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Greensboro Property Management Blog

The Birch Quarterly April 2016

System - Sunday, April 24, 2016
Property Management Blog


We are very pleased to welcome 2 new Resident Services Team Members, Tonya Jennings and Stefanie Greeson. Both have backgrounds in customer service and have hit the ground running!

Tonya recently relocated from Buffalo, NY and formerly lived in Florida where she worked with the Housing Authority.

Stefanie is also new to the area, she recently moved here with her new husband from Raleigh and has over 10 years experience in customer service.


Parking on grass, or bare areas, is prohibited within the City of Greensboro and effective July 1, 2016 will be aggressively enforced. After a warning, the fine will start at $50 and repeated violations will result in the wheels being locked. Our lease also prohibits this type of parking, so now we have additional enforcement measures.

Criminal Records

On April 4, 2016, the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued further guidance on Federal Fair Housing compliance relating to the use of criminal background checks. Historical Best Practices in the property management industry included the use of criminal background checks to evaluate the suitability of a prospective resident for a particular rental unit. The recent guidance from HUD has thrown a wrench into standard practices and is forcing a complete industry upheaval in an effort to identify exactly what the guidance says and how to comply. This is a very fluid and evolving situation and we are hard at work identifying what steps must be taken to ensure compliance. Even a false accusation of a violation of Federal Fair Housing can be very costly to both the agent and landlord.

Here are some of the key components of the recent HUD guidance:

  • An arrest record may no longer be used in the evaluation of a prospective residents suitability for a property.
  • Policies regarding the evaluation of a prospect's criminal record must exhibit a substantial, non-discriminatory interest in protecting the property.
  • Blanket exclusions based on a prospect's criminal conviction record are no longer in compliance with Federal Fair Housing. This includes the amount of time that has passed since the conviction.
  • Mitigating factors around the conviction including circumstances surrounding the criminal conduct, age, and evidence of good tenancy before and after the conviction can be used to evaluate the qualification of the prospect.
  • This guidance does not apply to anyone convicted of the manufacture and distribution of a controlled substance.

While it is still very early in the new era created by this directive, we have taken steps to ensure compliance. Multiple industry groups are now seeking the advice of legal counsel to develop recommended Best Practices going forward, we look forward to reviewing them.

Spending on Rent

A recent Zillow research report including some very interesting rental industry data. In 2015, there were approximately 43 million renter households in the US, spending a combined $535B on rent. These figures are up $19B from the previous year! This increase can be attributed to 2 main factors: increased renter households and increased rents. Rental households grew by about 1.8M in 2015.

The size of the rental industry is almost equal to that of the US Department of Defense budget and 5 times that of what Americans spend on dental care per year. Single family rentals accounted for $246B, with multi-family accounting for $239B.

Forecasts indicate a continued decline in the home ownership rates. Some predictions indicate as much as a 200 basis point drop from the current level of 63.7%. This would be a level not seen since 1960. Home ownership peaked at 69% in 2006, and has been declining since that time.

Inventory restraints and the development cycle have hindered our local market from becoming fully functional. While on both the sales and rental side, our local market has seen flashes of hope. We are still facing significant economic and production hurdles in our market. There are very few developed lots available to builders in the Triad, little land that is suitable for development and a propensity for landlords to sell their investment properties. All of this should point to increased rents, and we have been successful in pushing rents as much as the market allows.

Recent data indicates that the Triad has average multi-family rental rates between 18%- 34% , much lower than those of Wilmington, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Asheville; additionally, vacancy rates are between 9%-23% worse in our market relative to the others.

Rental spending as a percentage of income ranges nationally from 22.4% - 49.3%, with the Triad falling in the middle at approximately 31%. Not being near the top should allow for additional rent growth, although it will be primarily tempered by wage growth. There are many markets outside of ours will see additional constraints to rent growth as the rent/income ratios are already pretty high.

Market Statistics

Service Announcements

Toll Free Direct Number: Our clients can now simply dial a toll free number 1-844-5CLIENT (525-4368) to be routed to our entire Client Services Team. If someone is available your call will be answered, if you get our client voicemail please leave a detailed message so we may return your call as soon as possible. Do keep in mind that our Client Services Team is always on the go evaluating the needs of
 your properties!

Owner Web Login: Our industry leading owner web login on our website is our clients' link to their information. Here is a sample of the information that is available by logging into your secure account on our website:

  • Account Balance
  • Open Payables
  • Open Receivables (has my tenant paid)
  • Service Issues
  • Posted Invoices- retrieve and store copies of all invoices posted to your account

Operating Schedule: Our regular operating hours are Monday to Thursday 8:30am-5:00pm and Fridays from 8:30am- 4:00pm. Our next scheduled office closings will be Monday May 30, 2016 in observance of Memorial Day, followed by Monday July 4, 2016.

Our Mission

Our mission is to offer personalized and professional service to both our clients and customers by building strong relationships, utilizing the latest technology, implementing effective marketing strategies, following consistent systems all with honesty and integrity throughout every facet of our business.