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Portland Rents Continue Decline During Pandemic

Rents in Portland continue to decline

Rents in Portland continued to decline in June, dropping another 0.1 percent after a 0.3 percent drop in May, according to the latest report from Apartment List.

Portland rents year-over-year have decreased by 0.4 percent in comparison to the same time last year.

Median rents in Portland stand at $1,119 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,321 for a two-bedroom.

“It’s important to note that the magnitudes of these rent decreases are all quite modest, but on the other hand, this may just be the beginning of a prolonged trend,” said Chris Salviati, Housing Economist at Apartment List.

“I would note that the areas where we’re seeing the most significant rent dips are in local economies that are heavily dependent on tourism, such as Las Vegas, Orlando, and Miami. Compared to those cities, Portland has higher shares of workers employed in knowledge occupations that can be done from home, so they’re a bit more protected from the harshest economic impacts,” he said.

Rents are also dropping rapidly in San Francisco and the Bay Area of California.

Rent trends vary across the Portland Metro

While rent prices have decreased in Portland over the past year, the rest of the metro is seeing varying rent trends.

Of the largest 10 cities that Apartment List has data for in the Portland metro, half have seen increases, while the other half have been decreasing.

Rents in Portland declined in June but a different story across the Portland metro.

Here’s a look at how rents compare across some of the largest cities in the metro.

  • Over the past year, Tualatin has seen the biggest rent drop in the metro, with a decline of 3.1 percent. Median two-bedrooms there cost $1,874, while one-bedrooms go for $1,589.
  • Forest Grove has seen the fastest rent growth in the metro, with a year-over-year increase of 2.6 percent. The median two-bedroom there costs $1,453, while one-bedrooms go for $1,231.
  • Hillsboro has the most expensive rents of the largest cities in the Portland metro, with a two-bedroom median of $2,053; rents went down 0.5 percent over the past month and 1.6 percent  over the past year.
  • Portland proper has the least expensive rents in the Portland metro.

Salviati said as far as longer-term impact, the pandemic’s effect on rent prices will depend heavily on how quickly the economy is able to recover.

“Even in the best-case scenario, it’s highly possible that we could see a protracted uptick in downgrade moves as many households facing financial hardship begin looking for more affordable housing,” Salviati said.

Bay Area’s dropping rents will reshape housing market

National Rents Continue Downward In May

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Ask Landlord Hank: I Am Thinking About Buying A Duplex

Ask Landlord Hank: I Am Thinking About Buying A Duplex

What to consider when buying a duplex is this week’s question for veteran real estate investor and property manager Hank Rossi for Ask Landlord Hank.

Dear Landlord Hank,

I am interested in buying a duplex, can you tell me the requirements I should have?

-Melanie

Dear Landlady Melanie,

When I’m buying any rental property, I want to make sure that it will really produce income.

I look at all fixed expenses – taxes, HOA fees if any, insurance, lawn/pool care, mortgage monthly payment, etc. – and add those all up.

Then I determine what I need to do to have the rentals rent-ready, such as painting the units, maybe changing out flooring, etc.

Then I check the rental rates those units will command. Then, I subtract fixed expenses from monthly rents and I know how much I’ll net every month.

If that is a number that works for me and the upfront costs to make the rentals rent-ready are not too high, then I’m ready to move forward.

It’s best to be a little conservative on market rents and a little high on renovation costs, as renovations often cost more than expected.

Sincerely,

Hank Rossi

Renting during the moratorium ask Landlord Hank
Landlord Hank

Ask Landlord Hank Your Question

Ask veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi your questions from tenant screening to leases to pets and more! He provides answers each week to landlords.
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Do I Have to Paint and Replace Flooring for a Long-Term Tenant?

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Salt Lake City Rents Declined Over The Past Month

Salt Lake City rents have declined 0.1 percent over the past month, but have remained steady at 0.2 percent in comparison to the same time last year, according to the June report from Apartment List.

Median rents in Salt Lake City stand at $877 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,088 for a two-bedroom. Salt Lake City’s year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 1.0 percent, but is in line with the national average of 0.2 percent.

Ogden rents increased over the past month

Ogden rents have remained flat over the past month, however, they are up marginally by 0.9 percent year-over-year.

Currently, median rents in Ogden stand at $699 for a one-bedroom apartment and $896 for a two-bedroom. Ogden’s year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 1.0 percent, but exceeds the national average of 0.2 percent.

“It’s important to note that the magnitudes of these rent decreases are all quite modest, but on the other hand, this may just be the beginning of a prolonged trend,” said Chris Salviati, Housing Economist at Apartment List.

“I would note that the areas where we’re seeing the most significant rent dips are in local economies that are heavily dependent on tourism, such as Las Vegas, Orlando, and Miami. Compared to those cities, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Portland have higher shares of workers employed in knowledge occupations that can be done from home, so they’re a bit more protected from the harshest economic impacts,” he said.

Ogden rents increased over the past month

How Some Innovative Services Can Get Property Managers In Trouble in Oregon

How Some Innovative Services Can Get Property Managers In Trouble in Oregon

Property managers can get in trouble in Oregon with some innovative services due to the archaic Oregon Landlord/Tenant Act attorney Brad Kraus points out this month.

Bradley S. Kraus
Attorney at Law, Warren Allen, LLP

With the COVID-19 outbreak and shutdowns running strong after three months, now is likely a fantastic time to discuss something different. Given the changing dynamics between landlords and tenants, I often hear of new, exciting programs and innovative services presented to my clients.

The moment I hear about these programs, the wheels begin to spin, analyzing what exposure, if any, these programs present for my clients.

The Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act governs landlord-tenant relationships in the state of Oregon. Enacted in the 1970s, this body of law has failed to catch up to the times regarding many issues or interactions between landlords and their tenants. As such, many new and innovative approaches to certain landlord/tenant interactions are challenging to enact without risk, given the archaic nature of this body of law. It is, unfortunately, within that archaic body of laws that any new programs must be analyzed.

There are only three types of recurring charges recognized by the ORLTA: rent, utilities, and fees. Each has a statutory definition under the ORLTA. Any charges a landlord imposes on a tenant must fit within—and comply with the requirements of—one of those particular statutes. Many companies trying to market products for Oregon landlords have products that either (a) do not fit into one of these three categories, and/or (b) require the landlord to charge tenants illegal fees. That makes them problematic and presents potential exposure for landlords.

What the rent statute category says

Whether something can be classified as “rent” is the first—and easiest—portion of the analytical discussion. If something is not “rent,” it must be either a utility—and be properly billed as such—or comply with the fee statute.

What the utilities category says

A utility or service under ORS 90.315 is defined as “include[ing], but is not limited to electricity, natural or liquid propane gas, oil, water, hot water, heat, air conditioning, cable television, direct satellite or other video-subscription services, Internet access or usage, sewer service, public services and garbage collection and disposal. Many services offered by out-of-state companies do not neatly fit into this definition. Even if they do, and the landlord wishes to charge back any costs to the tenant, there are required monthly billing disclosures that present additional hurdles.

What the fee statute says

If any charge is not “rent” or a “utility,” then it must be a “fee.” The fee statute, ORS 90.302, strictly defines the fees for which a landlord can charge. This list is exclusive; if the fee is not listed in ORS 90.302 (and it is not rent or a utility), the landlord cannot charge for it. Common examples I see are things like “notice service fees” or “month-to-month fees.” Such fees are illegal in Oregon. Similarly, if a company provides a service that requires you to pass along a fee of some kind to your tenant, such a fee is likely illegal, and should give you pause.

Summary

As landlords continue their attempts to provide better customer service and amenities to their tenants, there will always be companies marketing new and exciting services. Those companies will try their hardest to sell you on their products. Some of the innovative exciting services that could get a property manager in trouble in Oregon involve services related to security deposits.

As landlords, do not fall for the “shiny red ball” trick. Carefully analyze any such services with your attorney. The potential exposure for any missteps can be costly.

Some types of innovative services could get a property manager in trouble in Oregon with the landlord tenant laws
Brad Kraus

kraus@warrenallen.com
503-255-8795

Brad Kraus is an attorney at Warren Allen LLP. His primary practice area is Landlord/Tenant law, but he also assists clients with various litigation matters, probate matters, real estate disputes, and family law matters. A native of New Ulm, Minnesota, he continues to root for Minnesota sports teams in his free time. He is an avid sports fan, enjoys exercise, spending time friends and his fiancée, Vicky. You can reach Mr. Kraus via email at kraus@warrenallen.com, or by phone at 503-255-8795.

Handling Maintenance Issues During a Pandemic: A Legal Perspective

 

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How Some Innovative Services Can Get Property Managers In Trouble in Oregon
Photo credit EtiAmmos via istockphoto.com

Lawmakers Extend Oregon Eviction Moratorium Through End of September

Lawmakers Extend Oregon Eviction Moratorium Through End of September

Lawmakers have voted to extend the Oregon eviction moratorium for both residential and commercial properties through the end of September and give renters until March 31, 2021 to pay back rent.

The legislature passed HB 4213 which extends the renter protections originally issued by Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order preventing evictions for nonpayment of rent.

After the Oregon eviction moratorium ends Sept. 30, the bill sets a grace period through March 31, 2021, for tenants to pay any rent owed. If they make partial payments, the money is applied to current rent first.

Tenants must inform landlords within two weeks whether they intend to use the grace period, either by mid-October or another date set by the landlords. If they do not, tenants can be charged a penalty equal to a half-month’s rent. Landlords can send notices to tenants about the deadlines, but they cannot send tenants eviction notices until 90 days after nonpayment on Dec. 31, according to reports.

Oregon eviction moratorium

House Bill 4204 gives homeowners and property owners protections from foreclosures as Oregon’s economy recovers from the COVID-caused recession, according to a release.

“Home and property owners are struggling to pay their bills and prevent foreclosure as a result of this pandemic. This bill will help protect those who live in their own homes, as well as those who maintain rental housing, or who rent spaces to small businesses,” Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor and Business, said in the release.

“By passing House Bill 4204 and extending foreclosure protections, we help home and property owners and all who depend on that property for housing or income,” Taylor said.

“This is about protecting individual homeowners and small business owners who are struggling during this crisis,” said Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), who carried the bill on the floor, said in a release.

“This critical legislation will help individuals keep a roof over their head and keep our state’s small businesses open. This is one piece in helping stabilize our state’s economy as we work our way through this crisis.

“We know for too many renters across Oregon, the fear of losing their home is very real – especially as unemployment claims continue to be delayed,” Rep. Julie Fahey (D-West Eugene and Junction City), said in a release.

“This legislation will provide a small amount of certainty for all of the individuals and small businesses that are struggling to get by right now. We will continue to fight for working families and ensure they have the protections they need to weather this crisis.”

Oregon Senate Republicans said in a statement, “…the Senate passed HB 4213, a bill that will force landlords and property owners to shoulder more debt during the Governor’s continued COVID-19 economic shutdown.”

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton) issued the following statement: “Instead of addressing the utter failure of the Oregon Employment Department to distribute unemployment checks to thousands of suffering Oregonians, Democrats are stacking debt on people who cannot afford it and the burden falls on renters and landlords. The Governor’s abuse of power and economic policy is a disaster for this state.”

Oregon Governor Orders Stop to Residential Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent During Crisis

Property Management Company to Pay Tenants $300,000 to Settle Eviction Moratorium Lawsuit

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Justice Department Sues Owner, Manager of Rental Properties for Sexual Harassment of Female Tenant

sexual harassment of female tenant

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit alleging that the owner and manager of rental properties in Davenport, Iowa violated the Fair Housing Act by subjecting a female tenant to sexual harassment and retaliation, according to a release.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, alleges that Juan Goitia, the manager of multiple residential rental units in Davenport, sexually harassed a female tenant from March 2018 until August 2018.

According to the complaint, Goitia made repeated and unwelcome sexual comments, touched the tenant’s body without her consent on multiple occasions, and retaliated against the tenant for filing a fair-housing complaint. The United States also named 908 Bridge Cooperative, the corporate owner of the rental property where the harassment occurred, as a defendant in the lawsuit, according to the release.

“No woman should have to endure sexual harassment to keep her home,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from sexual harassment and retaliation by their landlords, and the Justice Department will vigorously pursue those who engage in such reprehensible and illegal conduct.”

“Women have a hard enough time finding a decent affordable place to live without having to be subjected to unwanted sexual advances,” said Assistant Secretary Anna Maria Farias of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office. “HUD applauds the action the Justice Department is taking in this matter and remains committed to working together to protect the housing rights of women when those rights are violated.”

Sexual harassment of female tenant

The lawsuit arose from a complaint about Goitia’s conduct that the former tenant filed with the Davenport Commission on Civil Rights (DCRC) and HUD. After DCRC and HUD investigated the complaints, HUD issued a charge of discrimination and the matter was referred to the Department of Justice.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victim and a court order barring future discrimination. The complaint contains allegations of unlawful conduct; the allegations must be proven in court.

Justice Department Sues Owner, Manager of Rental Properties for Sexual Harassment of Female Tenant

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is an effort to combat sexual harassment in housing led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. The attorney general recently reaffirmed this commitment by directing the Department of Justice to deploy all available enforcement tools against anyone who tries to capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis by sexually harassing people in need of housing. The goal of the initiative is to address sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers, or other people who have control over housing. As part of the initiative, the Justice Department developed a public service announcement and formed a joint task force with HUD to combat sexual harassment in housing. Since launching the Initiative in October 2017, the Department of Justice has filed 16 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing.

California Apartment Owners, Manager to Pay $14,500 to Settle HUD Sexual Harassment Complaint

Looking for DST Properties for Sale? See Our 1031 DST Marketplace

Looking for DST Properties for Sale? See Our 1031 DST Marketplace

If you are looking for DST properties for sale, here is why a comprehensive 1031 DST marketplace is imperative for 1031 exchange investors.

By Orrin Barrow
Vice President, Kay Properties and Investments, LLC

Many investors that are looking for DST properties for sale for their 1031 exchanges find the comprehensive Kay Properties marketplace platform at www.kpi1031.com very helpful.

The Kay marketplace typically features 20 to 40 DST offerings and 25+ DST sponsor companies for investors to choose from.

Along with the www.kpi1031.com platform providing access to the marketplace of DST 1031 properties for sale it also features custom DSTs only available to Kay clients, leveraged DST properties for sale for those needing debt replacement in a 1031 as well as the largest amount of debt free DST properties for sale.  DST Investors accessing the www.kpi1031.com marketplace also receive independent advice on DST sponsor companies, full analysis, due diligence and vetting on each DST that is currently for sale as well as a DST secondary market for those wanting to exit there DST investment early.  These features are potentially an added benefit for investors that are searching for DST properties for sale and can potentially make the 1031 exchange process much more streamlined for them.

If you are looking for DST properties for sale for a 1031 exchange we encourage you to visit our marketplace at www.kpi1031.com to register for an account.

Looking for DST Properties for Sale? See Our 1031 DST Marketplace

About Kay Properties and www.kpi1031.com

 Kay Properties is a national Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) investment firm.  The www.kpi1031.com platform provides access to the marketplace of DSTs from over 25 different sponsor companies, custom DSTs only available to Kay clients, independent advice on DST sponsor companies, full due diligence and vetting on each DST (typically 20-40 DSTs) and a DST secondary market.  Kay Properties team members collectively have over 115 years of real estate experience, are licensed in all 50 states, and have participated in over 15 Billion of DST 1031 investments.

This material does not constitute an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. Such offers can be made only by the confidential Private Placement Memorandum (the “Memorandum”). Please read the entire Memorandum paying special attention to the risk section prior investing.  IRC Section 1031, IRC Section 1033 and IRC Section 721 are complex tax codes therefore you should consult your tax or legal professional for details regarding your situation.  There are material risks associated with investing in real estate securities including illiquidity, vacancies, general market conditions and competition, lack of operating history, interest rate risks, general risks of owning/operating commercial and multifamily properties, financing risks, potential adverse tax consequences, general economic risks, development risks and long hold periods. There is a risk of loss of the entire investment principal. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Potential cash flow, potential returns and potential appreciation are not guaranteed.

Securities offered through WealthForge Securities, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Kay Properties and Investments, LLC and WealthForge Securities, LLC are separate entities.

Kay Properties Online Real Estate Marketplace Platform

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Property Management Companies, Others Sue Seattle Over Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

Property Management Companies, Others Sue Seattle Over Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

Property management companies in Seattle and other businesses have filed a class-action suit in federal court against the City of Seattle over the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), claiming the city “enabled the widespread destruction and vandalism of private property.”

The lawsuit says businesses, employees and residents have been overrun by “the city of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large.

“The city’s decision has subjected businesses, employees, and residents of that neighborhood to extensive property damage, public-safety dangers, and an inability to use and access their properties,” the lawsuit says.

Support of the protests

The lawsuit says it does not seek to dilute the participants’ right to free speech or their message.

Those filing the lawsuit say, “Plaintiffs support the free-speech rights of many of those who have gathered on Capitol Hill,” and “Black Lives Matter who, by exercising such rights, are bringing issues such as systemic racism and unfair violence against African Americans by police to the forefront of the national consciousness.

“This lawsuit does not seek to undermine CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest) participants’ message or present a counter-message. Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of plaintiffs—businesses, employees, and residents.”

the lawsuit says property management companies support the protest but not the vandalism and damage
The suit says the plaintiffs support the protests’ cause, but not the nuisance caused in the nearby park.

The suit says property management companies, owners and their tenants have not been able to fully use their properties.

“Property owners and tenants have, for instance, had to lock and barricade their garages and loading areas at risk of having participants entering and vandalizing them.

“Property owners have been told by CHOP participants that if they dare to paint over graffiti, their buildings will be more severely vandalized or even burned to the ground.

“The city has done nothing to prevent this conduct, but, instead, has actively endorsed and supported the ongoing occupation of the CHOP area and the destruction of property.”

Property owners say vandalism and graffiti are a problem.
“Property owners have been told by CHOP participants that if they dare to paint over graffiti, their buildings will be more severely vandalized or even burned to the ground,” the lawsuit says. Photo credit: Photos provided by plaintiffs and included in the lawsuit.

Property Management Companies, Others Sue Seattle Over Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

Property management companies filing the lawsuit

The businesses and individuals filing suit say the “city has not listened” to their complaints about destruction of property so they had no alternative but to file a lawsuit. In addition to small businesses and individuals filing the lawsuit, there are many property management companies.

  • Hunters Capital, LLC is one of the plaintiffs; it manages multifamily residential and other mixed-use properties in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. “Hunters Capital has suffered, and continues to suffer, economic loss …its property has been damaged and its tenants and employees have been harassed,” the suit says. A maintenance person at Hunters Capital was attempting to clean up graffiti on the building “when accosted by a group of CHOP participants” and told to stop the cleanup “and threatened to burn down the building” if the maintenance person did not comply. The company said tenants have been unable to sleep because of the constant noise. “Female tenants in particular have reported concerns about their personal safety in light of the numerous reported instances of sexual assault in CHOP. Some residents have threatened to break leases” with the company “because of extensive problems caused by CHOP.” Also the suit says, “tenants have already started to leave because of CHOP, and others cannot pay rent. Every day that passes. more of the company’s tenants leave.”
  • Madrona Real Estate Services, LLC said in the suit that they also have suffered, and continue to suffer, economic loss and other injuries, that their tenants have been harmed and harassed. Madrona also reported that CHOP participants had entered one building, pulled out pipes and set off the fire alarm and set off the sprinkler system, causing evacuation of 100 residents and flooding the parking garage, and “left human feces on multiple premises.” Madrona has been unable to lease more than 40 new units in the area “because nobody is interested in moving to CHOP.” Also, many of their small commercial tenants are facing bankruptcy.
  • The Onyx Homeowners Association has 65 condominiums in the area, and its building has suffered property damage and theft and owners have been harassed and threatened. The president of the association, Wade Biller, “has been physically assaulted by a CHOP participant while attempting to negotiate with CHOP participants in his role as president” of the association. The suit says the building has been subject to graffiti and vandalism and residents calls to 9-1-1 received no response from the city.
  • Redside Partners LLC also manages numerous properties in the Capitol Hill area and “has suffered, and continues to suffer, economic loss from CHOP among other injuries.”
  • Olive Street Apartments LLC owns two apartment complexes in the CHOP area and also “has suffered, and continues to suffer, economic loss from CHOP, among other injuries.” The owner tried to move a dumpster outside the zone so the garbage would get picked up but was “videotaped and harassed” while trying. At the apartments CHOP participants tried to break into the buildings and into mailboxes and the apartments called police “but the police told Olive Street Apartments’ security guard that they would not send anyone to the area.”

The suit asks an injunction requiring the city to remove barriers and the nuisance created by CHOP and for actual damages to be determined by a jury at trial.

Read the full lawsuit here https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6956626-CHOPComplaint.html

Resources:

Capitol Hill businesses sue Seattle over handling of CHOP zone

BUSINESSES SUE SEATTLE OVER ‘OCCUPIED’ PROTEST ZONE

Related:

Seattle City Council Sets Rules for Unpaid-Rent Installment Payments

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Do I Have to Paint and Replace Flooring for a Long-Term Tenant?

Do I Have to Paint and Replace Flooring for a Long-Term Tenant?

When do rental property managers have an obligation to do upgrades for long-term tenants, such as replace flooring or painting, is the question this week for Ask Landlord Hank.

Dear Landlord Hank,

I have had a good tenant for more than 10 years. Is my responsibility to replace flooring and painting while he is living there?

-Sharon

Dear Landlady Sharon,

I would check the laws in your area to see if this is addressed?

The Department of Housing and Urban development guidelines are that carpeting should be replaced after 7 years. A paint job usually lasts 3 to 5 years.

I typically paint between tenants, and that is when flooring is dealt with as well.

It’s easier to work in an empty unit than one where furniture would need to be moved.

Replace flooring

I have replaced carpeting for a good tenant, during a lease.

We agreed that tenant would be responsible for moving all furniture so the job could be done and the tenant would pay for any delays or increased costs, if furniture was not moved as required.

So to answer your question, I don’t know if the law in your area requires flooring or painting while a tenant is still living in the unit, but if the carpet is in need of replacement, I would definitely consider this to keep such a good, long-term tenant.

Sincerely,

Hank Rossi

Ask Landlord Hank: Do I Have to Paint and Replace Flooring for a Long-Term Tenant?
Landlord Hank Rossi

Ask Landlord Hank Your Question

Ask veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi your questions from tenant screening to leases to pets and more! He provides answers each week to landlords.
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Do I Have to Paint and Replace Flooring for a Long-Term Tenant?
Photo credit AndreyPopov via istockimage.com


Potential Tenants Like Self-Guided Rental Housing Tours Without The Agent

Potential Tenants Like Self-Guided Rental Housing Tours Without The Agent

Self-guided rental housing tours in person, without the agent, are growing in popularity – not virtual tours which are everywhere – but actual in-person tours of the property just without the agent tagging along, according to a new survey.

RentCafe’s survey of 3,500 Americans shows 83% would use self-guided rental housing tours, despite having an array of options to tour virtually.

“As social distancing becomes the new norm, the pandemic is fundamentally changing apartment hunting,” RentCafe says in a release. “While “virtual tours” are still on everyone’s lips, there’s another feature becoming increasingly popular: agentless self-guided tours.”

“Unlike virtual tours, self-guided tours allow for an in-person experience, meaning you can tour the actual apartment all by yourself (without an agent), and see how spacious it truly is, how it feels,” said Adrian Rosenberg of RentCafe.

“You pick a date and time from a calendar, go through ID verification, and receive an address and access code for the smart lock. All units supporting self-guided tours have smart locks and thermostats, which are controlled remotely,” he said.

Potential Tenants Like Self-Guided Rental Housing Tours Without The Agent
Chart courtesy of RentCafe.

Why self-guided rental housing tours are popular

  • Zero face-to-face interaction: 63 percent of the renters who responded to the survey would take a self-guided tour because they can view apartments at their own pace, while 59 percent picked “social distancing” as a reason for using this technology.
  • What do renters expect from an agentless tour? Flexible tour durations (62 percent), online scheduling (61 percent), and digital access system (29 percent) are among the top features.
  • Coupled with digital resident services such as rent payments with Alexa and in-app maintenance requests, self-guided tours fully digitalize the renting experience.

How does it work?

Self-guided tours mean visiting apartments with zero face-to-face interaction. The prospective renters can open and close the apartment door by themselves through a smart lock.

The potential resident picks a date and time from an online calendar, selects a guided or self-guided tour and confirms the appointment.

Then they go through an ID verification process and receive an address and access code to tour an apartment.

“Living in the time of a pandemic has pushed us into the digital realm faster than ever before, leading to an unprecedented boost in new tech solutions that allow us to continue to work and live while respecting social distancing norms and minimizing health risks,” RentCafe said in the release about the survey. “The need for social distancing is turning self-guided tours into mainstream apartment leasing technology overnight.”

Rent Increases Slowed in March as COVID-19 Impact Appears

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