March 2013 was the 5th driest year nationally since 1895? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 50 percent of the U.S. continues to fight drought conditions. While conditions are improving, about seven percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing severe to extreme drought as of the end of September 2013. At the same time, other utility costs have increased faster than inflation, creating a need for conservation and improving efficiencies.

The time is right for apartment communities to begin—or improve on their existing—water conservation plans.

While implementing water conservation practices may sound like a very involved process, it doesn’t have to be. Typically, a few modifications with existing fixtures and systems will yield significant savings. A wealth of products and new technologies designed to reduce water consumption are readily available on the market today, helping properties save money while reducing their environmental impact.

Here are four easy water conservation tips to help you get started:

Tip 1: Go Low-Flow to Save Water

A number of plumbing products on the market today use less water but still get the job of rinsing, cleansing, and flushing done. The result is a large water savings which trickles down to a better bottom line.

Here are some smart solutions to save water in an apartment that are fast and easy replacements for your maintenance teams:

  • Replacing a standard 2.5 gallon per minute (GPM) kitchen faucet aerator with a 1.5 GPM saves 40 percent
  • Screwing in a 1.0 GPM aerator onto a 2.2 GPM bathroom faucet saves 54 percent and they are often $1 each or less
  • Installing low-flow showerheads (2.0 GPM or lower) and low-flush toilets (1.28 gallons per flush or lower) save up to 50 percent in water consumption and your residents won’t notice a difference

Tip 2: Adjust Water Volume in Older Toilets

Older toilets that still function can be retrofitted with a dual flush system that reduces the amount of water used for liquids and it is less expensive than replacing the whole toilet. Dual flush systems work best with 1.6- to 3.5 gallon per flush (GFP) toilets but can also be used on 1.28 GPF.

Tip 3: Smart Landscaping Conserves Water

By installing smart controllers, those that detect moisture and track local weather then change watering patterns, will keep landscapes looking good while reducing consumption.

Commercial Evapotranspiration Technology (ET)-based controllers are basically a thermostat for an apartment property’s sprinkler system. ET systems tell the water source when to turn on and off based on current conditions so that overwatering in minimized or even eliminated.

The beauty of installing smart controllers is that they are typically an even swap for the old controller. No additional upgrade of the irrigation system is necessary, and the change-out can be done rather quickly.

Tip 4: Look for WaterSense-Certified Products

Water conservation products certified by WaterSense®, a partnership program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are readily available and are certified to use less water while not affecting efficacy.

The WaterSense program was launched to provide businesses and consumers with easy ways to save water, as both a label for products and a resource to people. To get a better idea of what the impact of upgrading to WaterSense products could be for your property, check out the WaterSense Water Savings Calculator. After filling in a couple of fields, the calculator will determine how much water, electricity, greenhouse gas emissions, and money can be saved by replacing your current fixtures with WaterSense certified fixtures.

Apartment communities have a great opportunity to conserve water by making a few small tweaks in their buying by seeking out water conservation products. Properties will not only save on their utility bills but will leave more water for future generations. It’s a win-win!

ElizabethWhited Elizabeth Whited | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Elizabeth is the Operations Coordinator at the Rent Rite Directory. She has written educational articles for multifamily magazines and Real Estate websites to help Property Managers and Owners improve their properties, and reduce crime in their communities.

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.

Can Landlords Change Rules Mid-Lease?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

It’s often necessary to draft a list of rules and regulations for tenants to be used in conjunction with the lease agreement, especially in multi-unit rentals.

Otherwise, landlords and tenants are left to sort out the day-to-day management issues without any written standards. That can lead to conflicts, and claims of harassment or discrimination.

While the rules sheet is usually incorporated into the lease agreement, landlords who use a separate set of tenant rules often will reserve the right to change those rules from time to time. This is usually done by making a revised list, and then demanding tenants sign the new one.

But can a landlord change the rules mid-lease? Not surprisingly, the answer depends on the rule that is being changed.

The lease agreement is a contract, a bargained-for exchange where each side gets some things, but gives up some things in return. So, in order to determine whether a rule can be changed mid-lease, you need to decide whether the new rule changes the terms and conditions of the bargained-for rental agreement.

That means anything that materially changes the way the tenant lives day-to-day, or costs the tenant more money, may not be subject to change via the house rules.

The rules are a place for logistics, like acceptable conduct in common areas, a prohibition against leaving laundry unattended, or where to place the trash. The term ‘rules’ is a misnomer; they’re more like guidelines than actual rules.

More significant changes, like a smoking ban, or new parking fees probably require an amended lease, not just a rule change. That way, the tenant has the right to negotiate, and the change can only happen if they agree. That would be the case even if the lease allows the landlord to change the rules from time to time.

This practice is not only safer from a legal standpoint, but far more likely to bring about the tenant’s compliance, which is the ultimate goal anyway.

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing.