‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: What Should Property Managers Do About [Legal] Marijuana?

Residents’ prescriptions are none of their property managers’ business. And that’s probably for the best. When a resident comes down to the office to make a maintenance request, it’s better that the property manager doesn’t say, “Sure, I’ll fix that toilet [which you probably clogged up with your hemorrhoid ointment].” But what if that prescription is for marijuana? With marijuana being legalized in some states, this might be something property managers have to contend with, especially in smoke-free buildings. After all, you can make buildings smoke free, but no one has a prescription for cigarettes. Marijuana, legal or otherwise, could…

‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: Holiday Tipping at Apartment Communities

It’s that time of year. Doormen at residential buildings are happy to hold on to holiday packages, help with groceries and, of course, open the door. I mean, yes, that’s their job, but now it’s done with a smile. Maintenance requests are taken care of quickly and efficiently, no matter what hour of the night they’re requested. Yup, it’s holiday tip time! Many apartment community employees deserve these tips. And many residents are more than happy to give in recognition and thanks for their hard work during the year. It’s just that the whole tip-giving process is so…awkward…for residents. How…

'What Renters Want' with Jessica Fiur: How to [Not] Silence Negative Reviewers

In college, I could eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby in one sitting. (I took the Freshman 15 as a challenge, which I totally won.) It’s been years, but if I ran a few miles and skipped a few meals before, I bet I could still do it. But just because I could eat an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting, does that mean I should? Yes. Ice cream is delicious. Bad example. How about this: Just because I could sing all the words to Livin’ on a Prayer, does that mean I should? No,…

‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: What Should You Include in Your Apartment Marketing Photos?

Think back to your Internet dating days. (Don’t give me that look. You can admit it—we all did it. And if not, you totally know someone who is currently using an online dating service.) Profiles that had spelling and grammar problems were bad. Ones that mentioned a love of country music were worse. But the absolute deal breaker? A profile with no picture. That profile could be for a multi-millionaire rock star with chef-quality kitchen skills who can quote The Simpsons, run marathons and reach things on the highest shelf, all the while volunteering with orphans on the weekends, but we’d…

Guest Blog: The Importance of Flexible, Early Funding for Affordable Housing Development

By Eileen Fitzgerald, CEO, NeighborWorks America Developing affordable rental housing these days is a lot like putting together a puzzle—when the financing pieces are all in place, a thing of beauty results, but when there’s a piece missing for the puzzle—or in this case a piece missing from the finance package for rental housing—the project just doesn’t work. The result is fewer new affordable rental homes developed and more existing rental homes transitioning into market rate housing or being demolished. The bottom line: families who need affordable rental housing may have a lot harder time securing the homes that they…

‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: Apartments and Superstitions

It’s Friday the 13th. Does this conjure up fears and bad omens and Jason (or Mrs. Voorhees, depending on your predilection. Uh, spoiler alert. Sorry) chopping up pretty teenagers with a machete? Of course not, right? We’re all mature adults with busy lives who don’t have time for all that superstitious nonsense. Or not. We apartment people are apparently a very superstitious bunch. Seriously, look at our high-rises. Are any built with a 13th floor? According to a blog post on MSN, Superstitions actually do shape a lot of our development projects. And not just in multifamily—remember when they were…

Guest Blog: Liability Rolls Downhill: How Flow Down Clauses Can Harm You

By Morgan A. Stewart, partner, Manly, Stewart and Finaldi Since the construction of multifamily projects typically involves several parties, it is crucial to craft your contracts with the utmost care. Failure to do so could greatly increase your risk of contractual liability to third parties, particularly when those provisions known as flow down clauses are involved. It is common presumption that a multifamily developer who has signed an agreement with a general contractor is bound solely to the terms of the prime contract, unless expressly stated. And conversely, that subcontractors are only liable for the obligations set forth in the…

‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: Are Apartment Communities Trying to be Like Dorms?

This weekend, my brother came to visit me and my husband at our apartment. In the elevator, he noticed an ad for a Labor Day party for residents, touting free snacks and goodies in the lounge. I had seen the ad all week, and while I wasn’t planning to attend myself because I usually find these things a little awkward and there were some sales I wanted to hit instead, I thought it was a nice gesture, and beyond that, hadn’t really given it much thought. “Are they trying to make this place like a dorm?” he asked. “Haha—shut up!”…

‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: What Property Managers Could Learn From the Decision to Cast Ben Affleck as Batman

There are important things going on in the world today—war, a still-struggling economy and oh my god Ben Affleck is going to be the new Batman! In case you haven’t heard the news, the Oscar-winning actor, who’s played important roles in Good Will Hunting, Argo and Gigli, has been cast as Batman in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel. (Don’t get me started on why a Superman sequel wouldn’t benefit from Batman. One is an alien with amazing super powers and the other is some bored rich guy who has a gift certificate to Brookstone. Clearly a perfect match.)…

‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: Why Your Staff is Your Greatest Amenity

At my apartment community, there is a morning and afternoon shuttle that takes residents from the apartment to the bus stop and vice versa. The usual shuttle driver is friendly (but not overly chatty), remembers which building to drop people off on the way home and, most importantly, is prompt. He’s on vacation this week though. The sub is fine…but he wants everyone’s life story, and isn’t there right away when the bus comes. So we all wait outside. In 90-degree heat. I know, I know. Cry me a river, right? Why don’t I also complain about something of equal…