Management Advice

How the Texas State and City Governments are Helping Renters and Landlords

How the Texas State and City Governments are Helping Renters and Landlords

May 1st came and went and with it saw another round of outcries from renters and landlords having to deal with unpaid rent and mortgage payments due to economic hardship caused by the pandemic.

The federal government has been dealing out relief checks to some American’s, however it has been largely left up to State governments to help out renters and landlords with their housing issues. Below are some of the things that are happening in the state of Texas to help out it’s renting and multifamily housing population.

Evictions are Banned by Some Counties

According to the Texas Tribune, “Some cities and counties have opted to ban evictions for even longer than the Texas Supreme Court has ordered. Austin has instituted a 60-day grace period, and the Dallas City Council may follow suit. Earlier this month, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins halted evictions through May 18. 

Harris County has also banned evictions through May 18.

Rent Relief Economic Packages

In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a $15 million rent relief program that will use millions in federal COVID-19 relief money to help Houstonians pay their rent.

If approved, the relief package will be managed by the well-known local non-profit, BakerRipley.

Qualifying Houston renters who could not pay their April and/or May rent will get $1,056 of rental assistance per each month of missed April and May rent according to reports.

The program is supported by the Houston Apartment Association and is expected to help 6,818 renting households in the Houston area.

Other cities are following Houston’s example. San Antonio officials announced a $25 million emergency housing assistance program, and as of Thursday, 4,737 applications have been approved. 

The Dallas City Council allocated about $13.7 million in federal money to the rent and mortgage assistance programs. Some households will receive up to $1,500 in aid per month for three months, while others may get assistance for two years.

Apartment Associations are Stepping Up

Officials at the Texas Apartment Association, whose 12,000 members include around 7,500 property owners and operators, said they are unsure if there will be a sudden increase in evictions.

“I can’t predict what’s coming five minutes from now, much less five months from now,” said Chris Newton, executive vice president of the Texas Apartment Association. “But I do think it’s important that all the stakeholders are working together because this is where we are all in uncharted waters. We’re going to have to figure out a way to manage this.”

Newton said association members have been advised to work out deals with residents and that evictions are a last resource for them.

As we move towards June 1st and another rent cycle, we are glad to see that programs are being enacted that will help ease the pain of the multifamily housing industry and the renters that depend on it for their housing needs.

Posted in Career Blog Categories, Management Advice |

5 Tips for Practicing Social Distancing in Apartment Communities

Beyond Countertops: Which Multifamily Amenities Are Performing Best

We are all well into the quarantine life the Novel Coronavirus has pushed onto us and are getting used to the “new normal” of the rules we have to live by. As we move into a new phase that includes loosening of some restrictions, many apartment communities may wonder how to reintroduce communal spaces to their residents.

Below we have 5 tips for community managers to help their residents continue to practice social distancing in their apartment properties.

1. Disinfect Shared Spaces Daily and Provide Hand Sanitizer

Many apartment communities closed all their non-essential common spaces when the social distancing rules went into place. These places included the main office, business center, fitness facilities, and dog parks. Now that the rules are starting to loosen, allowing restaurants and movie theaters to open, residents may be ready for their common spaces to open too.

First and foremost, a daily protocol of disinfectant by the maintenance staff will need to take place before these spaces can be opened. In addition, hand sanitizer must be provided at entrances for residents to use as they enter and exit. Even with sanitation efforts, spaces will need to be restricted to around 25% capacity. This means additional staff will need to be employed to count residents as they enter and exit.

2. Pools and Gyms

It may be safe to re-open the gym and pools at 25% capacity and with a sign in and sign out sheet. You may need to close every hour for sanitation. The most important aspect of reopening large spaces is being able to contact trace if someone tests positive for the virus. A sign in/sign out sheet will enable the community to not only control how many residents are in the space, but also which residents used the space that day. Closing the gym and pool every hour for a 15 min sanitation, wiping down equipment and chairs, will also ensure that germs do not spread.

3. Non-Emergency Maintenance Requests

Most communities shut down any maintenance requests that weren’t emergencies when the quarantine rules went into place. Communities may be considering accepting non-emergency maintenance requests as the restrictions loosen. It is important to make sure that there is no contact between the resident and the maintenance person when they visit the unit. Requiring the resident and the maintenance person to wear a mask when inside the unit is also essential. Rules that were put into place with emergency requests should be upheld in all future requests.

4. Laundry Room Appointments with Assigned Machines

The laundry room may have been considered an essential area for your community. If it wasn’t, there are helpful things you can do to safely reopen it. An online sign up system with time blocks and assigned machines will help in contact tracing and sanitation. Sanitizing the machines each time they are used is essential in stopping the spread of germs. Providing hand sanitizer at the entrance and requiring masks will also help keep your residents and staff safe.

5. Communication

Perhaps the most important aspect of reopening common spaces is communication with your residents. Even if you are not comfortable reopening, you can explain that to your residents so they don’t suffer frustration as they wonder what’s happening in their community. Make sure every resident has access to the messages you are sending out. This could mean putting a flyer on each door with a link to sign up for email or text message communications, or also providing paper bulletins on community boards for residents that don’t have phone or internet service.

While we are not in the all clear yet, life is starting to get back to “normal” as we go into May of 2020. Things might never be the way they were, but battling germs will always be something that community managers should consider for their residents. Some practices implemented now may be lasting moves to provide a safer and more enjoyable apartment community.

Posted in Career Blog Categories, Management Advice |

Top 5 Ways to Use Technology To Speed Up the Hiring Process

It’s April 2020 and the global quarantine is still in full effect. It may seem endless now, but this time will not last forever. In terms of hiring, employers need to be ready for when the business is fully operational and the massive amount of unemployed workforce begins to apply for open positions.

Time lost in hiring is time lost in producing much needed revenue, so it’s more important now than ever to utilize technology to quickly hire the right candidates to get your business up and running.

Below we list the Top 5 Ways to Use Technology To Speed Up the Hiring Process.

#1: Applicant Tracking System

Many AI hiring applications contain an advanced applicant tracking system that will enable you to easily monitor key hiring metrics such as “time to fill,” “cost per hire,” and number of applicants applying for certain positions. This means you can accurately keep your hiring budget in line. An example would be to see that a certain position has less applicants and then allocating more advertising budget to that position. 

#2: A Short-Form Messenger Service

Since it is expected that there will be a flood of applicants, it can be assured that communicating with them all in long-form, traditional emails will be a big time suck. Setting up a messenger system that can quickly ask filtering interview questions will be invaluable to hiring managers. The majority of applicants in 2020 are conducting job searches on their phones, so being able to shoot them quick text messages with questions you would normally save for an intro interview will be efficient for both the interviewer and the candidate.

#3: Personality Assessments and Background Checks

Personality and background checks are usually saved for later on in the interview process. However by moving this up to the intro stage you will quickly identify the best candidates for your company culture before even asking any interview questions. There are many free personality tests online that you can send the candidate to in the beginning stages of the hiring process. 

In addition to a personality fit, you need to make sure the candidate’s criminal background is clean. Usually it takes up to 3 days to get a background check so pushing this up to the forefront for qualified candidates can save time in getting them to work. Unlike personality tests, criminal background checks are not free so a hiring manager will have to be be able to utilize all the information available to them to make sure they are checking only qualified candidates.

#4: Video Interview System

Applications such as Zoom enable businesses to take their meetings online via professional video conferencing. While this is not new technology, most entry-level candidates are not asked to participate in video interviews. By opening this way of interviewing up to all positions, a hiring manager can both start the job search process as early as possible and interview multiple candidates at one time. Imagine having your top 10 candidates for an entry level position all on a video conference and being able to ask them the same questions to see how they compare to each other? Probably stressful for the candidates but very enlightening for the interviewer.

#5: Learning Management System

Lastly, outside of the hiring process, the most important aspect in bringing on new employees is the onboarding process. Many companies have well thought out material to ensure the success of their new employees. However, oftentimes that learning system is dependent on in-person training and takes time away from seasoned employees that will need to be dedicating themselves to their own jobs when things are back up and running. Now is the time to invest in an onboarding system that a new hire can complete online, possibly from home. 

An online company academy need not be only for new hires! You can utilize it for continuing education for your current team, making the financial investment work double time for you.

Software such as Enboarder and WorkBright are great examples that you can consider for your company.

While it may seem that this is a time where productivity has halted, you can instead start to discover all the great technology that is out there  to make your transition back to “business as usually” quick and painless. Possibly even better than before!

Posted in Career Blog Categories, Management Advice |

How to Attract and Retain Top Talent

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Sometimes, attracting the best talent and keeping them with your company can seem like a big mystery. The two go hand-in-hand and there are certain tricks of the trade that can ensure your hiring success. Below are this year’s hottest trends in talent acquisition and retention.

Corporate Branding

Gone are the days when a salary and benefits package were enough to have the the industry’s top professionals clamoring to get hired by your company. In this modern age where Millennials (people who reached adulthood about 16 years ago) are comprising the largest demographic in the workplace, companies now have to develop a strong culture that is publicly known. Corporations such as Google, Zappos, and Southwest have paved the way by developing awe-inspiring corporate culture that have top-level professionals begging to work for them. The corporate culture is also the biggest factor in whether a employee will stay with the company long-term.

Embark on a “Hiring” Public Relations Campaign

Talent acquisition done well is a strong branding tool. Think of your hiring need as a chance to create a “hiring campaign” that will not only serve the purpose of attaining your next company superstar, but also gain exposure to the community you are hiring in. This is a great opportunity for a coinciding public relations campaign to make sure you are reaching as many potential candidates as possible and representing your company in its best light.

Work With an Industry Expert

Just because you are a private entity doesn’t mean you have to go through your hiring needs all alone. Partner with the leading industry-related online communities or regional experts. For example, if you are in the apartment industry you can partner with your local apartment association or even the National Apartment Association if you are hiring for a top level position that includes relocation allowances.

You can also team up with an industry-specific staffing company. It’s their job to find the best talent, all you have to worry about is keeping them, which you will easily do with the right working environment.

Get Your Current Employees Involved

Including your current top-level employees from all departments in the hiring process can be a huge benefit for you and the potential new hire. This does not necessarily mean putting potential candidates in front of unqualified interviewers, which could seriously backfire.

This means meeting with your staff along the way and gleaming from them the personality traits and real-world skills that the new hire needs to have to be successful in your company culture. Allow employees to submit potential interview questions, put together a small group of department representatives to meet with a potential candidate in the final hiring stages, or help review resumes in the early stages. Take their feedback seriously. Not only will this instill a sense of involvement and importance in your current employees, but they will also feel much more responsible for ensuring the new hire’s success because they were involved in the hiring process.

Using the above tactics combined with a tried and true hiring strategy (well developed job descriptions, candidate profiles, and competitive salary/benefits package) you will be sure to not only find, but keep your ideal employees working hard for you and themselves.

Looking for quality talent?

Posted in Hiring Tips, Management Advice |

5 Halloween Ideas for Your Apartment Community!

5 Halloween Ideas for Your Apartment Community! Now Hiring Apartment Jobs
A good leasing office is always looking for fun ways to interact with their residents. Luckily, one of the most fun holidays is right around the corner! Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to show your residents a spooky good time. Below are 5 GREAT Halloween ideas for your apartment community!

1. Trick or Treating for the Kids

Get both residents with, and without, children together by organizing a trick or treat door guide. Have residents who are interested in having trick or treaters visit them sign up with the front office. You can then compile a list of apartment door numbers for parents to safely take their kiddos to so they can fill their candy buckets. Include the times it will be appropriate to knock on doors and the unit numbers that are participating. You can even one up this and give the residents 5 tokens to hand out to their favorite costumes. The child with the most tokens can win a prize from the leasing office!

2. Resident Costume Contest for Social Media

This idea is a great hands-off approach that will still get your community some credit for being fun and creative. Have your residents post photos of themselves dressed in their Halloween costumes and tag your apartment community on your chosen social media platform. Have the residents get their friends to “like” the photo. The tagged photo with the most “likes” wins a prize from the leasing office. This is a great way to get your community’s page or profile some great, organic followers.

3. Halloween-theme Potluck

If you are willing to get a little messy, a Halloween potluck is a great idea. These are best usually done a few days before Halloween. Have your residents bring Halloween-themed dishes (green noodles, witch cupcakes, pumpkin casserole), basically anything that is in the theme of the holiday. Pinterest has some great ideas if your residents are stuck. You can serve the beverages and host the get-together in your community room.

4. Resident Door Decorating Contest

Have your community transformed into the spirit of Halloween without lifting a finger! Have a door decorating contest for your residents and the winner gets a prize. The hardest part will be deciding who gets to judge, try to make sure it is completely impartial as to not upset anyone.

5. Candy Bags at the Front Gate

A small gesture that can go a long way is to pass out little bags of candy at the front gate as residents come and go on Halloween night. You post up just after dark for a hour and get some fun car face-time with your residents. Even better, do it in costume!

No matter what you do, your residents are sure to appreciate living in a community that makes it fun to be a part of.

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