The Apartment Transparency Push: What Rental Platforms Are Doing and What It Means for Renters
According to Alexandra Alvarado, director of marketing and education at the American Apartment Owners Association, this industrywide move toward transparency has been in the works for some time. The White House initiative only sped it up.
“Transparency in the private sector has been trending even prior to the Blueprint being issued,” Alvarado says. “Last year Airbnb adopted pricing transparency showing total booking costs, which has helped their customer satisfaction greatly. It’s been an incentive for hosts to compete by lowering their fees.”
These moves toward fee transparency are only a small portion of the changes to result, at least in part, from the White House’s initiatives. Alvarado says she’s seen an uptick in security deposit alternatives, which give renters more financial flexibility in the initial leasing process, as well as property owners being more transparent about qualifying criteria – something that “helps build trust between tenants and their landlords,” she says.
This California handyman found a creative way to force out squatters — but it’s a dangerous tactic.
According to the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA), most states have laws that give squatters rights to inhabit a property “in the event that the lawful owner does not evict or take action against,” them and they differ from state to state.
How to Run a Tenant Background Check
“The first key step is to have a comprehensive rental application which collects at minimum the name, date of birth, Social Security number, other proposed occupants, pets, previous addresses with landlord references, employer references, vehicle information and driver’s license or government-issued ID,” says Alexandra Alvarado, director of marketing and education at the American Apartment Owners Association. Proof of income is also necessary, such as pay stubs, bank statements or a W-2, and a copy of the applicant’s ID.
“The results of a background check will only be as good as the information that is input,” Alvarado adds. “And the more documentation landlords request, the less likely a tenant will be to forge them.”
What Is a Month-to-Month Lease?
“Month-to-month leases can vary from state to state so it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons where the rental is located,” explains Alexandra Alvarado, director of marketing and education at the American Apartment Owners Association. “For example, the notice of termination period for a month-to-month lease is 30 to 90 days for most states, but some states have ‘just cause’ laws as well.”
“Typically, ‘just cause’ means the landlord must renew the lease unless the tenant has intentionally damaged the unit, not paid rent or broken the lease in some material way,” Alvarado adds. “It’s important to also research whether your state has exemptions for ‘just cause’ so you can ensure the law applies to you.”
White House using one-size-fits-all plan to protect renters at landlords’ expense: ‘Very frustrating’
“We’ve seen it for so many years, and it’s very frustrating,” American Apartment Owners Association director Alexandra Alvarado said during Grady Trimble’s report on “The Big Money Show” Wednesday. “[Mom-and-pop landlords] are not being treated differently, even though it affects them much more than it would affect any large company with thousands of units. They have room for it. Landlords that have a few units don’t.”
Biden’s sweeping plan to help renters comes ‘at the expense’ of mom-and-pop landlords — here’s what to do if you still want your slice of the real estate pie
AAOA director Alexandra Alvarado said it’s “very frustrating” how mom-and-pop landlords are ignored by lawmakers.
“We’ve seen it for so many years … [mom-and-pop landlords] are not being treated differently, even though [housing policy] affects them much more than it would affect any large company with thousands of units,” Alvarado said on “The Big Money Show.”
Landlord Threatens to Evict Tenant for Using A/C, Gets Dragged by Internet
According to the American Apartment Owners Association, if the tenant doesn’t pay rent on time or allows unapproved roommates, the landlord may have cause to evict them.
U.S. rents surge, leaving behind generation of younger workers
As coronavirus infections spread in 2020, wealthier people went to summer homes or remote areas to avoid infection, leading to vacancies and steep rent reductions in many cities. Now, landlords are making up for those losses while also trying to recoup higher maintenance and insurance costs, said Alexandra Alvarado, marketing director at the American Apartment Owners Association, which represents smaller landlords.
With low supply in large cities and rural areas where more people have moved for remote work, landlords can ask prospective tenants to show higher incomes than previously required, she said.
Looking for an apartment? That will be $400 in application fees, please
“In California, it could be a $1 million property that they’re renting out, and they’re giving it to a complete stranger,” said Alexandra Alvarado, marketing director for Calabasas-based American Apartment Owners Association and its sister company, TenantAlert. “It’s not easy for a landlord to just give that to somebody that they don’t know. They want to make sure there’s something there that can make them feel a little better about the decision.”
It’s rare to find landlords who don’t do background checks unless they’re renting to a relative, Alvarado said
“If anything, they’re just upping it more,” she said. “They want more data.”
Why College Students May Need Renter’s Insurance
Some colleges may require students to carry insurance as part of their campus housing contract. And many property owners who rent off-campus housing require students to buy coverage, said Alexandra Alvarado, director of marketing and education for the American Apartment Owners Association, which provides services to landlords.
“The landlord has insurance on the property itself,” she said, “but that doesn’t include the tenant’s property.”
If you have a renter’s policy, your belongings are often covered even if they are stolen away from home. Ms. Alvarado recalled that when she was in college, her laptop was stolen from her car and her renter’s policy paid to replace it.
New service provides landlords coverage for evictions
The American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA) offers LeaseGuarantee, a new program that reimburses owners for up to $10,000 for unpaid rent, property damage and legal fees incurred during eviction proceedings. The service, which costs a minimum of $299 for one year of $2,500 in protection without a deductible, can be paid for by the landlord or tenant.
Tenants may prefer this program since it is less costly than a traditional security deposit. Whether the tenants are eligible depends on a screening by the AAOA. Rates depend on the amount of coverage requested and the tenant’s credit and eviction history. Protection is available at higher rates for up to $10,000. The program is available to owners of single-family rentals as well as multiunit houses and apartments.
Columbus renters push back against rising rents with formation of tenants’ union
“Part of the reason why unions are becoming more popular is because that lack of communication became really evident during the pandemic,” said Alexandra Alvarado, director of marketing and education at the American Apartment Owners Association, which supports roughly 130,000 landlord members across the country.
Alvarado said while tenant unions can sometimes threaten landlords’ ability to operate, especially smaller mom-and-pop outfits, property owners should listen to their concerns.
“Homeownership is not on the rise, it is declining. Homeownership is becoming less affordable, and so at least for the time being, there may be more renters than homeowners, and they’re going to have a voice. And that should be heard, I think, within these conversations, it can actually be something helpful,” she said.
Missouri tenants, landlords enter uncertain period after overturning of federal eviction moratorium
The American Apartment Owners Association surveyed its members last May and found an overwhelming percentage willing to help tenants. At the time, most people were hoping the worst of the pandemic would be over by the fall.
I think it’s quite frustrating for many landlords,” said Alexandra Alvarado, director of marketing and education for the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA). “In some cases, many have considered selling their rental properties if they don’t think they can afford to continue.”
Alvarado said a common misconception is most apartment owners are large companies or retirees earning extra income. Approximately 50% of rental owners in AAOA are small “mom and pop” landlords. These landlords are responsible for paying maintenance, taxes, insurance and utility costs. They also juggle marketing and advertising, customer relations, maintenance, accounting and other tasks.
“A year later, they are just finding it not to be sustainable,” Alvarado said.
Getting or Returning a Security Deposit: What You Need to Know About Security Deposit Refunds
As noted, every state has different regulations surrounding security deposits. Below is a summation of how each state handles these deposits, according to the American Apartment Owners Association. However, you’ll want to consult a financial professional or refer to your state’s individual law code for a full list of regulations.
Should we hold apartment complexes accountable for crimes committed within the property?
According to the American Apartment Owners Association in Tennessee, the Landlord-Tenant law states landlords must comply with building and housing codes that affect both health and safety.
3 Strategies To Help You Rent Out Property Quickly
A past report by the American Apartment Owners Association found that certain features like the inclusion of an air conditioning unit, dishwashers, and well-designed kitchens were important to them
How Tenant Screening Reports Make It Hard for People to Bounce Back From Tough Times
“The theme for the landlord is, ‘How do I lower my risk?’” says Alexandra Alvarado, head of marketing and education at the American Apartment Owners Association, which represents more than 120,000 landlords
Mediaplanet and Industry Leaders Partner to Discuss 2021 Top Trends in the Rental Industry During COVID-19
This campaign was made possible with the support of the National Apartment Association, American Apartment Owners Association, National Association of Rental Property Managers, National Multifamily Housing Council, Peter Lorimer, LiftMaster, SmartRent, and Property Meld.