Every apartment community has a “reputation” in the marketplace. What your community is known for is based upon a variety of factors. Some of these factors are beyond your control; like the location of your community and the layout of your apartments. Yet, there are certain factors in which you have some measure of control; like your management style and resident profile. However, sometimes the longer a staff has been working at a community the harder it is to be objective. While long term employees can bring stability and consistency to a community, there can be a subtle tendency for the on site staffs to try and lease to only those people who they believe will “fit in,” so as not to upset the “status quo.” Here is a concern that illustrates this point:
Q: I have been the resident manager at the same community for over 10 years, and have worked very hard to establish a quality clientele. I am now in a situation where I have more vacancies than I have had in quite a while, but with fewer prospective renters who match the demographics of my existing residents. I am concerned that if I start renting to everyone who comes through the door, that this will upset my current residents, and that I’ll have even more vacant apartments. What can I do?
A: First of all, I applaud you for your longevity in the business, especially as an on site manger! Your residents undoubtedly appreciate you and all your efforts to create a quality environment. However, why would you limit such an outstanding community to just a few people who you are “hand picking” to live there? Not only is this practice obviously affecting your leasing ratio, it is a Fair Housing violation! You do not have to rent to “everyone who comes through your door.” Yet, you do have to rent to everyone who “qualifies” based upon certain criteria established by your screening company. Your current method of leasing may be doing more harm than just jeopardizing the occupancy of your building: Should a complaint be lodged against your community, there is the possibility that you, your employer and also the building owner could be sued for discrimination.
By renting to all types of people without regard for their family or marital status, their race, religion, age, etc., you will be in complete compliance with the Fair Housing Act, AND you will create the type of community where everyone feels welcome and wanted. Remember:
A quality community + satisfied residents = higher occupancy
If you have a question or concern that you would like to see addressed next month or if you would
like to inquire about leasing training, please ASK THE SECRET SHOPPER by making contact via
e-mail or fax. Your questions, comments and suggestions are ALWAYS welcome!
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