Staff Safety Comes to the Forefront

Apartment companies think outside the box to protect staff from COVID-19.

By Bendix Anderson

Apartments companies across the U.S. have worked hard to keep residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. But they have been just as focused on protecting employees—even as growing business activity brings their leasing professionals and maintenance teams into contact with residents or prospective residents.

“As the colder seasons approach and the pandemic continues, it will be critical that team members remain vigilant about safety practices,” says Mike Brewer, Chief Operating Officer of the RADCO Companies.

Many apartment companies are now sending staff members back to leasing offices that operated with skeleton crews during the height of the pandemic. Others are beginning to engage with residents in person and sending maintenance crews into apartments to address the backlog of problems that have piled up since the pandemic began.

“Most amenities and leasing offices were closed over the summer,” says Demi Sterling-Kinney, Vice President of Operations at Aspen Heights Partners. “We have since reopened many of these with policies in place that support social distancing.”

Leasing Offices Gradually Reopen

Numerous apartment communities closed their leasing offices to residents and potential residents in the first few months of the pandemic.

“Our existing technology gave us confidence that closing our leasing offices would not unduly interrupt business continuity,” says Brewer. A skeleton crew of property managers still showed up to work behind the closed doors of the leasing offices at RADCO’s communities, he says. They did the basic business of keeping the apartments safe and habitable, communicating with residents through phone, email and the internet.

“We remain closed to the public,” Brewer adds. “We have since returned to fully staffing our leasing offices with appropriate social distancing and personal protective equipment protocols in place.”

Apartment companies typically decide what their staff members can and cannot do by following the regulations set by local health officials to the letter. But some companies have gone beyond what local regulations demand to help keep their staff and residents safe.

“We began taking steps to ensure safe operation nationwide two weeks before the national emergency,” says Patrick Appleby, President of WinnResidential.

Experts now largely agree that COVID-19 often spreads through the air, especially indoors in spaces with weak ventilation where viral particles can hang in the air for as long as three hours. For safety in the pandemic, health experts recommend a tough standard of six to nine air changes per hour in rooms where people gather—at least twice the standard required by many building codes.

Apartment managers also have followed the level of infection increases in their areas. “Our local managers and their teams have followed infection rates closely as well to decide on a property-by-property basis if there were adjustments that needed to be made… in advance of and addition to local regulations,” says Elie Rieder, Founder and CEO of Castle Lanterra Properties.

Leasing Continues Despite COVID

These apartment companies have had to continue to lease new apartments—while keeping their employees safe—during the pandemic. They quickly learned how to conduct as much business as possible through the internet.

“Virtual or contactless leasing techniques will be an important option for everyone for the foreseeable future,” says Appleby. They include virtual tours and online applications. Many companies are also experimenting with self-guided tours.

Some companies had already planned to allow potential renters to lease an apartment largely online. The pandemic simply sped up their plans. “RADCO moved to 100 percent virtual or video conference-style leasing within days of pandemic-related closures,” says Brewer. The company hired its first digital leasing consultant two years ago, when the company first included virtual leasing tools in its technology innovation road map.

A virtual tour can be as simple as a video posted to an apartment community’s website. More complex virtual tours allow website visitors to explore a three-dimensional apartment model, similar to the three-dimensional environment of a computer game.

Apartment companies are also using “smart apartment” technologies like electronic door locks and online ID verification to let potential renters arrange a tour of an apartment through the community website and enter the apartment without ever seeing a leasing agent.

These technologies are likely to be important for apartment companies long after the pandemic is over. “Self-guided tours of apartments will become a more significant part of the sales process,” says Castle Lanterra’s Rieder.

Potential renters seem to have already gotten used to the new process. “Once our teams were past the initial learning curve, our same-store leasing and occupancy statistics began outpacing prior-year results,” says RADCO’s Brewer. “Consumer acceptance of virtual leasing signals that this is a trend that will continue.”

Virtual leasing tools will also give property managers more time to provide residents with new kinds of services. “In the near future, as technology takes more of the administrative burden away from frontline staff, we expect resident service menu to expand,” says RADCO’s Brewer.

Virtual leasing is also an important option for cautious potential renters. “There is a lingering reluctance for in-person leasing in the hard-hit markets, with a great deal of enthusiasm for virtual leasing techniques,” says Appleby. “Our priority through year-end is wooing reluctant consumers back into the leasing market.”

Maintenance Workers Take Extra Care

In the first months of the pandemic, many apartment companies sharply limited how often they would send maintenance teams into apartments to make repairs.

Spending a significant amount of time in someone’s home—long enough to fix a sink, for example—could be one of the riskiest things a person could do during a pandemic, if the resident happened to be infected with the coronavirus and the worker didn’t have access to the right protective gear.

“We limited in-unit work orders to emergencies only,” says Winn’s Appleby. More recently, Winn’s maintenance teams have been more productive—with the proper protective gear. “Our maintenance teams are at full strength, working hard to catch up on work orders and capital projects,” he says. “We have asked them to maintain the same vigilance about safety even as conditions have improved.”

These same issues have made it difficult to complete inspections. “RADCO had several properties in due diligence during the pandemic,” says Brewer. “That typically includes access to occupied units for inspection,” says Brewer. “Navigating the competing demands of buyers, sellers and residents requires open-minded collaboration.”

Some of the same technologies that have made contactless leasing possible—including simple video calls—were also helpful for some inspections during the height of the pandemic.

new jobs here

“The reliance on and performance of virtual tools has been incredible for inspections,” says Rieder of Castle Lanterra.

The Future of Work in Apartment Communities

Many apartment companies also shut down their corporate offices, sending workers home to work with their colleagues through email and video calls.

These companies have adopted new tools to help employees stay productive. “Our monthly virtual town halls have been exceptionally well-attended,” says Rieder. The company-wide intranet Castle Lanterra created in March, she adds, also continues to serve as an effective clearinghouse for the sharing of knowledge and techniques among employees.

Most of these companies expect to have staff eventually return to the office. “I am surprised by the growing expectation that companies will completely capitulate to a work-from-home model,” says RADCO’s Brewer. “I expect to see a new hybrid operations model, but not a full-blown forfeiture of the traditional in-office experience.”

In particular, Brewer looks forward to joining meetings in person. “The biggest lesson is that ‘Zoom fatigue’ is a real thing,” he says. “In-person meetings are 10 times more valuable in terms of moving the business forward.”

Bendix Anderson is a freelance writer.

5 Biggest Property Management Challenges on the Horizon


June 2021/ By Les Shaver

As the country reopens, labor continues to be a significant concern for apartment executives.

Before COVID-19, the apartment industry was facing a battle for talent. Management companies were bidding for the best and brightest onsite staffers, especially maintenance technicians.

Then the pandemic hit and unemployment skyrocketed, hitting almost 15% in April 2020. Since then, the joblessness rate has fallen to roughly 6% in March 2021. Throughout this roller coaster, the industry’s labor problems haven’t subsided.

As the country opens back up, labor again appears to the top worry for apartment management executives. Filling those critical onsite spots, especially on the maintenance team, seems to foremost on their minds.

“Talent is still the biggest pain point,” says Yakov Belousov, Executive Director of Operations at Pegasus Residential. “We as an industry are continuing to realize that at every level, especially at the maintenance department.”

The labor concerns aren’t just about filling open spots, which is still a major concern. There are other issues that keep management executives up at night. Following are five things they are most concerned about as they look to the second half of 2021.

1. Filling Open Roles

For many managers, the top challenge coming out of the pandemic is filling open onsite roles, particularly hourly positions. In some cases, collecting unenhanced unemployment benefits has been more attractive to people than working, according to a number of people in the industry.

“Some of the site-level positions are right in the same income bracket as those who have been affected with the government’s support,” says Julie Brawn-Whitesides, Executive Vice President, Property Management at San Diego-based ConAm. “So how do you motivate those people to quit waiting on the next stimulus and encourage them to come back in [and work]?”

While Brawn-Whitesides says those stimulus programs were necessary, eventually, people will need to come back to work.

“People who truly want to work and who are going to contribute successfully will be rewarded through our compensation programs and community company culture,” Brawn-Whitesides says. “But it’s a struggle right now, especially on the maintenance side.”

Douglas Eisner, Co-Founder and Managing Director of apartment owner The Calida Group, is seeing payroll costs increase from his managers. He takes a more optimistic view of the situation, seeing a potential hiring frenzy as a sign of strong, recovering apartment market.

“I wouldn’t say it’s pandemic related as much as it is recovery related,” Eisner says. “Everyone was on pause in 2020. Now people are getting back to business. So, all of a sudden, people are all restarting construction projects and expanding their firms again with thorough hiring. This is just the natural employer competition for great employees that you see in any kind of expanding market. The market is expanding nationwide so quickly that demand is exceptional right now.”

2. Compensation Challenges

When it’s difficult to find associates, one of the most obvious steps is evaluating compensation and pay.

Despite the pandemic, Belousov says salaries continue to rise. Two years ago, he says a maintenance technician in Atlanta or the Carolinas could earn $17 or $18 an hour. That has increased to $21 or $22 per hour. “Everything continues to increase,” he says.

But taking steps to increase compensation isn’t easy in this environment. The pandemic has forced managers to buy personal protective equipment, implement health checks and offer additional services during the past year.

Making things even more difficult is that massive job losses and eviction moratoriums mean many managers aren’t collecting the same revenues as they have in the past.

“The elephant in the room is these eviction moratoriums because there’s really nothing that you can do and it creates a moral hazard,” Eisner says. He acknowledges that “there are some people who genuinely are affected and who generally are suffering,” but there exists another segment of residents who could otherwise pay but are taking advantage of the situation. “And that is frustrating. So, I think that’s probably one of the bigger challenges.”

The end result is that managers are getting squeezed on both ends with expenses increasing and revenues decreasing.

“Through the pandemic costs have increased, with reasons varying from labor-related challenges to COVID supply needs, and this has happened in tandem with some revenue fluctuation caused by state and federal level moratoriums,” says Sarah Oglesby-Battle, President of Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Beztak Properties’ Residential Division.

For some firms, these revenue and expense changes may make it challenging to offer raises.

3. Refilling the Talent Pipeline

There are other ways to fill the talent pipeline if raising pay is difficult. During the pandemic, apartment managers continued to employ different strategies to fill their onsite roles. As the country reopens, expect those efforts to intensify.

Like many companies, Pegasus is also looking at alternative staffing models that would reduce onsite personnel by operating from a centralized location and leveraging technology, such as artificial intelligence, chatbots and call centers.

Pegasus is also focusing on “hiring people that know people,” as Belousov puts it. “When you hire someone who is great and they have a network, you’re really hiring them and their network,” he says.

But that’s not all. Pegasus is also working on programs to develop a career path for maintenance technicians by focusing on both trade schools and high schools.

“We’re developing programs where we’re able to go to high schools and build relationships with these guidance counselors and create fun and exciting videos to show how cool the maintenance field is,” Belousov says.

“We want to create a path for these folks to learn everything on the maintenance side and the leadership side so that they have an opportunity to develop into maintenance supervisors and regional maintenance people.”

Many companies are prepared to raise salaries when necessary. “We’ve consistently subscribed to third-party compensation reports and have strategically focused on salary planning in the upper quartiles per position,” Oglesby-Battle says. “This, in tandem with an even greater focus on strong career pathing programs, has made the organization a desirable home for those seeking longevity. When these strategic practices are coupled with technology-based mediums that meet the expectations of convenience our residents now robustly seek, and a training platform to use them, we find ourselves more attractive to a variety of potential talent.”

home for those seeking longevity. When these strategic practices are coupled with technology-based mediums that meet the expectations of convenience our residents now robustly seek, and a training platform to use them, we find ourselves more attractive to a variety of potential talent.”

4. Back to the Office

Companies across the economy are weighing when to bring workers back. Apartment companies are facing similar decisions, especially with corporate staff.

Rachel Davidson, Executive Vice President at Austin, Texas-based RPM, says the apartment industry was slow to adopt telework and other flexible policies, but the pandemic changed that and showed that staffers could be productive at home.

“One of the bigger focuses and challenges is going to be finding the right balance instead of just trying to return to normal,” Davidson says. “I think companies who just open back up and say that people are required to be back in the office are going to face challenges retaining top talent and even attracting top talent.”

If companies correctly navigate the return to the office, they can gain an edge in the battle for talent. “Those who actually make a change and create a new normal are going to have an advantage because your workforce is going to expect that,” Davidson says.

For ConAm, modifying their return-to-work policies and reconfiguring how regional and corporate support teams connect will be a huge priority. Brawn-Whitesides says some associates are comfortable and productive at home, while others can’t wait to get out of the house. “We want to thoughtfully modify our return-to-work practices to meet the needs of the company, our associates and their families.”

5. Eviction Moratorium Concerns

Management executives also need to be concerned about morale, as if filling open spots isn’t hard enough. After onsite teams worked diligently through the deadly pandemic when many people toiled from home, they now face the difficult task of potential evictions.

Brawn-Whitesides says that the company’s standards for addressing nonpayment of rent have for many years remained consistent and followed Fair Housing professionalism. “But at the same turn, we’ve had to modify our practices to ensure that we are bound by whatever has legally been placed before us.”

Brawn-Whitesides says it has been challenging for onsite teams to “wrap their heads” around applying different standards and changing their mindset.

“We’ve looked hard at who is affected and what we need to do to provide an unparalleled level of service despite their inability to pay,” Brawn-Whitesides says.

But when moratoriums expire, Brawn-Whitesides thinks it will be a challenging time for onsite associates. “I think it’s going to be an emotional time,” she says. “I think it’s going to affect our associates. I also think that it’s going to affect their neighbors. I’m concerned about it.”

But most of all, Brawn-Whitesides is concerned about the industry’s site-level staffers. After more than a year of facing potential COVID infections, being understaffed and having to perform tasks that they would never have imagined, like doing temperature checks, it’s no surprise that some of them may be overwhelmed.

“I’m concerned about leveling out the burnout of our site-level associates and keeping them motivated and refreshed in their endeavors,” Brawn-Whitesides says.

Les Shaver is a freelance writer.

Join Apartment Careers in San Antonio this April for the TAA ONE Conference & Expo!

Join Apartment Careers in San Antonio this April

for the TAA ONE Conference & Expo!

Make your plans now to attend the 2021 TAA ONE Conference & Expo April 14-16 in San Antonio for cost-effective professional development and networking. 

Join your colleagues from around the state and nation, expand your professional network and pick up new solutions that will help you succeed. 


Industry Groups Launch Rental Housing Initiative

Several resources are being offered through the COVID-19 Rental Housing Support Initiative that will be released in early 2021.

Recent reports detail a downward trend in residential rent collections as stakeholders seek solutions.

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), National Apartment Association (NAA), National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) has now launched its COVID-19 Rental Housing Support Initiative, which was announced back in October. Yardi is acting as the primary sponsor of the program. Last year, the company pledged $1 million to support COVID-19 rental housing and the programs developed by those initiatives.

“We are pleased to support the COVID-19 Rental Housing Support Initiative, enabling our industry’s largest associations to provide rental housing providers with needed support,” Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi, told Multi-Housing News. “NAA, NARPM, NMHC and IREM have worked tirelessly to provide important resources to help preserve the health of our industry. By collaborating on this project, these associations will reach a vast majority of apartment and rental housing managers with the tools they need most to survive and thrive during the pandemic and beyond.”

Several types of support are being offered that will be released in early 2021 through March. These can be found at

Below is a list of the resources that will be provided:

Mental health—Focusing on isolation and will be followed up with additional content released over the next few weeks that cover resiliency, anxiety and financing stress.

Legislative—Data and information provided in a variety of formats so people can understand how important it is to create emergency assistance programs and comprehend how the eviction moratoriums impact them.

Liability—Property owners and operators will benefit from keeping up with the latest guidelines and legislation. An e-book will be provided to help with these issues, as well as attorney information in a online resource library.

Media—The program will offer a quiz called “The Rental Housing Industrial Myth Quiz,” which will engage with the public and provide resources on the situation for multifamily owners and operators. Information will include the impact of the pandemic on their businesses and reinforce themes like the value of renting.

NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot Q4 2020

In this edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, apartment jobs delivered a strong performance during the final quarter. Job openings in the apartment industry comprised 39.2 percent of positions available in the real estate sector, well above the average of 31.3 percent. Maintenance positions had the greatest year-over-year growth, increasing by 3.5 percent. Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington D.C, Seattle and Atlanta were among the top markets for apartment job demand. Leasing consultant were in highest demand for student housing properties.


RealPage presents 2021 market outlook

RealPage recently presented a webinar forecasting the likely trends for the multifamily housing market over the next two years. Presenters were Greg Willett, Chief Economist, and Adam Couch, Market Analyst.

The webinar spent significant time reviewing the performance of the multifamily housing market in 2020 in order to set the stage for what they expect to come. Some of this is material that was covered in RealPage’s 2020 review, and will not be discussed here. This article focuses on RealPage’s view of what lies ahead.

Employment drives the economy

RealPage reported that the recovery of the huge number of jobs lost to the pandemic-inspired shutdowns is only half complete. There are still 9.2 million net jobs that have disappeared from the economy. RealPage based their forecasts for the next two years on the economy recovering 5 million jobs in 2021, mostly in the second half of the year, and another 2 million jobs in 2022.

The apartment industry enters 2021 with overall occupancy running at a relatively healthy 95.6 percent, according to RealPage. By apartment class, occupancy is 94.6 percent in Class A properties, 95.7 percent in Class B properties and 96.3 percent in Class C properties. However, there is a huge pipeline of new product on the way and this is likely to put pressure on occupancy.

The first chart, below, shows the RealPage forecast for new product deliveries over the next two years. While deliveries in 2020 hit a recent high, 2021 deliveries are expected to go even higher, reaching a little over 400,000 units.

expected apartment deliveries
RealPage forecasts apartment demand in 2021 in the 150 largest metros to come in at 307,000 units. This is up from estimated apartment absorption of 296,000 units in 2020 but down from absorption levels of 327,000 units in 2019 and 353,000 units in 2018. Since new product deliveries are forecast to outpace absorption next year, occupancy rates are expected to decline from their recent highs. RealPage’s occupancy forecast is shown in the next chart, below.

forecast apartment occupancy
Source: RealPage

The chart shows occupancy rates exhibiting normal seasonal variations but trending slightly down over the next two years. However, occupancy is expected to remain at healthy levels, around 95 percent, over this time frame.

Generous new supply of apartments and stagnant to declining occupancy is expected to put continued pressure on rents in the near term. The RealPage forecast for rent growth is shown in the next slide, below. RealPage forecasts rent growth to turn positive in late 2021 and to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.

forecast rent growth
Source: RealPage
Some metros will struggle

While the above charts provide the 2021 market outlook for the country as-a-whole, individual metros may see different results. Metros where significant new product is in the pipeline, especially where net move-outs have taken place, such as San Francisco and New York, will continue to struggle over the next two years. In fact, RealPage forecasts that 17 of the country’s top 50 metro areas will not see a return to 1Q20 rent levels until 2022 or later. In addition to San Francisco and New York, the other metros in this category are San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Oakland, Seattle, Orlando, Austin, Miami, Houston, Nashville, Minneapolis, San Antonio and Dallas.

RealPage also discussed apartment building sales and cap rates, but the focus was more on recent history rather than on future outlook. Basically, sales volume dipped in the middle of the year but rebounded in the fall. Apartment pricing has held up reasonably well with the national average sales price remaining close to its recent high at $176,000 per unit. Cap rates are at 5.1 percent and are pretty consistent around the country.

In response to a question, RealPage discussed the Las Vegas paradox. Las Vegas is a city where employment was hard hit but where occupancy and rents have gone up. They explained this paradox by noting that Las Vegas also has lots of missed rent payments which will result in evictions when moratoria are lifted. Therefore, the current occupancy numbers are somewhat misleading.

The webinar concluded by stating that suburban markets ought to outperform the urban core and that Class B properties ought to outperform Class A and Class B properties in the near term.

The full webinar discussed other topics and provided information on expected product deliveries to certain urban markets. It is available on demand and can be found here.


Dear NAA Members,

Earlier this evening, President-elect Biden revealed details of The American Rescue Plan, a sweeping COVID-19 relief package that includes several provisions of note for the rental housing industry. Of primary concern is a drastic federal eviction moratorium, to be in effect through September 30, 2021. On a positive note, the package also includes funding for $25 billion in rental assistance, $1,400 per-person stimulus checks for qualifying households and enhanced unemployment benefits.

The President-elect did recognize the millions of struggling mom-and-pop rental housing owners and operators and claimed that his proposals will also be an “economic bridge to recovery.” However, as the apartment industry well knows, some level of federal eviction moratorium has been in place for nearly a year and targeted, direct rental assistance did not arrive until nine months after the pandemic began. More help is needed, and it is needed now without an eviction moratorium attached.

While we applaud the Biden Administration for calling on Congress to pass further rental assistance, action must be taken immediately. We call upon Congress to enact additional rental assistance without delay, so that rental housing providers of all portfolio sizes may be made whole and can continue operations – keeping America’s 40 million renters safely housed while the pandemic continues to rage. Additionally, we urge Congress to avoid any extension of any eviction moratorium, which only cripples housing providers, hurts housing affordability and harms the very Americans it seeks to protect.

As always, NAA will continue aggressively advocating for policies that meet the unique needs of our industry. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress to craft the most effective short- and long-term solutions to the housing crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to keep you apprised as we further digest President-elect Biden’s proposal.

Stay healthy and well,

Robert Pinnegar, CAE
President and CEO

National Apartment Association

Lessons from Single Family: Self-Guided Tours Are Here to Stay

December 21, 2020

In the era of COVID-19, self-guided tours have moved from forward-looking innovation to necessity, with the early adopting single-family market offering a roadmap for multifamily professionals. 

By Samantha Chalmers

Before COVID-19, self-guided tours were a cautiously adopted solution throughout the multifamily housing industry.

But as panelists discussed in the session, “Lessons from Single Family” at APTvirtual, single-family housing was an early adopter that experienced significant success with this touring model. The path of that experience provides an effective roadmap for multifamily operators as COVID-19 accelerates adoption of self-guided tours throughout the industry.

The effectiveness of that roadmap is found in the data from single-family self-guided tours that indicates that residents frequently utilize self-touring, which also shortens the lead to lease conversion timeline. 

“Customers want to be able to find information about an apartment community in any way that they want,” explained Todd Katler, CEO and founder of Anyone Home. “Operators who allow prospects to trade in their own currency will see the benefits of providing multiple platforms in the form of increased conversion and accelerated leasing velocity.”

According to an analysis of the 2018 leasing activity of Anyone Home’s single-family clients, 61.3% of prospects who booked a tour chose only a self-guided one, while 30.1% chose only a tour with an associate and 8.6% booked both tour types. Those who used self-guided tours converted to a lease at nearly twice the rate—9.3 % vs. 5%—than those who didn’t.

Single-family prospects who completed a self-guided tour at any point in the leasing process had a 54% higher conversion rate compared with those who only took an agent-led tour. One out of every four prospects who participated in a self-guided tour leased. Sixty-seven percent of prospects who leased after touring completed a self-guided tour as their first tour. Thirty-three percent of prospects who leased after touring completed a self-guided tour as a subsequent tour.

The data, however, wasn’t the driving force for single-family operators like Invitation Homes. It was an operational necessity born from the challenges of leasing homes dispersed across an entire metro area rather than in a single multifamily community. That innovation necessity, fortunately, produced significantly positive results for the company and prospects.

“It’s a win-win,” said Phil Rogers, Director of Operational Planning and Analytics for Invitation Homes, which owns and leases single-family homes. “It allows scalability, it allows efficiency on the leasing side, but it’s also extremely attractive to the consumer. Even if when we offer a 50/50 model, it’s the first choice of a growing number of prospects.”

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many multifamily operators find themselves in a similar situation Invitation Homes was in when it first started offering self-guided tours. It’s more of a necessity than a forward-looking innovation.

“Covid really changed the way we looked at this technology. We no longer had the luxury of determining what we want, but instead we had to figure out what we need in order to maintain operations,” said Kari Warren, Executive Vice President at Kairoi Residential.  “Once we realized that we needed to quickly shift the way we tour, all of the features we wanted on a self-guided tour option became secondary to our need to provide prospects with a quick and easy way to tour that still felt safe.”

So much for cautious adoption.

Samantha Chalmers is an Account Director for LinnellTaylor Marketing.

Explaining the Breakdown of One Dollar of Rent

January 4, 2021

There exists a misconception that rental housing owners enjoy large margins and can continue operating in the absence of rent payments, and with so much discussion around rents during COVID-19, the National Apartment Association (NAA) has released resources that help explain the breakdown of $1 of rent.

Because education is an effective way to counter harmful public policy and negative industry stereotypes, NAA offers this explanatory video and companion infographic breaking down a dollar of rent into its component parts.

The apartment industry must help society understand the benefits of rent payments for all Americans, whether or not they reside in rental housing.

From supporting 17.5 million jobs to the dollars reinvested into apartment communities to ensure quality living for more than 40 million residents, and through paying property taxes that finance schools, emergency services and other local needs to investor returns that include public pensions and 401(k)s, a rent payment is much more important than one might otherwise realize.

TAAEF’s “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge is back with a twist!

By Becca Ramati, TAAEF Vice President
Dec. 8, 2020


As part of the Room to Grow campaign, the Texas Apartment Association Education Foundation is again launching the “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge—this time for maintenance professionals only!

Key takeaways

  • The “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” initiative is an internal video challenge for industry employees in maintenance positions to tell us their stories and to be an Ambassador for the industry.
  • Submissions will be accepted beginning on January 4 and the process is easy—simply record a short video of yourself telling us who you are, what you do and what you love about your job.
  • Encourage your friends and maintenance staff to submit a video, too—one of you just might be our next ambassador!

By popular demand, the Texas Apartment Association Education Foundation is excited to bring back the “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge, part of the Room to Grow campaign.

This year the campaign is focusing on maintenance professionals, the often-unsung heroes of the multifamily industry who keep properties in working order and safe. Not only do they keep things running smoothly, they also help our residents feel at home.

Maintenance is the #1 need when it comes to recruiting and staffing for multifamily properties. TAAEF hopes this focus on maintenance provides more stories to share that resonate with Texans looking for not just a job but a career.

To participate in this year’s “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge, submit your video between January 4 and before midnight on January 26.

How the “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge works

Click to sign up!
  1. Watch TAA and TAAEF social media and your email for more information later this month.
  2. Record a short video highlighting your work as a maintenance professional.
  3. Submit your video starting January 4. The deadline for submissions is January 26, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Central. (You’ll submit your video by uploading it here.)
  4. A committee of industry leaders will select three-to-five finalists.
  5. Each finalist will be notified. Finalist are encouraged to share information with family, friends and colleagues who can cast votes in the finalist round.
  6. The public is invited to vote for their favorite finalist video between February 3-11, 2021.
  7. The winner of the public voting is selected as the next Room to Grow Ambassador. The winner will be announced February 15.

The winner of the challenge will be featured in a professionally produced video and receive high-quality photographs. This video will debut at the TAA ONE Conference & Expo and the winner will receive a free registration and hotel stay during the conference. The new Ambassador will also be featured in Texas Apartments magazine, TAA Viewpoints newsletter and throughout TAAEF and TAA’s social media channels.

Please share this article and opportunity with any colleagues you think would be a good fit and encourage them to participate—we’d love to hear their story.

It is TAAEF’s hope that “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” empowers you to share your story to help raise awareness about the diverse, quality career opportunities in the Texas apartment industry.

For any questions, please reach out to TAAEF staff at

Submit your video!