Real Estate Management News - 11/20/2019

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November 20, 2019
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IREM® HEADLINES
IREM Commends HUD’s Inquiry Regarding Assistance Animal Documentation
Real Estate Management: A Relationship Business
Shielding Your Business from Digital Data Hacks

INDUSTRY HEADLINES
Big-Box Retail and Shopping Mall Solar: From the Possible to the Probable to the Inevitable
Trendy, Functional 'Flexible Office Spaces' Are Taking Off
More Twin Cities Apartments Welcome Pets—For a Price
Leveraging Nostalgia: How Retailers Can Build on the Warmth of Holiday Shopping
SDG&E Proposes Adding 2,000 Electric Vehicle Chargers at Housing Complexes, Workplaces
Study Shows Hours When Security Officers Are Most Often Attacked
The Most Desired Eco-Friendly Features in Apartment Communities
Target Expands Training for Employees on Active Shooter Situations
Wet Polymers Produce Responsive Coatings for Controlling Light and Heat
J. Crew and Other Factory Outlets Drive Success at Malls
Office Lifestyle Amenities Are Fueling Competition for Talent
ASHRAE Releases New Version of Energy Efficiency Standard for Buildings


 
 

IREM Headlines


IREM Commends HUD’s Inquiry Regarding Assistance Animal Documentation

IREM applauds the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for taking action against online companies selling documentation for assistance animals. IREM has met with HUD several times over the past few years to discuss this important issue. During these meetings, the challenges property owners and managers face attempting to honor legitimate needs for assistance animals while rejecting fraudulent claims were expressed.

In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), HUD Secretary Ben Carson asks the FTC to investigate websites that are selling assistance animal documentation. “These certificates are not an acceptable substitute for authentic documentation provided by medical professionals when appropriate,” Secretary Carson says in the letter.

The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to grant a reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities that affect major life activities when it may be necessary for such individuals to have equal opportunity to enjoy and use a dwelling. A service animal is any dog (or miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

Assistance animals (also known as emotional support animals) are not considered service animals. These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness and sometimes help with depression, anxiety and certain phobias. However, there’s virtually no regulation of entities offering documentation certifying that these animals are necessary, and some provide certifications without examining the individuals requesting them.

IREM will continue to monitor this important issue and provide updates as future developments occur.
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Real Estate Management: A Relationship Business

When it comes to hiring a management company, there are many factors at play. While owners certainly need professionals who possess the knowledge, skills and experience to meet their objectives, the ability to create loyal, lasting relationships is crucial. People want to work with others they trust.

Establishing trust takes time and intentional effort. Consider these four elements as you build relationships with existing and potential clients:

  • Competence: Your clients want to know that you know your stuff and that you can repeat it consistently. You don’t have to be an expert at everything, but it’s imperative to have the ability to find and use the resources that are necessary for the task at hand.
  • Character: This is your (and your company’s) moral compass. Your clients want to know your values and motives before they take time to invest in a relationship.
  • Commitment: It’s your job to get everyone on the same train at the same time, going in the same direction. Your clients want to know where you’re headed and that you’ll get there.
  • Engagement: Sustained and meaningful relationships are built on a shared engagement, or connection with your clients. Be transparent and genuine about where you’re headed and what you’ve learned along the way.

To solidify a business relationship, a written management agreement is essential. This legally binding contract between you and your clients sets the tone for how you’ll manage the relationship with your client on an ongoing basis. It should define and explain the duties, responsibilities, and obligations of each party and the authority of the management company. Craft the perfect agreement with the help of IREM’s sample management agreements.
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Shielding Your Business from Digital Data Hacks

Advances in technology have affected every industry, including property management. Now more than ever, property managers and owners store and maintain sensitive data, such as personal and financial information. At the same time, managers and owners are becoming more vulnerable to security breaches. A security breach doesn’t just affect a company’s financial bottom line; many breaches are publicized, resulting in long-term damage to a company’s brand, customer trust and future business.

IREM is offering a Live Accelerator Webinar, Protecting Your Business and Customer in the Digital Age, on December 11 at 1PM CST, to help you develop strategies for keeping your data safe. In this informative webinar, real estate technology expert Liz Sturrock, chief innovation officer of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS®, will cover:
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
  • Data Privacy
  • Information Security in Policies and Contracts
  • Physical Security
  • The Password Problems
Click here to learn more and to register.
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Industry Headlines


Big-Box Retail and Shopping Mall Solar: From the Possible to the Probable to the Inevitable
Solar Magazine (11/13/19) Burger, Andrew

Shopping malls present attractive opportunities to expand grid-connected solar power, energy storage, and intelligent, energy-efficient facilities management. As all parties come to the realization that solar power and shopping malls are a strong combination, big-box retail, shopping mall owners, architects, and building-integrated solar (BIPV) and energy management specialists have started coming together to determine how best to capitalize on the benefits. This may mean putting solar panels on more mall and parking lot rooftops. Drew Torbin, co-founder and CEO of Black Bear Energy, said that "the scale is ramping up" for solar at malls. Torbin cut his teeth developing energy-efficient buildings and putting together energy-efficient facilities systems for Prologis, while his Black Bear co-founder Kim Saylors-Laster did the same for Walmart. Now Black Bear does similar solar and energy efficiency projects at malls, stadiums, and large parking lots.

Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), explains that the push toward solar power is driven partly by economics and partly by a desire to appeal to socially conscious consumers. "The price to install solar has fallen precipitously over the last decade, making it the most affordable electricity option in many scenarios. Furthermore, there are tremendous business advantages from having customers understand that you walk the walk" when it comes to environmental responsibility, he added. Corporate environmental and social governance (ESG) is a driving force of growth for malls and retailers.
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Trendy, Functional 'Flexible Office Spaces' Are Taking Off
New York Post (11/11/19) Dailey, Jessica

The corporate real estate market has been totally transformed by the meteoric rise of flexible office space. Flex space has grown 600 percent over the last decade, and does not appear to be slowing, according to CBRE research. The term flexible refers to both the lease agreement and the physical design of the space. Traditional commercial leases typically last five or 10 years, while flex leases tend to be shorter and are open to change. Flex office spaces can also be physically altered to accommodate changes within the company making use of the flex lease. Thais Galli, managing director of innovation at Tishman Speyer, said the increased demand for flex space is mostly driven by young employees. According to Galli, young professionals have a set of clear expectations for their workplace, including desire for "exciting, beautifully designed" spaces with amenities, like corporate offices at Google and Facebook.

Spaces, Knotel, Studio, and Regus are four flex space operators currently competing in the Manhattan market. Spaces grew out of a small operation in the Netherlands that sought to bring a modern feel to flex space and coworking. A new three-floor Spaces offering in the Chrysler Building has private offices, communal areas, event spaces, and cubbies for private meetings. Knotel, meanwhile, specializes in bespoke design. Knotel founder Amol Sarva employs a team of designers and architects to work with companies on developing a unique look for their flex space. Studio offers coworking spaces in Class A Tishman Speyer properties, most recently in New York's Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Center space has a large lounge with leather sofas, custom booths, communal wood tables, and club chairs, while different conference rooms are modeled after different New York City neighborhoods. By contrast, Regus offers spaces in the landmark Chrysler Building that are tailored to privacy and service.
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More Twin Cities Apartments Welcome Pets—For a Price
MPR News (11/12/19) Moylan, Martin

Apartment owners and operators in Minnesota's Twin Cities are increasingly tolerant of dogs, cats, and other pets living at their properties -- provided the pet owners pay a fee. Apartments.com found that almost 2,000 apartment complexes in Minneapolis and St. Paul now allow pets. Jennifer Chang, brand and consumer marketing director for the website, suggested that owners have little choice but to allow pets. "We're just getting more renters with pets. It's just accepted widely," she remarked. But that does not mean the landlords are unquestioningly accepting of all dogs. Some want to have a meet-and-greet with the prospective resident and canine before anything is finalized to ensure the dog will not be a menace. Other owners and operators consider dogs' backgrounds just as they consider tenants' backgrounds. This is made possible because many owners compile comprehensive files on the dogs with information on breed, size, vaccination records, training information, and behavioral history.

John Bradford, founder and CEO of North Carolina-based Pet Screening, said that all the information is considered and the dog is then issued a "Fido score." In Bradford's estimation, this helps pit bulls and other breeds with questionable reputations get a more fair shake. After renters and their dogs make it through the rigorous vetting process, they typically face financial requirements in order to continue living at their apartment complex. Some owners and managers require one-time pet deposit payments that are non-refundable. Others ask for monthly payments. In the Twin Cities, the average pet deposit is $185 per animal, with an average monthly pet rent of $25 tacked on to the main rent. In the strictest complexes, DNA samples from each dog are collected and stored. If dog waste is not being properly scooped up around the building, the left droppings can be tested and matched to the specific animal. In cases of negligence, the pet owner would face a fine. Almost 300 apartment complexes in the Twin Cities currently make use of such programs, with service animals the only exemption.
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Leveraging Nostalgia: How Retailers Can Build on the Warmth of Holiday Shopping
Retail Dive (11/11/19) Vembar, Kaarin

Retail marketing in the fourth quarter often draws on holiday-themed nostalgia, with stores hoping to build bonds with consumers and remind them of holidays' past. Michael Solomon, professor of marketing at Saint Joseph's University, said about 10 percent of marketing today uses themes of nostalgia. "One of the main motivations for shopping is to recreate or create a sense of community," Solomon said, pointing out that successful retail creates a space where shoppers feel recognized and validated. For example, Macy's Christmas 2019 marketing campaign tells the story of a young girl named Virginia who's teased by her classmates for saying she wants to be Santa Claus. In the ad, Virginia's parents decorate their truck to look like a sleigh and she delivers gifts throughout her neighborhood, including to her classmates. The commercial hits on several enduring concepts that are revisited during the season -- family, forgiveness, community, and connection. Sara Al-Tukhaim, senior vice president of global retail insights at Kantar Consulting, said such nostalgic marketing efforts work because of the way they connect with consumers on an emotional level.

Though it may seem logical that nostalgic appeals work well on older shoppers, they can succeed even with Generation Z consumers, too. This is because trends and style cycles have started changing rapidly in recent times, so even younger shoppers have old themes to look back on. Tim Barlow, senior principal analyst at Gartner, suggested that nostalgia has taken a significant shift over the past decade. According to his research, nostalgia is becoming more centered around ideas of serenity, relaxation, and a childlike freedom from worry. To this end, the most successful nostalgic marketing campaigns make people forget about the uncertainty of the world at large. Barlow, though, cautioned that there should be restraint when planning nostalgic appeals, pointing out that the so-called good old days were not good for everyone. And though it is easier to design successful nostalgic appeals at brick-and-mortar stores, savvy use of social media can evoke the same emotions when shopping online.
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SDG&E Proposes Adding 2,000 Electric Vehicle Chargers at Housing Complexes, Workplaces
Fox 5 San Diego (11/12/19)

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has submitted a proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission to add 2,000 electric vehicle chargers at 200 strategic locations across San Diego County and southern Orange County. The chargers will be located at apartment communities, condominium complexes, and office workplaces in the two counties. To date, SDG&E has already added more than 3,000 chargers at more than 250 locations across the region. The utility estimates that customers in the two counties own roughly 47,000 electric vehicles, but said it can be hard to charge them at apartment and condo buildings that do not have easily accessible charging stations. Estela de Llanos, SDG&E's vice president of clean transportation and sustainability, said the planned expansion was prompted by customers "telling us they want to see more electric vehicle chargers where they live and work." California officials have said they want to see five million electric vehicles on the state's roads by 2030.
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Study Shows Hours When Security Officers Are Most Often Attacked
Security Magazine (11/11/19)

Private Officer International has analyzed data from news reports, law enforcement incident reports, private agency injury reports, and U.S. workplace violence data to compile a report showing the specific hours and days when security guards are most likely to be attacked. According to the organization, security officers working in retail are likely to be attacked in early mornings early in the week. This is because stores are typically understaffed then because of low foot traffic, making it easier for shoplifters and other offenders to commit crimes there while security officers must confront them alone. Private Officer International also said that mall security officers typically faced attacks between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, perhaps because that is when jewelry thieves are most likely to strike.

Meanwhile, security officers working in corporate office settings faced attack between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., perhaps because would-be thieves believe they will face less resistance if they break in during the early hours of the day. The same is true for security officers working in apartment complexes and hotels. The report concluded that security officers should be on alert all the time, but that "some environments and types of businesses have shown themselves to be much more dangerous for officers because of the very nature of their client base, levels of staffing, and their locations."
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The Most Desired Eco-Friendly Features in Apartment Communities
Scoop Empire (11/11/19)

More and more apartment residents are becoming conscious of their environmental footprint and are taking steps towards more eco-friendly lifestyles. Accordingly, some apartment communities are introducing eco-friendly policies and services to appeal to these renters. One way apartment complexes are embracing environmentally-friendly features is by installing energy-efficient appliances, which have the added bonus of lowering energy costs for occupants. On a similar note, smart thermostats are an increasingly popular eco-friendly option that can schedule heating and air conditioning around residents' schedules.

Apartment buildings looking to conserve water use are installing low-flow toilets and shower heads. Onsite recycling facilities have become quite common in eco-friendly communities, with separate receptacles for plastic and glass waste. In addition, some apartment properties have incorporated bicycle storage rooms into available space, thereby encouraging residents to take bikes instead of cars to nearby work and play destinations and reduce pollution. Finally, owners and managers are using eco-friendly pest control and weed management tools rather than harmful chemicals to reduce their buildings' negative impact on the environment.
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Target Expands Training for Employees on Active Shooter Situations
KSTP Eyewitness News ABC 5 (Minnesota) (11/14/19)

Target Corp. is offering expanded active shooter training for all employees at its big-box stores, distribution centers, and headquarters facility nationwide. Randy Ferris, instructor at Stock and Barrel Gun Club who is not involved in the Target exercises, applauded the retailer for offering such training to all of its employees and added that more companies across the country have expressed interest in following suit. "We first began doing these classes about once a year. We're now doing them monthly," he said. In an official statement, Target said that it constantly evaluates and expands its security training and is committed to "follow[ing] the guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."
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Wet Polymers Produce Responsive Coatings for Controlling Light and Heat
Materials Today (11/06/19)

Columbia Engineering researchers have developed porous polymer coatings (PPCs) that offer affordable, scalable ways to control light and heat in buildings. The researchers exploited PPCs' optical switchability at solar wavelengths to regulate solar heating and daylighting and extended the concept to thermal infrared wavelengths to modulate object-radiated heat. "By wetting PPCs with common liquids like alcohols or water, we can reversibly switch their optical transmittance in the solar and thermal wavelengths," says Columbia Engineering's Jyotirmoy Mandal. "By putting such PPCs in hollow plastic or glass panels, we can make building envelopes that can regulate indoor temperatures and light."

The PPCs' design resembles that of smart windows, but with greater optical switchability and construction via simpler, inexpensive materials. This innovation expands on earlier work on a static, fluoropolymer coating with nano-to-microscale air voids that can cool down buildings. The near-perfect refractive-index matching of alcohols and the fluoropolymer enabled the researchers to change the solar transmittance of their PPCs by 74 percent, and 80 percent for the visible part of sunlight. This is an upgrade from transmittance in most smart windows, which makes PPCs appealing for daylight control in buildings.
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J. Crew and Other Factory Outlets Drive Success at Malls
Times Union (11/10/19) Anderson, Eric

Online shopping has posed a significant threat to shopping malls and retailers, but factory stores have shown resilience against the convenience-driven e-commerce trend. When factory stores find a home in a traditional mall, the arrangement may be mutually beneficial. Ted Potrikus, president and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, described factory stores as "the bricks and mortar equivalent of online shopping," allowing consumers to buy products directly from the manufacturers and often at a reduced price. Jose Romero, director of marketing at Lee Premium Outlets in Massachusetts, said that outlets have thrived where malls have struggled.

When a store seeks to open an outlet, it strategically chooses where to locate it, taking a number of factors into account. Retailers, for example, typically put an outlet store at least one hour away from a flagship store. They are often located in or near popular vacation spots, so that visitors associate outlets with destinations and relaxation. Moreover, if the weather is bad at the vacation spot, visitors will often flock to the outlets in droves to spend the rainy hours shopping. And some outlets are strategically placed to tempt visitors from other states, because varying sales taxes across state lines make outlets more or less appealing depending on the geography.
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Office Lifestyle Amenities Are Fueling Competition for Talent
All Work (11/12/19) Ali, Aayat

Four major office markets in Texas added more than 200,000 new jobs combined during the 12-month period ended in July, bringing an influx of new talent into these communities. Companies are looking to set themselves apart from their competition in attracting the new talent, occupying space in newly constructed or renovated office buildings that have turned to amenities to promote better work-life balance. According to Jackie Marshall, first vice president at CBRE's Dallas office, "many tenants are willing to pay more to be in buildings that help them recruit and retain talent, and amenities that make their employees happy is a big part of that." Granite Properties, for instance, has developed new buildings in Dallas and Houston that offer on-site cafes and customer lounges complete with coffee service. Granite Properties next plans to add a golf simulator at its Plano location.
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ASHRAE Releases New Version of Energy Efficiency Standard for Buildings
Building Design + Construction (11/04/19) Fabris, Peter

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has released a revised version of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2019, Energy Efficiency Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. The document contains over 100 changes from the 2016 version. Among the changes are several energy-saving measures, commissioning requirements, and upgraded rules concerning how renewable energy is treated. Drake Erbe, chair of the Standard 90.1 committee, said the updated document "focuses on energy-saving measures which we hope will reward designs for achieving energy cost levels above the standard minimum and result in more efficient buildings and more innovative solutions."
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News summaries © copyright 2019 SmithBucklin



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