Yardi Breeze Oct20

Yardi Breeze

Team Yardi brought something different to the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) annual tradeshow and convention this year: brand new software! Our staff was excited to introduce the crowd in Orlando to Yardi Breeze, refreshingly simple software designed to make work easier for smaller owners, investors and managers. This completely new platform is very different than any property management software you may have tested before. It’s intuitive to use, quick to implement and works on any device. See everything you need at a glance – in your office, at home or on the go. Better still, live chat support is just a click away within the platform. Priced at only $1 per unit per month and backed by our years of industry experience and reliable accounting, Yardi Breeze is the next big thing for small business. Although it won’t be widely available until January, we were excited to show Breeze off for the first time at this particular show. We can’t think of a more fitting audience! What residential manager doesn’t need a better solution that’s simple, reliable and a breeze to use? NARPM attendees had a great time “test driving” the software, giving the Yardi team their feedback and winning prizes. We plan on officially rolling out Breeze in 2018, but if you want to learn more, you can request a preview now. While you’re waiting, follow Breeze on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for sneak peeks and exclusive content for smaller...

Canada Update Oct19

Canada Update

Continuing a strong commitment to the real estate industry through software development and education, Yardi’s Canadian team is always proud to be part of events that bring thought leaders and peers together to help move the industry forward. This September, Yardi participated in two conferences that focused on how technology is transforming the real estate industry. Canadian Apartment Investment Conference (CAIC) Peter Altobelli, Vice President and General Manager of Sales for Yardi Canada, spoke on a Sept. 6 panel at CAIC that focused on how technology is impacting every facet of real estate management. Altobelli was joined by moderator Albert Engel, Partner at Fogler Rubinoff, Hugh Kolias, Founder of yuhu, Trish MacPherson, Executive Vice President of Operations at CAPREIT, Todd Nishimura, Director of Marketing, Vertica Resident Services at GWL Realty Advisors and Brian Turpin, Vice President of Information Technology for Greenwin. On the topic “how do you know which technologies your company should invest in?” Altobelli said, “Look at your business and identify your core objectives to determine which areas your company needs to focus on the most. Also consider your team and understand how they function and where bottlenecks occur. For considering new technology, the main thing companies need to do is to keep an open mind, do the research and understand the market.” Deciphering Data With regard to new trends in accessing and understanding data to make it actionable, Altobelli pointed out that some companies don’t have departments or teams dedicated to data mining — but with the latest business intelligence solution, that’s no longer an obstacle. Among other benefits, a transparent BI software solution will combine with your operational data and allow you to: Categorize your data by user Tie in spend with your investment Identify correlating elements that are seemingly...

Tech Evolution Oct17

Tech Evolution

Alex Stanton, Yardi industry principal for Commercial, joined other technology experts in exploring the fast-paced evolution of technology, automation and innovation in a recent Realcomm-sponsored webinar. The six-member panel described the current real estate technology paradigm that considers tenants, guests, employees and shoppers as interrelated elements of a user experience.  As a result, property owners and managers aim to deliver a high-value experience by using new property management software systems that can capture and apply data inclusive of all occupant touchpoints, from reservations to parking to the building environment. Stanton elaborated on this theme, noting the convergence of historically separated property management technologies for property and facilities maintenance, energy management, procurement and self-service experiences.  Amid rising expectations of among space and asset users, he said, “facility, property and business management systems are coming together,” allowing inventory management, preventative maintenance and exceptions management from a core suite.  Additional technology innovations include “interfaces that enable experiences, such as service requests, photo-enabled technology for notifications, concierge services and payments, with immediate download of supporting photographs,” he said, adding, “Yardi sees tremendous opportunity in artificial intelligence, the internet of things and visualization.” Addressing another part of creating an optimal building experience, Stanton referenced Yardi’s creation of an energy suite that encompasses everything from energy optimization, sourcing, utility expense management and compliance. Other speakers addressed other drivers of real estate technology innovation.  Rick Gehringer from real estate developer Caruso related how a common technology platform can provide “a true experience management system” for guests by capturing all touchpoints and every user engagement across a property.  Examples of how technology can make the guest experience enjoyable, efficient and high-quality include a common reservation system, a rewards system that captures receipt images and an automated parking system. John Gilbert of commercial...

Pacemaker Panic

The FDA recently released an emergency notice last recalling several implantable pacemakers due to recently discovered cyber security vulnerabilities. According to the FDA, devices manufactured by Abbott’s (formerly St. Jude Medical) could be compromised by hackers with exploits that would allow a third party to affect the speed of the device or deplete its batteries. Fortunately, a simple firmware update will protect patients from any outside interference. Frequency Failure According to the FDA, hackers could take advantage of radio-frequency-enabled pacemakers to compromise the device’s authentication algorithm. Under the right circumstances, bypassing the device’s authentication key and time stamp would allow a nearby attacker to send “unauthorized commands” to the pacemaker via RF communications. Additionally, because the number of “RF wake-up” commands are not limited by these specific pacemakers, a third-party could repeatedly send commands to the device to drain its battery life. Both the Accent and Anthem pacemakers could also potentially reveal patient information to unauthorized parties. As of yet, there are no reports of any real-world infiltrations, and both the FDA and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed the exploit code is “not publicly available.” The Department of Homeland Security warns potential hackers would need to be physically near their intended target. Additionally, the Department of Health promises only “an attacker with high skill would be able to exploit these vulnerabilities.” Nevertheless, the potential for real harm exists, especially because the flaw in the device’s software would allow a third party to slow or stop the device. Even though the possibility of of injury or death remains remote, influencing the speed or power on a pacemaker could result in life-threatening injury, thus spurring the FDA’s recall action. “These vulnerabilities, if exploited, could allow an unauthorized user (i.e., someone other than the patient’s physician)...

Renters Speak Out Oct05

Renters Speak Out

If you’re currently a renter or have ever been one, you’ve probably wondered whether or not your landlord considers your needs for a happier home. A recent survey of thousands of Canadian renters sent a clear message to property managers everywhere: from soundproof walls to high speed internet and online services, renters are expecting more from their apartment living experience. And perhaps not surprisingly, technology tops the list. Sponsored by Yardi, results of this year’s Tenants Preference Survey, the only survey of its kind for the Canadian market, were presented at the Canadian Apartment Investment Conference (CAIC) on September 6, 2017. The CAIC brings together property owners, managers, investors and developers to provide valuable insights into the residential real estate market including how to increase net values. This year, attendees were eager to hear about what renters really want and how to keep them happy. Birth of the Project According to Sarah Segal, director at Informa, the survey was inspired five years ago by a real estate roundtable discussion that raised questions about what renters wanted. Informa delivers over 150 trade and consumer exhibitions annually across the globe including the Canadian Apartment Investment Conference, and engages industry leaders to understand key trends and concerns impacting property owners and managers. With more digital tools to empower its research in 2016, Informa partnered with Rentlogic and worked with founder Yale Fox and Amy Erixon from Avison Young to conduct a small survey of 2,000 renters. Segal said the survey produced some interesting findings, but Informa wanted wider distribution and more targeted questions for the next survey. To accomplish that, the company sought industry support including sponsors and the participation of property managers. Segal commented, “Yardi was immediately onboard with helping us produce an in-depth renter survey and...

BeltLine Update Oct04

BeltLine Update

Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens proposes a revised zoning ordinance along the Atlanta BeltLine, a 22-mile mixed-use park project. It is the first step in a longstanding effort to prepare for the city’s 40 percent population boom by 2040. The proposal would require developers along the BeltLine to designate a percentage of units towards affordable housing for the next 20 years. Developers would receive incentives for their compliance, such as reduced property taxes and more flexible parking requirements. Additional details remain undisclosed. The push for affordable housing in Metro Atlanta, particularly in the Buckhead segment of the BeltLine, addresses a desperate need. Buckhead View reports the most recent data: A person or family whose income falls below 80 percent of the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area Median Income (AMI) qualifies for subsidized housing. The median income for a family of four is approximately $67,500. Per the United States National Housing Act of 1937 for affordable housing, allotting one-third of one’s income is reasonable for housing costs. That would be $24,300 a year or an average rent of $680 per month for Atlanta families. Along the BeltLine in Buckhead, an 800 square-foot studio could cost a family more than $1,840 per month. Rents exceed $2.30 per square foot, according to Haddow & Co. Home prices continue to rise. A report issued by Georgia Tech reveals that home sales prices near the BeltLine increased faster than elsewhere in Metro Atlanta. Prices skyrocketed between 40 to 68 percent in the last four years, depending on the neighborhood. High prices are largely the results of land costs. Chuck Young, SVP of development for the Prestwick Development Co., notes the steady rise in recent years. “It used to be we could develop a garden apartment for $65 a square foot. Now it’s...

YASC Asia 2017 Oct03

YASC Asia 2017

The Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC) returns to Sentosa Island in Singapore on October 10, 2017. The new venue location, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa, offers tranquil grounds and beautiful views of the South China Sea. Our YASC 2017 event is bigger and better than ever! The one-day conference will offer expanded learning and networking for clients with property portfolios across Asia. This year’s conference boasts 25 in-depth courses, panels, and discussion groups tailored for commercial and investment professionals. In addition to expanded training, YASC attendees will have an opportunity to make valuable connections with industry peers, Yardi staff, and consultants throughout the day. Attendees can network into the evening at Yardi’s Wonderland reception. Hosted at the Straits Veranda at the Sofitel Resort & Spa, guests can look forward to enchanting live music, nationally-acclaimed entertainment, tasty canapés, and more! “We’ve designed YASC to maximize learning opportunities and networking. We’re excited to welcome our clients and industry experts to our new location on Sentosa Island,” said Nina Feldman, marketing manager at Yardi. Here are a few new features to 2017 YASC Asia: Discussion groups A new addition to YASC Asia, discussion groups aim to explore the software solutions you use every day. These groups will be facilitated by a Yardi product expert to provide a space to discuss issues and share experiences with industry peers. Hands-on experience in the Computer Lab Reinforce newly acquired skills with hands-on experience in our on-site Computer Lab, which will offer assistance with Yardi products, SQL scripting, and reporting. Our Lab team will be available to answer your product-specific questions, provide advice, and discuss products you’re keen to learn more about. For Lab hours, refer to the conference overview. Connecting on social media Join the fun on social media and you could win big!...

Aging in Place Oct03

Aging in Place

According to the 2012 AARP Public Policy Institute study, more than 90 percent of seniors plan to age in place for the next five to 10 years. Today’s seniors value features that allow them to maintain independence within their home without relying on care providers or family. Fulfilling that dream may be harder than they think. Rodney Harrell, housing expert with AARP, estimates that only 1 percent of every 100 million US homes is conducive to aging in place. The typical home will need upgrades to accommodate aging residents. To appeal to aging residents—present and future—designers may consider several universal design elements that make housing more accessible without a structural renovation. Ease of Access The current cabinetry and doors in a home can receive an age in place update with a few simple additions. Consider drawer pulls and lever door handles in place of knobs, which can become challenging to grip. Sliding trays make deep cabinets easier to access. Soft closures minimize noise and prolong the life of shelving. New appliance lifts bring hard-to-reach items to accessible levels. Hardware Resources’ The Soft-close Mixer/Appliance Lift makes it easy to bring heavy or cumbersome items to counter level when needed. Users can then stow items out of sight when they are not in use by pulling upon the lever. The Soft-close Mixer/Appliance Lift handles loads up to 45 pounds. Elevated microwaves save counter space but they may be difficult to reach. Installing the microwave at counter height or waist height offers greater accessibility as users’ range of motion and mobility change over time. By installing showers with hand-held showerheads, built-in seats and grab bars, residents can enjoy improved functionality for multiple stages of life. Accessibility National Association of Home Builder (NAHB) recommends recommends that washing machines...

Pay Vendors Faster Oct02

Pay Vendors Faster

A vendor provides a product or service for a property management company. Then they get paid, the sooner the better. That’s the theory, at least. In practice the traditional process can be laborious for both sides of the ledger—vendors and property managers. Submitting paper invoices, securing approvals, cutting checks, stuffing and mailing envelopes, and taking payments to the bank breed opportunities for errors and delay. Yardi’s online vendor management solution, VENDORCafé®, speeds up the invoicing process for vendors while reducing printing, mailing and storage costs for property managers. “We’ve noticed a significant improvement in expediting our invoices through the system. It’s user friendly, and provides an easy transition from one task to the next. Thanks VENDORCafé!” says Shamrock Press and Graphics. Yardi has taken the lead in developing new technology for vendors that makes processing invoices and payments, uploading insurance certificates and accessing statements, much easier. VENDORCafé offers: Easy, secure, mobile-enabled uploading of invoices and statements Reduced costs through electronic invoice processing Automated transmission of compliance status, expiration alerts and other information This infographic takes a look at the step-by-step VENDORCafé process. For property managers, VENDORCafé is a single vendor management system of record that cuts risk in vendor onboarding, eliminates lost and duplicate invoices and integrates fully with their Yardi Voyager® property management and accounting platform. “VENDORCafé eliminated the frustration that our vendors and internal staff previously experienced.  Before, vendors would reach out to our staff to get updates on invoices. Now that vendors can follow their invoice online through the payment process, we have seen a visible increase in efficiency,” says Iris Esguerra, Yardi project manager and information technology business analyst for Grubb Properties, a developer in Charlotte, N.C. with commercial and residential holdings. She adds, “VENDORCafé gives our vendors confidence and...

Multifamily Outlook Oct02

Multifamily Outlook

Yardi Matrix reports another strong summer for the multifamily real estate sector. The fundamentals were downgraded from “great” to “consistently good” but several factors suggest continued, healthy performance. Even rapid development in some of the nation’s hottest markets has slowed to a more sustainable pace due to construction labor shortages. The shortages may have longer-lasting effects due to disaster recovery efforts throughout the United States. Rents For the last year-and-a-half, rent growth as gently declined as rents inched upward. The rent growth deceleration may be drawing to an end, though, as the supply boom reaches it apex. National average rents increased by 2.4% on a year-over-year basis in August, yet are down from 4.6% at this time last year. Deliveries are not manifesting as quickly as previously anticipated, which should moderate rent increases. The long-term outlook for multifamily seems promising due to favorable fundamentals and demographic trends: Millennials are forming households, wage growth remains solid, and the economy is relatively healthy. Hottest Markets The hottest metros for rent growth are still secondary markets that are lagging on supply. Tacoma (8.1 percent), Sacramento (7.7 percent), Colorado Springs (7.6 percent) and the Inland Empire (4.3 percent) are four of the fastest growing markets yet they’re only estimated to increase stock by 1 percent this year. These markets benefit from their proximity to larger markets such as Seattle, the Bay Area, Denver and Southern California. They enjoy vigorous employment growth and popularity with Millennials. The young renters look forward to the areas’ desirable lifestyles with lower costs. There are always exceptions. Seattle faced 5.9 percent rent growth regardless of the surge in supply.  Analysts are exploring the connection between rents and the city’s increased minimum wage. Minimum wage increased from $9.47 in 2015 to $13. Nashville is...

Short-Term Rentals Sep26

Short-Term Rentals

The City of Toronto has proposed new regulations for the short-term rental market. The proposed changes will affect owners of short-term rentals, rental agencies such as Airbnb, as well as hospitality and multifamily specialists. The City of Toronto is the first Canadian city to draft policy for this sector of the hospitality industry. Hosts and renters alike have known that regulations for the short-term rental market were inevitable. According to an Ipsos Public Affairs survey, 74 percent of Toronto residents believe short-term rentals should be permitted with some regulations. The Need for Change Several factors contribute to the need for new legislation regarding short-term rentals. Four issues top The City of Toronto’s list of motivating factors. Housing Shortage Population growth has outpaced the construction of new homes in Toronto, resulting in a housing shortage and affordability crisis. CMHC Rental Market for 2015 reports that a healthy vacancy rate is about 3 percent. Toronto’s vacancy rate is 1.6 . The lack of supply directly affects affordability. The Brooke Amendment to the 1968 Housing and Urban Development Act established a standard that is honored throughout much of North America. The Amendment stipulates that allotting more than 30 percent of household income towards housing is a measure of housing unaffordability. The City of Toronto cites the following CMHC data: 28 percent of owners spend a third or more of their income on housing, while 44 percent of renters spend 30 percent or more. The City of Toronto is exploring the connection between the short-term rental housing and the shortage of available housing stock. Hospitality Plateau EX26.3, a document that details the proposed regulations for short-term rentals, provides an overview of the proposed changes. It states, “Growth in the short-term rental market may be one of the factors...

RFD Social Sep25

RFD Social

An eye-catching yet awkward space may soon become Atlanta’s hottest new bar and lounge. The site of Ponce City Market was once home to Sears, Roebuck & Co. headquarters. When it opened in 1926, newspapers heralded the 2.1 million square-foot building as the largest brick structure in the southeastern United States for decades. It remained in operation until 1987. In 2012, the site reopened as a mixed-use hot spot for Atlanta locals and tourists alike. Nearly 85 businesses call Ponce City Market home. Restaurants, clothiers, bars, and artisanal shops share a space the buzzes with energy and young, hip shoppers. Though Ponce City Market has enjoyed success, its iconic tower remained desolate. Shops and restaurants occupied lower levels of the structure but the unique vision for floors 10, 10.5, 11, and 12 lingered unfulfilled. What Now Atlanta reports that operator Slater Hospitality has finally found a suitable use for the challenging 16,172 square-foot space. Plans for RFD Social are in the works. Rumor has it that RFD Social is short for Dinner Bell Radio Farmers’ Democracy, a radio show that once broadcast from the Atlanta Sears Tower in the 1920s. Kevin Slater, owner at Slater Hospitality, has not confirmed or denied this claim. RFD Social will include a multi-level bar and lounge, as well as an events space with a catering kitchen. Adjoining businesses include Skyline Park, Nine Mile Station restaurant, and Rooftop Terrace events space. While locals are excited to see the space put to good use, a few questions remain unanswered since the press release issued in late August. “I want to know if it will be a public space or if it will only be for private events,” said Kimmey Elliot, 26, an Old Fourth Ward resident.  “We don’t need another...

Recovery from Harvey Sep21

Recovery from Harvey

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Congress has approved a $15.25 billion disaster aid package for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). An additional package for Hurricane Irma recovery is likely under deliberation. The approved funds will contribute to, yet not cover, emergency assistance for regions of Texas and Louisiana overcome by Hurricane Harvey. The total funds needed for recovery may exceed $50 billion, according to analysts. The Gulf Coast of Texas received an unprecedented 50 inches of rain in less than four days. Homeland Security reports the loss of at least 70 lives and the destruction of more than 100,000 homes. Nearly 42 percent of Texans live in areas covered by the disaster proclamation. Beyond the Storm After Hurricane Allison, the 2014 City of Houston drainage study revealed that many of Houston’s poorest communities were inadequately prepared for “even modest storm events.” The National Community Reinvestment Coalition published a statement and map that shows the correlation between high-risk flood zones and communities of color. CNN reports that the city council approved $10 million to reduce drainage issues. Texas Housers and the Texas Organization Project claim that the City of Houston did not take action to protect its residents or mitigate the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Dam releases contributed to the devastation. On Monday, the US Army Corps of Engineers began to release water from the Addicks and Barker dams. The assumption was that the neighborhoods could better manage the water with controlled releases than uncontrolled overflow from the dams. Flood control officials in Harris County estimate that hundreds of properties flooded as a result of the controlled releases. Seeking Shelter Housing is the leading priority for disaster recovery specialists. Red Cross and partner associations opened 240 shelters in Texas and six shelters in Louisiana....

Equifax Hack Sep19

Equifax Hack

The breach of the Equifax database, which exposed the personal credit history of over 140,000,000 individuals, has left consumers scrambling for answers and wondering what steps to take. While many experts continue to weigh in on the issue, and law firms begin lining up for those class actions lawsuits, you may still be wondering what you can do to mitigate the damage. No doubt an investigation by Congress will provide some relief, and many private companies like Credit Karma and Capital One are already reaching out to beleaguered consumers. As we wait for the cavalry to arrive, we’ve collected a summary of all the information you need to protect yourself and give voice to your fears and frustrations. What Happened? Equifax believes hackers accessed the company’s network sometime between May and July of this year, gaining access to the social security numbers and extensive credit history of 143 million Americans as well some citizens of Canada and the UK. The hack itself came to the company’s attention on July 29, when the intrusion was immediately curtailed. Somewhat suspiciously, three Equifax executives chose to sell almost $2 million in Equifax stock on August 1st and 2nd, almost a week before the company went public about the incident. On September 7th, Equifax alerted the public about the breach, also issuing a statement denying the three executives knew about the hack. By the next day, company shares lost more than 13% of their value. The following week, the Senate began initial inquiries into the extent of the incident, also searching for evidence of compromised government accounts. By September 14, the Equifax CEO had been called to testify before Congress and the Federal Trade Commission announced it would begin investigating the breach. Who’s affected? At this point, if...

Helping After Irma Sep15

Helping After Irma

When Hurricane Irma devastated a string of Caribbean islands and loomed off the coast of Florida, it had been less than two weeks since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas, displacing thousands of people from their homes. Irma was the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded. It triggered evacuation orders for 5.6 million people and made two landfalls before being downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday, September 11. For a second time this summer, our team members mobilized for a natural disaster response. Having recently created a housing website to help those affected by Harvey find temporary and permanent homes, we used this experience to quickly launch another dedicated housing registry to assist residents displaced by Irma. Leveraging our RENTCafé property marketing and leasing platform, RENTCafe.com/HurricaneIrma allows displaced residents to find new housing. It also makes it possible for housing providers with properties in the affected and surrounding areas to quickly and easily list available units, some with special concessions. There is no charge for companies to list their properties on the website or for residents to use it. There is also a toll-free hotline that evacuees can call seeking housing assistance if internet is not available. The hotline can be reached at (844) 363-6317. With many clients in the affected areas, we’re offering disaster response assistance for clients affected by either hurricane, including additional program support and tools to help clients communicate with their residents during the aftermath. Taking care of our clients is a critical part of the Yardi mission statement, and representatives are reaching out now to offer these and other services at no charge. “The best-case scenario for everyone is that our disaster response efforts remain untested, but we have them in place so that we can aid...

Fall YASC 2017 Sep13

Fall YASC 2017

The first ever Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC) to be held in beautiful San Diego, Calif. kicked off on Wednesday, welcoming 1,800 clients and 400 employees to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront resort for three days of product demonstrations, user classes, networking and fun. After being held in Santa Barbara and Anaheim for previous events, the fall user conference moves to San Diego for the next several years. Clients and employees alike expressed approval of the new venue, adjacent to the city’s waterfront, conference center and Gaslamp District. Yardi president and founder Anant Yardi welcomed clients to the largest ever YASC event with a 40 minute talk about the company’s development plans for the future. But he opened and closed his remarks with a focus on the recent hurricanes that hit the U.S. As many as 200 clients are attending the event from the states of Texas and Florida. “Thank you for being here. And thank you for what you have done to help your neighbors,” Mr. Yardi said. His remarks closed with a moving video about the company’s efforts to help clients and residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas on Aug. 25. The poignant imagery brought many in the audience to tears. “The thing that really stood out for me (during the hurricane) was people helping people,” Mr. Yardi said. The company developed a housing registry website to assist those who need to relocate, and donated $1 million to the rebuilding effort. Turning his focus to the Yardi software suite, Mr. Yardi touched on cloud security, role based applications, product development and more. “There has been tremendous investment in the Yardi Cloud and making sure that it is always secure,” he said, describing some of the innovative firewalls, specialized...

Seniors Set Sail Sep12

Seniors Set Sail

For some retirees, living out the golden years at sea provides a fun, and surprisingly affordable, alternative to typical senior living facilities. While many aging adults anticipate retirement to be one endless vacation, some savvy seniors are taking that vacation mentality to the next level by making their home onboard a cruise ship. In many cases, this choice not only allows retirees to see the world but provides them access to many of the same amenities available at most reasonably-priced retirement communities, at just about the same cost. “What easily grabs your imagination when you think about people who opt to live aboard cruise ships instead of in retirement communities is how much fun it must be to be out in the world, meeting new people and seeing new places in a lovely atmosphere with good food and attentive service,” says Spencer Brown, Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of CruiseCritic.com. Affordable Adventures “You can go on a world cruise for under $300 a day, per person, double-occupancy,” Mara Hargarther, a travel agent and cruise vacation specialist at Dream Vacations in Ponte Vedra, Fla, recently told The New York Times. Explaining how those fees are often only slightly higher than high-end senior living facilities. In fact, according to a 2004 study from the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 20 years on a cruise ship comes with a price tag of just about $230,000, only a little more than the $228,075 cost of living for two decades in a retirement home.  Though there’s no doubt the current cost would be much higher, LongTermCare.gov estimates annual fees for assisted living range between $36,000 to $72,000, right in line with an average daily rate of $100 most consumers can expect to pay aboard a cruise ship. The idea...

Helping After Harvey Sep11

Helping After Harvey

On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas. The devastating tropical storm dumped more than 50 inches of rain and killed more than 50 people during its four-day rampage. Due to flooding caused by the hurricane, more than 30,000 people were displaced from their homes in Texas and Louisiana. The evacuees staying in shelters or with friends and relatives included many renters. Yardi software helps manage a significant percentage of the Houston multifamily housing market. Yardi committed $1 million to support nonprofit organizations in the rebuilding of the areas affected by the hurricane, and will match employee donations to the hurricane relief fund. But there was also an opportunity to assist those in need of temporary or permanent housing due to floodwater damage. “The state of Texas is about to undergo one of the largest recovery-housing missions that the nation has ever seen,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long said at a news conference Monday. “It’s a long process. Housing is going to be very frustrating in Texas.” Following in the footsteps of an effort to create a housing clearinghouse for Canadians who lost their homes in the May 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, our RENTCafé development team sprang into action. Using the RENTCafé property marketing and leasing platform, they quickly built a housing website that will help displaced residents find temporary and permanent homes. The website (RENTCafe.com/HurricaneHarvey) allows housing providers to post available units and for displaced residents to search for housing.  Housing providers can visit the site to list properties at no charge. “We had experience with this kind of rush site build from our work on a housing registry website for the fire victims in Canada last spring,” said Chris Ulep, vice president of multifamily development at Yardi. “A collaborative effort got the website ready in just a couple of days. We hope that hurricane evacuees will find it useful as they search for new homes.” Yardi has also launched a hotline that evacuees looking for housing can call for housing assistance. The toll-free number is (844) 363-6317. Additionally, Yardi is offering disaster response assistance for clients on the RENTCafé platform, including nudge messaging, voice messaging and call automation to help clients communicate with their residents during the aftermath. Yardi representatives are reaching out to clients in the affected area to explain and offer these and other services at no charge. “We have many valued clients in the affected area, and it is important to us to assist those clients as well as their residents who may have been displaced. Thousands of people have lost their housing due to this devastating natural disaster, and we want to help in any way we can,” said Anant Yardi, president and founder of Yardi. The efforts to help were appreciated by those in the affected area. “Our industry is committed to housing and providing needed services like online housing portals and other resources to assist those in need.  We applaud the efforts of our supplier partners to assist those impacted by the hurricane,” said Chris Newton, executive vice president of the Texas Apartment Association. Additional resources for Yardi clients in the region include: The Texas Apartment Association has links to relevant documents and policies that may affect Houston property owners and managers. Policies for tax credit properties during federally declared disasters. An Emergency and Disaster Library from the National Apartment Association, with Hurricane Harvey content. For those who would like to help or support agencies working on the recovery effort in Texas, there are many ways to do so. A few resources include: Relief organizations assisting with evacuee support: Red Cross: donate online or by text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. The United Way Salvation Army – Text STORM to 51555 GlobalGiving Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund Greater Houston Community Foundation – Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund The Way Home Portlight Charity Navigator compiled a...

Weathering the Storm Sep08

Weathering the Storm

A Tallahassee senior living provider opens its doors to senior community escaping the path of Hurricane Irma. On September 1st, Mike Schmidt quickly responded to a call asking for help relocating 100 seniors from the Naples, Fla. community they call home. As Hurricane Irma began to bear down on the Florida Keys, Schmidt, Executive Director of Tapestry Living, knew he must act quickly to make room for the displaced residents while also helping them feel safe in secure during this turbulent time. “We’re ready to go,” Schmidt told local news station WTXL. “We’ve got food supplies on order. Medications are ready to go. The pharmacy has been contacted, so things are really working out for the best.” A Storm for the Ages With most of Houston still under water, the nation once again braced for another historic storm. Generating more than 50 inches of rain and causing over $75 billion in damage, Hurricane Harvey currently holds the spot as the “second-costliest natural disaster in US history,” but that ranking could change now that Hurricane Irma rips through the Caribbean on its way to Florida’s east coast. After decimating several islands in the Caribbean, the storm should reach the Florida keys late Friday, making landfall near Miami early Sunday morning. A more weakened storm will arrive in Orlando on Monday before Irma finally downgrades to a tropical storm and heads out across the Atlantic Downgraded to a Category 4 storm early Friday morning,  Hurricane Irma currently churns about 400 miles southeast of Miami. Moving at about 14 mph and generating winds of up to 150 mph, the National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for Florida overnight, warning residents that “preparations to protect life should be rushed to completion.” With over six million people in the Hurricane’s path,...

Cutting Costs Sep06

Cutting Costs

Submitting an application for affordable housing is a daunting challenge. Tax returns, paycheck stubs and bank statements are just the beginning of what applicants must provide to qualify for a unit. Proof of eligibility for housing assistance is a must since public funds often support rents below market rate. Federal, state and local housing agencies have policies and procedures in place that ensure affordable housing resources only serve qualified residents. In the past, affordable housing providers kept files with thick stacks of paper as proof of each resident’s eligibility status. Providers also keep similar files for denied applicants to document why a household was determined ineligible for housing assistance. Affordable housing providers are taking a modern approach to minimize paperwork and staff hours necessary to qualify residents. With online applications, providers are not saving administrative costs, but also better documenting their resident files and boosting compliance with fair housing regulations. Rather than handing applicants a stack of forms to fill out, housing specialists can now direct applicants to an online portal to submit everything needed to qualify for a unit. RENTCafé Affordable Housing from Yardi makes this possible, and it’s becoming more and more common throughout the industry. Just how big is the RENTCafé Affordable Housing trend? More than 100,000 housing applications have been created online since the product launched in 2016. That’s more than 6,000 per month, and the numbers are growing every day. “Affordable housing applications have evolved from cumbersome, paper-based hassles into easy, online workflows. Applicants can submit documentation from their home computer or mobile device. That freedom saves applicants from taking time off work to come into the office for a lengthy in-person interview,” said Dave Kessler, vice president of affordable housing and PHA at Yardi. “If you consider it...