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The Houston Apartment Association Magazine

When it comes to your career, always play to win.

Play to win Pass this issue along to a colleague.

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February 2014 Plan Your Next Move



Education Update – NAA makes it easy to finish the CAM for lapsed candidates who began after 2006.


Education: The Life’s Blood of Our Industry – Invest in your career and in your employees by pursuing opportunities to learn more about the business.


On-site Insight – The HCC property management program helps people interested in the apartment business gain practical experience and knowledge.


Building the Unstoppable Team – Consider your company’s strengths and needs to find the right fit.


What Your Team Really Wants – On-site employees cite opportunity, trust and teamwork as key factors in job satisfaction.


Trends in the Trenches – Staffing professionals offer observations on the multifamily job market in Houston.


Easy as 1, 2, 3 – Follow these easy steps for a positive and profitable employee review process.


Don’t Hire LUZIRS – Look for the red flags that identify poor candidates when hiring.

Continuing education and initiative make a winning strategy for moving forward in your career. Learn more in our special section, commemorating National Apartment Careers Month, beginning on Page 32.

Features & Photos



Photo Album – Scenes from the luncheons honoring area constables and justices of the peace.


Photo Album – Scenes from HAA’s annual volunteer appreciation party.


Photo Album – Scenes from the State of the Industry breakfast and panel discussion.


Featured Designate – For Chris Runyon, the CAM designation proves his dedication to both his career and his residents.


Photo Album – Scenes and thank-yous from the ACES Angels holiday gift drive.


On Site with ABODE – Camden Vanderbilt provides a retreat for residents in the bustling area just west of the Texas Medical Center.

Columns 7

President’s Corner – The president’s Gala address looks forward to a successful year for all.


Legislative Update – Houston voters select new City Council members for Mayor Parker’s final term.


It’s The Law – What happens when your resident files bankruptcy?


Resident Relations – The committee sides with residents when management performs no move-out check.


NAA Industry Update – Budget deal eases cuts, provides two-year period of budget certainty.


Community Engagement – Neighborhood pushback, lawsuit create problems for urban developers.

Departments 8 19 20 62 64 65 66 67 70 74 75 76


We welcome your comments and letters. Write to us at: HAA Communications Dept. 4810 Westway Park Blvd., Houston, Texas 77041 or fax to: 281-582-1506. Or send us an email at: ABODE



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Mack Armstrong, Immediate Past President Josh Allen Jeff Blevins Kathy Clem John Fedorko Kevin Fenn Paula Forshee Israel Garza Diane Gilbert Clark Gregg Ira Gross Bryan Head Clay Hicks David Jones Nina Kirtley Barby Lake Ryan McGrath Kristin McLaughlin Dean O’Kelley Michelle Bridges-Pahl Jenifer Paneral Mark Park Velissa Parmer John Ridgway Beth Rohani Kelly Scott Kurt Seidel Kim Small Suan Tinsley Starla Turnbo Vic Vacek Jr. Beth Van Winkle Jerold Winograd Tracie Yoder



Gary Blumberg Ken Bohan Al Bradley Jack Dinerstein Darlene Guidry Jenard Gross David Hargrove Larry Hill Hap Hunnicutt Stacy Hunt Mike Koch Dick LaMarche Tim Myers John Moore P. David Onanian Eileen Subinsky Stephen Sweet Kirk Tate H. J. Tollett Jr. Patrick J. Tollett



Billy Griffin Cesar Lima Pam McGlashen David Nargang Tony Whitaker

PRODUCT SERVICE COUNCIL OFFICERS Dean O’Kelley, CAS, President The Liberty Group Mark Park, CAS, Vice President AAA Plumbers Kristin McLaughlin, CASE, Secretary Criterion Brock Israel Garza, CAS, Treasurer Maintenance Supply Headquarters Beth Rohani, CAS, Immediate Past President Ameritex Movers

MEMBERS Maika Amador, CAS Ferguson Enterprises Inc. Rhonda Blodgett Prism Electric Marivel Bownds, CAS For Rent Media Solutions Patrick Brothers, CAS Century A/C Supply Debbie Brueckner, CAS Dixie Carpet Installations Peggy Charles Meyer Smith Arrie Colca, CASE Craven Carpet Grant Crowell, CAS Urban Foresters Alan DeBarbieris, CAS Cotton Commercial M.J. Featherston Impact Floors James Gregory, CAS Pavecon Lisa Grimes D&C Contracting Jimmie Hotz, CAS HD Supply Dan James, CAS Gemstar Construction Alan Jones, CASE PPG Architectural Coatings David Koenig Apartment Data Services Jacob Kunath, CAS Century A/C Supply Stephanie Krop, CAS Buyers Access Laura Lestus, CAS The Liberty Group Robert McDaniel, CAS FSI Construction Erin McCary, CAS Valet Waste Brenda Nite Crestmark Construction Nichole Oldfield Buyers Access Nichole Williams, CAS Smart Apartment Data

HONORARY LIFE MEMBERS Claude Arnold Kenn Brown Tina Cavaco Kevin Fenn Anita Harrison Dwayne Henson Mike Koch Nora Krakower Merry Mount Monette Reynolds Sherry Stevenson Kirk Tate Suan Tinsley Sonny Unverzagt Del Walmsley Nancé Wells Jeanne Marie Zublin Dicks

PATRON MEMBERS 1980 Coinmach 1982 Republic Services 1986 Craven Carpet 1987 For Rent Media Solutions 1994 AAA Plumbers Presto Maintenance Supply 1996 Houston Planned Energy Systems 1997 Apartment Guide 1999 FSI Construction Inc. 2003 Dixie Carpet Installations 2009 Camp Construction Services 2013 Criterion Brock

SPONSOR MEMBERS 1968 Reliant Energy 1976 Mueller Water Conditioning 1978 The Liberty Group 1980 Great American Business Products Penco Construction Co. Marvin Poer & Co. 1981 Hoover Slovacek LLP 1982 Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects Inc.


1983 Webb Pest Control Cort Furniture Rental

Joe Bax

1984 Brady, Chapman, Holland & Assoc.


1985 Criterion Brock Gemstar Construction & Development Inc.


1987 For Rent Media Solutions Houston Metro Electrical Corp. Namco Manufacturing Co. Inc. 1988 AmRent Big Z Lumber Company Redi Carpet Sales Sherwin Williams Company









1989 AYS Capital & Renovations

2011 Absolutely Outdoor Bader Company Blu Sky Restoration Contractors Buena Suerte Spanish Newspaper Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing DNM Contracting Inc. eVgo Fantastic Floors Fulton & White LLC Hurcon Inc. Hydro-Stop Infinite Energy Inc. Pate Engineers Inc. Pro Gutters LLC Ram Jack Central & South Texas SEAL Security Solutions Servpro of Sugar Land Sterling Electrical Services LLC SunTerra Landscape Services Voice & Data Consultants of America The Waste Butlers

1991 Apartment Data Services Century A/C Supply 1992 Alexander-Rose Assoc. Inc. 1997 RENCON 1998 AAA Staffing Ltd. Brown & Gay Engineers Inc. 1999 2001 Keystone Resources Morrison Supply Company Pura Flo Corporation 2002 Gexa Energy Giordano Construction Incorporated Southwest Painting Contractors Wilmar Industries 2003 Sign-Ups & Banners Corp. Southern Wrecker Utility Advantage of Texas 2004 Assessment Advisors Embark Tree & Landscape Services 2005 Classic Touch Painting CoreLogic SafeRent Inc. Gateman Lone Star Roofing of Texas United Protective Services 2006 Alex Carpet Care Bell’s Laundries N.D. Chandler Mechanical CAD Restoration Services LLC DoodyCalls Lopez Carpet Care & Painting Masonry Solutions Inc. Roto-Rooter Services Co. Valet Waste 2007 Builders Granite & Tile Inc. D&C Contracting Site Reconstruction LLC Suntrust Real Estate Corporation 2008 ARE Business Solutions LLC Blue Bay Construction Daniels Plumbing Flavor Finish Resurfacing Harco Insurance Services 2009 Bio-Techs Contractors Inc. Delaney’s Roofing & Restoration Moen Inc. Moon Shepherd Baker Insurance R&E Development Inc. 2010 ALN Apartment Data Inc. Amtech Elevator Services Kathy Andrews Interiors BAC Products Belfor Property Restoration Bowen Miclette & Britt Inc. Certified Termite Pest Control Citi Fence & Access Control Commercial Global Insurance & PEO Texas Cotton Commercial USA Inc. Paul Davis Restoration of Greater Houston Pool Works/Deck Works FTK Construction Services SecuraTech Security Systems SunCoast Plumbing Co. Inc. The Gerald A Teel Company Inc.

2012 ABC Supply Co. Inc. Alex Carpet Care Black Mountain Construction Co. BIONIC Emergency Services Bounce Energy C-3 Communication C3 Solutions Dog Paws of Texas LLC Drake Construction Services Drake Realty Group LLC EnviroSmart Multifamily Pest Solutions Final Touch Remodeling Inc. Fire Safe Protection LP Global Water Treatment Chemicals Go-Staff Inc. Landlord Station Maldonado Nursery & Landscaping Inc. Nationwide Eviction Olympic Compactor Rentals Inc. Roma Kirshbaum & Schmidt Inc. Schlage Storage West Sustain-Ability Solutions LLC TAMKO Building Products Inc. Texas Concrete Professional Company LLC 2013 ASW All State Construction Arbor Contract Carpet Inc. Arm Strong Environmental Atix Access BodyDesign Capitol Wrecker Crossroads Insurance Recovery Advocates LLC EFX Corp/RentPaidOnline eSupply Systems LLC Infinity Roofing & Siding Inc. Majestic Transportation & Shuttle Service Outdoor Elements Perma-Pier Foundation Repair of Texas Pinnacle Property The Pom Group ProMaster Roofing & Gutter Ram Jack Central & South Texas Rushco Construction LLC Saint Clair & Sons Inc. A Simpsons Tree Services State Contractors LLC Sterling Relocation Texas Turf Texscape Tree Services Tidal Renovations LLC Trinity LLC Tuttle Construction The Waste Butlers

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Executive Vice President and Publisher JEFF HALL, CAE EDITORIAL STAFF

Director of Publications and Design DEBORAH NIX Managing Editor RACHEL ZOCH ADVERTISING


Vice President and General Manager SUSAN HINKLEY, CAE Vice President of Professional Development EMILY HILTON, CPP Vice President of Public Affairs ANDY TEAS, CAE Controller NANCY LI LO, CPA Director of Facility Services LANA SHILLER Director of Form Sales FRANCES TORRES Director of Information Technology ART EIDMAN Director of Member Services LISA BUTLER Director of Resident Relations MATILDE LUNA Director of Events and Meetings KIRSTEN DEAGEN, CMP Director of Community Engagement and Media AIMEE ARRINGTON Director of Rental Credit Reporting TINA DEFIORE Rental Credit Reporting Manager LUISA AREVALO Education and Meetings Coordinator KAREN MITCHELL Member Services Coordinator KARINA VIGIL Webmaster and IT Specialist WILL ALFARO PRINTER

TGI PRINTED HOUSTON APARTMENT ASSOCIATION COMMITTEES COMMITTEE Program & Budget Committee Nominating Committee Ethics Committee Investment Committee Leadership Development Committee Fair Housing Committee By-Laws Committee Property Awards Committee Strategic Growth Committee PAC Fundraising Committee Legislative Committee HAA Better Government Fund Century Club Developers Committee Multifamily Fire Safety Alliance Product Service Council Community Outreach Committee Media Relations Committee Resident Relations Appeals Resident Relations Committee A Resident Relations Committee B Membership Committee Ambassador Club



HOUSTON APARTMENT ASSOCIATION MISSION AND VISION HAA is the leading advocate, resource and community partner for quality rental housing providers in the Houston and surrounding area. HAA develops leadership in the multifamily industry by engaging broadly diverse membership, embracing effective technology and advocating for a geographically inclusive association.

Visit HAA Online at ABODE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HOUSTON APARTMENT ASSOCIATION. Serving the multihousing industry in Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Waller and Wharton counties. ABODE, FEBRUARY 2014, VOLUME 37, ISSUE 2 ABODE (USPS 024-962) is published monthly by the Houston Multi Housing Corporation. Publishing, editorial and advertising offices are located at 4810 Westway Park Blvd., Houston, Texas 77041. Telephone 713-595-0300. The $50 annual ABODE subscription rate is included in all member dues and additional subscriptions are available. The annual subscription rate is $50 for members, $65 for non-members. Advertising rates are available upon request. Contributed material does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Houston Apartment Association. Copyright © 2014 by HAA. Periodicals Postage Paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ABODE, 4810 Westway Park Blvd., Houston, Texas 77041. ABODE



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Bill DinersteinMemorial T o u r n a m e n t

Benefiting the Houston Apartment Association Better Government Fund Political Action Committee

Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. followed by the putting contest ($5 per entry) and breakfast. Shotgun scramble starts at 10 a.m. with award reception to follow.

4: 1 0 2 r o f NEW One Contest Hole In tails to come! e de with mor

Prizes for: • Putting Contest • Closest To Pin • Longest Drive • Tournament prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, net scores. • Price listed below includes golf fees, breakfast, beverages during play and reception. *Please note that if a non-member is invited to attend the tournament, the player fee for them is subject to 30 percent increase, with all fees paid by the HAA member. A limit of two non-members per team allowed.

Note: Only sponsors and paid players may attend this event In the event of rain, your contribution will go to the HAA Better Government Fund. Contributions are not tax-deductible as charitable contributions under the Internal Revenue Code. Paid for by HAA Better Government Fund, Stacy Hunt, Treasurer.

Monday, March 3, Sweetwater Country Club, 4400 Palm Royale Blvd., Sugar Land 77479

Payment must be made by personal credit card or personal check payable to HAABGF or personal Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. Payment must accompany registration. Name __________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________ Company________________________________________________________________ Phone (____________)_________________________ MC____ Visa____ AmEx____ Discv_______ Credit Card #________________________________________________________________________ CC Security Code____________ Expiration Date__________ Name on Card______________________________________________________________ Number of HAA member players paid for___________ @ $130 each by February 24; $150 after February 24; and/or number of non-HAA member players paid for (two players maximum)___________ @ $169 each by February 24; $195 after February 24 = $_________ (total amount paid). Foursome/special pairing requested: Name____________________________________________Company___________________________________ Handicap___________ Name____________________________________________Company___________________________________ Handicap___________ Name____________________________________________Company___________________________________ Handicap___________ Name____________________________________________Company___________________________________ Handicap___________ Mail completed form and payment to: HAABGF PAC, 4810 Westway Park Blvd., Houston, Texas 77041. Credit card registrations may be emailed to Kirsten at or faxed to 713-595-0308; payment must accompany registration.

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TREY STONE, 2014 HAA President

Call to Action The president’s Gala address looks forward to a successful year for all. I see giving back as one of our highest-priority missions at HAA.


hanks for coming this evening. You guys look great! It’s fun to see everyone dressed up for our “prom.” I want to say that Mack did an amazing job as president last year and I’ve learned so much from him, even though he is an Aggie! His passion with Camp Hope was inspiring to Elissa and me. We supported it in a significant way last year, and we plan to do that again this year. I would ask you all to consider doing the same. For those of you who don’t know, Camp Hope provides housing to veterans who suffer from PTSD and helps them and their families get on track. It’s a very important cause, because everyone in this room has these opportunities thanks to our soldiers, who protect our freedom. Their sacrifice should be honored, and we have an obligation to help them become successful when they get home. I see giving back as one of our highest-priority missions at HAA. I believe the ACES Angels program that provides the wish-list Christmas presents to underprivileged families, many of whom rent apartments, is a stunning success. I want to thank all of you who supported that initiative this year and ask that you support it again in 2014 along with Elissa and me. Debbie Sulzer has done a great job with this program. In addition, our company does an annual benefit for a disadvantaged child, and I will be asking you guys to come out and support that event later this year. We all want to leave a legacy. It is those we help who will remember us when we are gone, and that make our lives meaningful in the end.

LOOKING AHEAD 2014 is going to be a fantastic year. We have a very healthy market that is going to continue trending up this year. That means more jobs, more money and more success for all of us. The association, thanks to our staff and our board, is doing very well financially and continues to accomplish key goals in legislative advocacy, education and philanthropy. I am excited to serve as president this year. We have a great team on the executive committee, with new faces and incredible talent. We will press forward with the strategic plan that was developed last year under Mack’s leadership. Jeff’s team continues to evolve and build momentum at HAA. We see his people getting stronger and more well-rounded as they develop each year.

The market has properties, available at a discount, that were never revitalized after the recession but also has stabilized properties selling at record prices and thousands of units under construction. Having both buying opportunities and great selling opportunities at the same time is unusual and exciting. The trend toward repositioning assets with major rehab continues to gain momentum, and that will mean opportunities for our supplier members. Beth Rohani did a fantastic job this year as PSC president, and Dean O’Kelley will do an amazing job in 2014 as well. I want to thank our supplier members for their incredible support and generosity. They make many of our programs possible and never let us down.

MENTORS AND FRIENDS On a personal note, I’d like to thank a couple of people who have helped me get here as a leader in our association. First, my wife, Elissa, has been an incredible source of support and is the first to correct me when I’m making a bad decision. It’s hard to get that kind of honesty when you are a CEO, and I’m grateful to her for it. She also helps me unwind and laugh at the end of every day, which keeps me sane. I also want to thank my parents, Carolyn and David, and Elissa’s parents, Phoenix and Lane. They are all here tonight to support Elissa and me. Over the years, my parents have supported all my crazy entrepreneurial pursuits, including the apartment business. They have invested in multiple deals with me and are always a source of great advice in good times and bad. I want to acknowledge my good friend and mentor Emery Jakab, who got me started in the business and spent thousands of hours teaching me the ins and outs of the business. From accounting to operations to rehab to financing, he was always there teaching me and pointing out mistakes to avoid. I would not be in the apartment business without him. I also appreciate Del Walmsley, who has been both a mentor and an employer. Del helped me get into the business as well, and taught me investor relations and the principles of real estate. His business partner, Steve Davis, another close friend, invested in my deals and signed on all my loans to get me into the business as well. Steve and his wife, Josie, are close friends of Elissa’s and mine, and we love having cocktails at their See PRESIDENT, Page 66 ABODE



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These companies have generously supported the Houston Apartment Association with their patron membership. Please give them careful consideration, whenever possible, in your business.

Houston Planned Energy Systems

For Rent Media Solutions

HAA Member since 1978

HAA Member since 1987

Republic Services

MAB Flooring Inc.

HAA Member since 1982

HAA Member since 1998

Presto Maintenance Supply

AAA Plumbers

HAA Member since 1983

HAA Member since 1984


FSI Construction Inc.

HAA Member since 1961

HAA Member since 1999

Craven Carpet

Dixie Carpet Installations

HAA Member since 1986

HAA Member since 1987

Camp Construction Services

Apartment Guide

HAA Member since 1994

HAA Member since 1979

Republic Services Inc. is a leading provider of solid waste services. We service over 18,000 commercial and industrial customers as well as over 229 communities through homeowners associations and municipal utility districts. Republic has the capability to assist with you with your Go Green Community Initiative! Our services include: • Commercial Waste Collection • Commercial Recycling • Roll-off (Open tops & compactors) • Special Waste Services • Residential Waste Collection • Residential Recycling • Bulk Collection Services • Recovered Materials Processing • Industrial Refuse Collection • Portable Toilets • Construction Debris Removal Our reliable disposal capacity include: • Environmentally sound facilities • Fully permitted sites • Ample backup capacity • Host community agreements Republic

For more information, contact Shelley Wood Republic Services 281-541-0279

Recycles! Go Green!

Call for more information or visit 8



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JACKIE RHONE, CAPS, HAA Legislative Committee Chair with ANDY TEAS, CAE, Vice President of Public Affairs

Shifts at City Hall Voters select new City Council members for Mayor Parker’s final term. Mayor Annise Parker was re-elected easily and was sworn in last month along with her colleagues. Here’s a look at some of the new faces.


hange may be the only constant at Houston’s City Hall. Every elected city office is on the ballot every two years, and term limits force voters to start over with new candidates after any official’s third term. When term limits were enacted in the early 1990s, it was assumed that – barring major scandal – most city officials would simply serve a six-year term with two routine re-elections en route. Why would a serious candidate challenge an incumbent when he or she could simply wait it out and run for an open seat in either two or four years? In the beginning, that was mostly true. Lately, re-election has been anything but routine for some city officials. In the most recent round of city elections, three incumbents were defeated by challengers. The lesson is probably a good one for elected officials and voters: Don’t take elections for granted. Mayor Annise Parker was re-elected easily and was sworn in last month along with her colleagues. Here’s a look at some of the new faces:

DISTRICT A The “new” council member from Spring Branch is not exactly new. Former City Councilwoman Brenda Stardig was defeated when running for re-election two years ago. She immediately announced her intention to run in the next election against the person who unseated her, Helena Brown – an exercise that seldom works in politics. This time, however, voters (by a margin of 119 votes) changed their minds again and chose Stardig over Brown. Although a pro-business conservative, Stardig had a reputation for working with Mayor Parker much more cooperatively than Brown, who was frequently the only “no” vote on city business many considered routine.

politics and public policy for many years and will have a very quick learning curve to become an active member of City Council.

DISTRICT F The Houston Chronicle described new Councilman Richard Nguyen as a “lower-level civil servant,” who worked for the city of Houston Solid Waste Department inspecting dumpsters. Most political observers didn’t take him seriously when he filed to run against Alief business leader Al Hoang last year. In a surprising upset, Nguyen defeated Hoang by fewer than 200 votes. As a candidate, Nguyen spent almost no money and seems to have won mostly by knocking on doors and asking for votes the old-fashioned way.

DISTRICT I This mostly-Hispanic East End district was represented by James Rodriguez for six years. Prior to his election, Rodriguez had been an aide to previous District I City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado. Trying to keep the streak alive, Rodriguez aide Gracie Garces became an early favorite to succeed him, but she was defeated by Robert Gallegos, a former aide to area County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. Gallegos is also a former Harris County sheriff’s deputy and has experience in international trade.

AT-LARGE POSITION 2 Incumbent Andrew Burks was an improbable winner of this seat two years ago. A perennial candidate with little money or mainstream support, he managed to defeat a large field of candidates. This time, he was defeated by architect David Robinson. A graduate of Yale with a master’s degree from Rice, Robinson brings an extensive background in urban planning and design to City Council.

DISTRICT D Wanda Adams served her Sunnyside district for six years before moving to an equally important role as a trustee for the Houston Independent School District. Her open seat was won by business and community leader Dwight Boykins. Boykins has been involved in

AT-LARGE POSITION 3 Political insider Melissa Noriega, having served her maximum six years, left a hotly contested open seat that was won by political outsider Michael Kubosh. See LEGISLATIVE, Page 16

Get the inside track on city and state government – join the HAABGF for luncheons with candidates, email updates and more. Next BGF luncheons: February 5 and March 17 ABODE



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HOWARD BOOKSTAFF, Hoover Slovacek LLP , HAA General Counsel

Proceed with Caution What happens when your resident files bankruptcy? It is essential that property owners know their rights and responsibilities with respect to the bankruptcy process and do not violate the law.


icture this. Your resident fails to pay rent. You give a notice to vacate. You file an eviction action. You get a court date about three weeks after you file. You have done this a hundred times before and are confident that there will be no problems in the eviction process. But wait – when you get to court, the resident hands the judge a letter indicating that he or she filed bankruptcy three weeks ago after receiving your notice to vacate. The judge tells you that you can’t go forward. You tell the judge that the resident did not pay rent for the past three months. The judge says it doesn’t matter. The resident is all smiles. You wonder how a resident can get away with not paying rent! The bankruptcy process can be confusing and seem unfair to creditors that provided goods or services and didn’t get paid. However, bankruptcy is a reality of doing business. It is essential that property owners know their rights and responsibilities with respect to the bankruptcy process and do not violate the law. Below are responses to some commonly asked questions about this topic.

WHEN ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO GET NOTICE OF A RESIDENT’S BANKRUPTCY? The bankruptcy rules require that when a resident files bankruptcy, the resident is supposed to file a list of all creditors. The clerk of the court then gives notice to all creditors of the bankruptcy filing. However, this could take anywhere from one to three weeks. Obviously, the debtor can also give notice at any time after filing. The problem is that often, a bankruptcy will be filed shortly before or after the resident fails to pay rent. Consequently, unless the resident notifies you immediately, you may not know of the bankruptcy filing until after you have taken action against the resident, such as sending a notice to vacate or filing the eviction. It’s not uncommon to first hear of a bankruptcy filing when you go to court.

WHAT’S THE EFFECT OF THE RESIDENT FILING BANKRUPTCY? A petition filed in bankruptcy operates as a stay against most actions to be taken against the resident, including:

(i) the commencement or continuation of any action or proceeding that was or could have been commenced before the beginning of the case; (ii) the enforcement against the resident, or property of the resident’s estate, of a judgment obtained before the beginning of the case; and (iii) any act to obtain possession or to exercise control over property of the resident’s estate. In its most basic terms, the filing of the bankruptcy petition prevents an owner from taking any action against the resident debtor including, but not limited to, performing a landlord’s lien, performing a lockout, giving a resident a notice to vacate, filing an eviction petition or continuing to pursue a previously filed eviction action.

IF THE RESIDENT FILES BANKRUPTCY AFTER I HAVE OBTAINED A FINAL JUDGMENT FOR POSSESSION, CAN I OBTAIN A WRIT OF POSSESSION? Yes. The bankruptcy stay provisions provide for a couple of exceptions. The filing of a petition does not operate as a stay of an eviction when the owner has obtained a final judgment for possession before the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition. However, this exception only applies if: (i) the bankruptcy petition was filed at least 30 days prior to the date of the judgment; (ii) the resident has not indicated on the petition form that there are circumstances under which the debtor would be permitted by law to cure the monetary default; and (iii) the resident has not deposited with the clerk of the court the rent that would become due during the 30-day period after filing the bankruptcy petition. In other words, if you obtain a final judgment (a judgment that can no longer be appealed) for possession, the bankruptcy is at least 30 days old, the resident has not filed the certification indicating that the resident would have the right to cure the default under the law, and the resident has not paid to the clerk of the court all rent that could come due within 30 days, you should be able to obtain a writ of possession against the resident. However, note that state court judges

The NEW TAA Redbook is here! Learn about the latest changes at a Redbook Seminar on February 20 or 26. See ABODE



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If you have an eviction that is based upon endangering the property or drug use on the property, there may be a way to avoid the automatic stay associated with a bankruptcy filing.




and constables are cautious about taking action against anyone in bankruptcy. Consequently, there might be issues with proceeding unless the stay is lifted.

ment or drug use conduct would have had to occur within 30 days before the filing of the certification.

HOW LONG DOES THE AUTOMATIC STAY LAST? IF THE RESIDENT FILES BANKRUPTCY DURING A NON-MONETARY DEFAULT EVICTION, CAN I PROCEED WITH THE EVICTION? Possibly. The filing of a petition does not operate as a stay of an eviction action that seeks possession of residential property in which the resident resides and the eviction is based on endangerment of such property or the illegal use of controlled substances on the property. But this exception applies only if the owner files with the court, and serves upon the debtor, a certification under penalty of perjury that such an eviction action has been filed or that the debtor, during the 30-day period preceding the date of the filing of the certification, has endangered property or illegally used or allowed to be used a controlled substance on the property. In other words, if you have an eviction that is based upon endangering the property or drug use on the property, there may be a way to avoid the automatic stay associated with a bankruptcy filing, but the certification indicated above would need to be filed with the bankruptcy court, and the endanger-

Generally, unless the stay is lifted by the court, the automatic stay will last until the earlier of when: (i) the bankruptcy case is closed; (ii) the bankruptcy case is dismissed; or (iii) a discharge is granted or denied by the court.

HOW CAN THE STAY BE LIFTED? On the request of a party in interest and after notice and a hearing, the court is required to grant relief from the stay for cause, which usually includes nonpayment of post-petition rent. A motion for relief from the automatic stay must be made in accordance with the bankruptcy rules and served on the creditors listed by the resident in the bankruptcy proceeding and any other entities the court may direct.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LIFT THE AUTOMATIC STAY? It could take as little as 30 days and as much as 90 days, depending upon the circumstances. There are a few periods of delay. See LAW, Page 71

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From the


Take the Time The committee sides with residents when management fails to perform a move-out check.


wo residents filed a complaint with HAA to receive a refund of their security deposit less the cost of one mailbox key, stating that they had several problems with work order requests, water billing issues and the air conditioning during their lease term. The residents also stated that they provided a 60-day notice to vacate and moved out on February 28 and that they left several messages with the property’s answering service requesting a move-out walk-through and never received a return call. On March 2, 2013 the residents said they came into the office and returned keys, gave their forwarding address and had management walk the apartment with them. They said that management stated they were too busy to do a walk-through and had already been in the apartment. Pictures were provided.

The resident’s complaint stated that they finally caught management in the office on March 2 and were told they were too busy to do a walk-through, which management stated was incorrect. Management said they called on March 4 because they did not have keys from the residents and informed them that they must turn in the keys to stop being charged rent. Management stated the residents turned in keys on March 6, requesting a walkthrough, at which time management explained they were busy but had already taken pictures of the apartment. Management was specific, stating that they were waiving any fees, that the apartment was decent and that there would be no damage charges or cleaning fees. Enclosed were copies of the lease, statement of deposit, application and move-in/move-out condition form. Pictures were also provided.

MANAGEMENT’S RESPONSE Management responded to HAA stating that the residents signed a lease on February 27 to start on March 1 and end February 28 the following year. Management also stated that the residents did not provide a proper detailed notice with all the needed information but did give a written notice on December 20 that they would not be renewing their lease.




THE COMMITTEE’S DECISION The committee decided in favor of the resident, stating that management should have walked the unit and deemed it vacant. Management is to refund the resident five days of rent and the water charge, totaling $138.39. Managers: Call us at 713-595-0300 for assistance.

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LEGISLATIVE, continued from Page 9

Kubosh, a bail bondsman, was the leader of a movement to abolish red-light cameras, which had been approved at the urging of previous mayor Bill White. After many years expressing his opinions to City Council as a public speaker, Kubosh will now speak as a member of the city’s governing body.

HOARDING Who knew a mental disorder could be so entertaining? Between the TLC network’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” and the A&E network’s “Hoarders,” there seems to be a great public fascination with people who live in shocking accumulations of stuff. In reality, as opposed to reality TV, hoarding disorder is neither entertaining nor funny. For the apartment industry, it can be a health, safety and legal nightmare. The city of Houston is working on an ordinance that would give city officials a tool to help owners deal with this. City officials and apartment managers have the difficult task of treating a resident with a legitimate disability with care and respect while also protecting that resident and others on the property from safety and sanitation problems. The proposed ordinance would prohibit “unlawful accumulations,” which would be defined as “objects or substances of a nature or in a quantity reasonably likely to create a hazard to the safety or health of an occupant of another dwelling unit on the same or a contiguous property.” The ordinance would give city officials the right to remedy the condition and to hold the resident accountable but would specifically allow the city to consult with mental health organizations to help the resident. HAA is sensitive to this issue, and we are working with the city to ensure that liability does not spill over onto the property owner in a hoarding situation. Government affairs question? Call the HAA main line at 713-595-0300 and ask for Government Affairs. Get the latest insights on local issues and more on the HAA Blog at

Know the law with the NEW TAA Redbook. Contact Frances in the HAA Forms Department at or 713-595-0317 to order your copy. 16



Volleyball pg 17_Volleyball pg 25 1/21/14 10:12 AM Page 1

Bring it on for the March General Meeting! Form your teams now!

2014 HAA Volleyball Tournament Friday, March 21 Gates open at 12:30 p.m. Registration and practice from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tournament begins promptly at 2 p.m. Teams not present by 2 p.m. will not be included in the tournament grid.

Festivities include a buffet, networking opportunities and checking out the HAA athletes! Teams are registered on a first-come, first-served basis. Two teams per company. All players must be members of HAA. Form your teams now (two per company). Teams are not confirmed until payment has been received. Register your team online with credit card payment at

Third Coast Volleyball Club 5652 Forney Drive (Off Hwy. 59 South, one block west of the Hillcroft and Harwin intersection)

Entrance fee is $225 per team (6 players, 2 alternates). Spectator fee is $15 per person. Notice of cancellation must be received by Monday, March 17 to receive a refund, less a $15 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after March 17.

American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Contact the Meetings Department at 713-595-0323, by email at or see online at for more information.

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Join Conference and Expo Chairs Mark Park and Debbie Sulzer for the best multifamily expo in the country. at Reliant Center. Education Conference: Four Breakout Sessions General Session with Dan Thurmon Expo: Show Floor Opens: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. 250+ Exhibitors Four Free Mini Sessions Expo After-Party: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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chedule and fees are subject to change without prior notification. Notice of cancellation is required two days in advance to receive a refund, less a $15 administrative fee. Seats are guaranteed on a first-come, first-served basis when payment and registration are received in advance of the program. Unless otherwise indicated, courses are held in either the Camden and Michael Stevens Interests Room or the Direct Energy and Liberty Personnel & Executive Search Room at the Dinerstein Reed Prokop Education Center, 4810 Westway Park Blvd. on the second floor of the HAA Office Building. Seating is limited.

February NALP I: Keys to Success Tuesday, February 4 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Full program cost: $325 Individual modules may be taken as stand-alone seminars: $65 each Sponsored by AAA Plumbers Learn about characteristics of an effective leasing consultant, job responsibilities, goal setting, product knowledge and more. NALP II: Telephone Presentations Tuesday, February 4 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Full program cost: $325 Individual modules may be taken as stand-alone seminars: $65 each Sponsored by AAA Plumbers Learn about effective phone skills, active listening, telephone etiquette, initial leasing questions and key elements of a successful leasing presentation. NOTE: If you are taking this as a standalone course, please arrive by 12:30 p.m. NALP III: Leasing Interview & Qualifying Residents Tuesday, February 11 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Full program cost: $325 Individual module: $65 each Sponsored by AAA Plumbers Topics covered include making a first impression, understanding the prospective resident’s reason for moving, Fair Housing and conducting the leasing interview. NALP IV: Leasing Demo & Overcoming Objections Tuesday, February 11 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Full program cost: $325 Individual module: $65 each Sponsored by AAA Plumbers Learn the key components of a successful leasing tour that results in closing a lease, including the feature-benefit-emotional appeal approach, safety tips, Fair Housing, closing, resolving objections, closing techniques and follow-up. NOTE: If you are taking this as a standalone course, please arrive by 12:30 p.m. APPLE Core Session I: Touring Techniques with Don Sanders Wednesday, February 12 8:30 a.m. to noon Program cost: $50/person; annual property subscriptions available Sponsored by TXU Energy Multifamily Services One of the most impactful efforts a leasing professional can make in getting prospective residents to apply is providing an amazing tour experience. Learn how to introduce features and amenities to elicit positive client emotion, thereby gaining dedication to renting the product. See Page 22 for details. Community Career Night Thursday, February 13 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the HCC West Loop Campus, 5601 W. Loop South, 77081 FREE to attend Exhibit space: $200 Represent your company at Community Career Night and help grow the talent pool of future multifamily professionals. Proceeds go toward HAF Education Grants. Contact Emily for details at

From the


You must pre-register. For more information, contact the Education & Meetings Department at 713-595-0319 or 713-595-0314 or, or register online at Notice to Attendees: All pre-registered no-shows will be billed. For admittance into HAA/HAF events, payments will be required at the door if not received prior to the event. Start times listed below include a 30-minute registration period. Notice of cancellation is required two days prior to the event for a refund, less a $15 administrative fee.

NALP V: Leasing & The Internet Tuesday, February 18 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Full program cost: $325 Individual module: $65 each Sponsored by AAA Plumbers This module covers tracking your traffic effectively, online leasing tools, maximizing your online advertising, promoting your Web address, responding to Internet leads, etc.

Individual module: $65 each Sponsored by AAA Plumbers This module will cover basic Fair Housing laws, discrimination, prohibited practices, familial status, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing testers, resources for Fair Housing information, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, criminal background checks, safety practices, emergency situations and more.

NALP VI: Policies & Procedures Tuesday, February 18 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Full program cost: $325 Individual module: $65 each Sponsored by AAA Plumbers Topics include rental policies and procedures, application verification and rejection, a resident processing checklist, basic elements of a contract or lease agreement, the move-in process, resident relations, Fair Housing and more.

TAA Redbook Seminar Wednesday, February 26 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Full day (includes lunch): $125 if prepaid; $160 by invoice Executive edition: $65 if prepaid; $85 by invoice Sponsored by FSI Construction and The Liberty Group Here’s your chance to hear from the experts and get answers to your questions! Choose the full day or “executive” afternoon-only session. See Page 23 for complete details.

TAA Redbook Seminar Thursday, February 20 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Full day (includes lunch): $125 if prepaid; $160 by invoice Executive edition: $65 if prepaid; $85 by invoice Sponsored by FSI Construction and The Liberty Group Here’s your chance to hear from the experts and get answers to your questions! Choose the full day or “executive” afternoon-only session. See Page 23 for complete details. NALP VII: Legal Aspects Tuesday, February 25 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Full program cost: $325

March NALP: Presentation & Exam Tuesday, March 4 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please contact education@ for details. CAM/CAS: Management of Residential Issues Wednesday, March 5 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CAM program cost: $999 (can be paid in full or $319 for first course/book and $85 for each course thereafter) See EDUCATION, Page 25




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S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

February 2014 Events






ACES Luncheon – Tuesday, February 11 at 11:30 a.m. Details have been sent to ACES members. Contact Kirsten for details at

NALP I: Keys to Success – Tuesday, February 4, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sponsored by AAA Plumbers.

NALP V: Leasing & The Internet – Tuesday, February 18, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sponsored by AAA Plumbers.

Community Outreach Committee – Wednesday, February 5 at 10 a.m. Contact Susan for details at shinkley@

Go-Getter Club Recruiters Roundup – Wednesday, February 19 at 4 p.m. at Ciro’s Italian Grill, 9755 Katy Fwy., 77024. For details and to RSVP, contact Lisa at

NALP II: Telephone Presentations – Tuesday, February 4, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. NOTE: If you are taking this as a standalone course, please arrive by 12:30 p.m. in the event the morning course finishes early. Sponsored by AAA Plumbers.

NALP VI: Rental Policies & Procedures – Tuesday, February 18, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. NOTE: If you are taking this as a standalone course, please arrive by 12:30 p.m. in the event the morning course finishes early. Sponsored by AAA Plumbers.




Offices Closed – The HAA offices will close at 1 p.m. on Friday, February 21, for a staff development event.

NALP III: Leasing Interview & Qualifying Residents – Tuesday, February 11, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sponsored by AAA Plumbers.


NALP IV: Leasing Demo & Overcoming Objections – Tuesday, February 11, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. NOTE: If you are taking this as a standalone course, please arrive by 12:30 p.m. in the event the morning course finishes early. Sponsored by AAA Plumbers.

TAA Redbook Seminar – Thursday, February 20, 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. See Page 23 for complete details. Sponsored by FSI Construction and The Liberty Group.


Community Career Night – Thursday, February 27, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the HCC West Loop Campus, 5601 W. Loop South, 77081. Contact Emily for details at


25 NALP VII: Legal Aspects – Tuesday, February 25, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sponsored by AAA Plumbers.

26 12 Please note that dates and times are subject to change. Check the calendar pages at www.haaonline. org or text “HAAInfo” to 590590 for the most up-to-date information.

APPLE Core Session I: Demonstration Divas and Dudes – Touring Techniques with Don Sanders – Wednesday, February 12, 8:30 a.m. to noon. See Page 22 for complete details. Sponsored by TXU Energy Multifamily Services.

TAA Redbook Seminar – Wednesday, February 26 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. See Page 23 for details. Sponsored by FSI Construction and The Liberty Group.

BGF Luncheon – Wednesday, February 5, 11:30 a.m to 1 p.m. Register at Ambassador Club – Wednesday, February 5 at 4 p.m. All supplier members welcome. Contact Lisa for details at

5, 19 Resident Relations Committees – Wednesdays, February 5 or 19, at 3 p.m.

6 Education Advisory Council – Thursday, February 6 at 10 a.m.

12 Expo Committee – Wednesday, February 12 at 9 a.m. Contact Amanda for details at asherbondy@

14 Public Safety Advisory Committee – Friday, February 14 at 2 p.m.

Unless otherwise noted, all events meet at our Dinerstein Reed Prokop Education Center, 4810 Westway Park Blvd., second floor, in either the Direct Energy and Liberty Personnel & Executive Search Room or the Camden and Michael Stevens Interests Room.




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2 3 4 5 6 9 10 11 12 13 16 17 18 19 20 23 24 25 26 27 30 31

F 7 14 21 28

S 1 8 15 22 29

March 2014 Events







Primary Election Day – Tuesday, March 4. Visit for election information.

NALP: Presentation & Exam – Tuesday, March 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please contact education@ for details.

HAA Next: Professional Development Breakfast – Friday, March 14, 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Ambassador Club – Wednesday, March 5 at 4 p.m. All supplier members welcome. Contact Lisa for details at

21 Volleyball Tournament – Friday, March 21, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Third Coast Volleyball, 5652 Forney Drive (near Harwin at Hillcroft). See Page 17 for details. Property Nominations Due – Nominations for outstanding properties for the 2013 HAA Honors Awards are due to the HAA Offices by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 21. For details, see Page 73 or

25 Go-Getters/Membership Happy Hour – Tuesday, March 25, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Location to be announced. See Page 65 for details. To RSVP, contact Lisa at

18 5 CAM/CAS: Management of Residential Issues – Wednesday, March 5, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. NOTE: New CAM candidates must begin the program with this first course. See Page 24 for details.

Leasing 101 – Tuesday, March 18, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

19-20 CAM: Human Resources – Wednesday and Thursday, March 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.



APPLE Core Session II: The Art of Renewals with Carol Levey & Neil Fjellestad – Thursday, March 6, 8:30 a.m. to noon. See Page 22 for details. Sponsored by TXU Energy Multifamily Services.

APPLE Maintenance Session I: Landscape & Curb Appeal in Spanish with Zach Howell – Tuesday, March 25, 8:30 a.m. to noon. NOTE: This course is presented in Spanish. Sponsored by Best Plumbing.



Certified Pool Operator Course – Wednesday and Thursday, March 12 and 13, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. See Page 25 for details.

IROC Breakfast – Friday, March 28, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Need upcoming event info? Want it on demand via mobile?

5, 19 Resident Relations Committees – Wednesdays, March 5 or 19, at 3 p.m.

8-12 NAA Capitol Conference – Saturday, March 8 through Wednesday, March 12 in Washington. See Page 26 or for details.

12 Expo Committee – Wednesday, March 12 at 9 a.m. Contact Amanda for details at asherbondy@

17 BGF Luncheon – Monday, March 17, 11:30 a.m to 1 p.m. Special guest: TAA’s David Mintz. Register at

27 Legislative Committee – Thursday, March 27 at 3 p.m. Board Meeting – Thursday, March 27 at 4:30 p.m.

Text HAAInfo to 590590 Note: Information is sent on demand only. HAA will send messages only when you request by text, so text us early and often.

Meetings located at the HAA Offices, 4810 Westway Park Blvd., first floor, will be held in the Redi Carpet and Winograd Families/ Judwin Properties Conference Room.




Apple pg 22_Layout 1 1/21/14 10:18 AM Page 1

Don’t just dream of career-building education –

Grab an APPLE!

APPLE features some of the best nationally acclaimed speakers in the industry. Individual sessions are priced at only $50 each, a real steal for quality education.

Here’s a taste of the first APPLE sessions for 2014: APPLE: Core – Session 1 Wednesday, February 12 Demonstration Divas and Dudes – Touring Techniques With Don Sanders One of the most impactful efforts a leasing professional can make in getting prospective residents to apply is providing an amazing community and apartment amenity tour experience. Far more needs to happen than merely pointing out features. Salespeople need to utilize terms and phrases with their clients that initiate emotional attachment, that provoke positive thoughts of residency and that motivate a desire to apply. Seminar attendees will engage in role-playing, touring fictitious rooms and practicing methods of how to introduce features and amenities that elicit positive client emotion, therefore gaining dedication to renting the product. We will explore how standard business practices can be introduced as customer service programs that instantly gain the trust of the consumer.




APPLE: Core – Session 2 Thursday, March 6 CRM – The Art of Renewals With Carol Levey Resident retention begins the moment the customer interacts with an on-site team member. The skills needed to create long-term resident satisfaction are covered in detail. Building customer loyalty doesn't just happen. Raising rents without rebellion requires an empowered on-site service team. This fast-paced interactive half-day workshop will reward attendees with success stories, systems that work and hands-on problem solving that you will be able to utilize immediately.

APPLE: Maintenance – Session 1 Tuesday, March 25 Landscape & Curb Appeal (in Spanish) With Zach Howell This course will teach the service staff how to get any property looking great. We will cover the daily processes and work needed to get a property back under control and keep it

Annual Property Subscriptions are also available with unlimited attendance for all on-site property staff to all sessions at discounted prices: • Only $199 per year per property for properties with fewer than 200 units • Only $399 per year per property for properties with 200 to 350 units. • Only $450 per year per property for properties with more than 350 units. constantly maintained. We will discuss proven techniques and checklists along with hard and soft surface repairs, irrigation, garbage capacity, and different techniques for topnotch grounds maintenance and curb appeal. The first impression of your property should always be a positive one. APPLE: Leadership – Session I Tuesday, April 22 Finding, Coaching and Keeping the Unstoppable Team With Lori Snider Teams are the force that drives most organizations. People get the most done when they work together effectively, so when members of a team don’t work well together, performance and productivity can suffer. That’s not good for anyone. In this session you’ll learn to coach your team by focusing on interpersonal skills and interactions instead of individual development. You’ll learn to understand your role and how your behavior affects outcome and you will learn how to establish clear expectations, reinforce good performance and improve unsatisfactory performance. In addition, you will discover 15 questions and techniques that will

help you find the right mix of experience, talent and attitude to fit your culture and the role.

APPLE is sponsored by

Take a bite out of these education opportunities and enroll for 2014 today. Contact the HAA Education Department at or register online at

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Choose your day. Choose your program.

Thursday, February 20 or Wednesday, February 26 Full Program: Registration – 8:30 a.m. Program – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Program Fee (includes lunch) – $125 prepay; $160 invoice Executive Edition only: Registration – 12:30 p.m. Program – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Program Fee – $65 prepay; $85 invoice Apartment and Rental Housing Legal Seminar We’re taking a fresh approach to the Apartment and Rental Housing Legal Seminar this year to provide the information you need most in a new format. Learn about the impact of the new eviction rules, as well as resources for dealing with common issues like towing and bed bugs. You’ll also hear about new laws affecting rental property owners, on topics such as tools for fighting property valuation increases, lease termination provisions for stalking victims and changes regarding utility cutoffs. Here’s your chance to hear from the experts and get answers to your questions.

Morning session topics (9 a.m. to noon) • Forms review Hear about revisions to TAA leases and related forms and how they affect your day-to-day operations, as well as plans for major revisions in 2015.

• Solutions to common problems You’ll also get solutions for dealing with common problems, including towing, bed bugs, Fair Housing and more. The REDBOOK offers upto-date legal advice to help you deal with the most common issues

Presented by Howard Bookstaff, HAA General Counsel

you encounter every day.

Executive Edition (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.) • Legislative and regulatory changes Get an in-depth explanation of new laws and regulations affecting

For more information, contact the HAA Education Department at 713-595-0300, email or visit online to register.

rental properties, like the new eviction rules, expanded lease termination rights for victims of certain sex crimes and stalking and changes regarding utility cutoffs.

• On the horizon Learn about emerging issues that may impact your business in the

Sponsored by The Liberty Group and FSI Construction Inc.

future, such the disparate impact rule for Fair Housing, trends in local ordinances and more.

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Apartment Managers: Been holding back from pursing CAM because of the dreaded community analysis project? Fear not! The community analysis is no longer a required component of the CAM designation.

What are you waiting for?

CAM Course Schedule CAM: Management for Residential Issues Wednesday, March 5 CAM: Human Resources Wednesday and Thursday, March 19 and 20 CAM: Legal Wednesday, April 2 Certified Apartment Manager Program Objective: To enhance the skills of the apartment manager, which can result in better managed and more profitable rental properties, improved resident retention rates and increased employee productivity. Designation Requirements: To qualify for the CAM program, candidates must: • Possess at least one year of apartment industry experience; • Complete all nine CAM courses; • Pass the proctored exam. Students who complete the requirements will receive a national certificate and pin. Candidates are allowed one year from the date of application to meet all program requirements. If the requirements are not met in the time allotted, an extension fee of $50 must be paid to NAA to extend candidacy for one year. Course Schedule: 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Check-in and registration 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Program Program Cost and Enrollment Options: Total Program Cost: $999

CAM: Fair Housing Wednesday, April 16 CAM: Marketing Wednesday, May 7 CAM: Property Maintenance Wednesday, May 21 CAM: Risk Management Wednesday, June 4 CAM: Finance Wednesday, June 25 CAM: Research, Analysis and Evaluation Wednesday, July 9 Proctored exam dates to be announced throughout 2014

See for details.

Tuition can be paid in full or broken down as follows: $319 for first course (includes textbook, NAA enrollment and first module fee); $85 for each course taken thereafter.

Note: New CAM candidates must begin the program with the first course on Wednesday, March 5. 24



For a more detailed synopsis of individual course content and to register, please visit the education page of our website at

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EDUCATION, cont’d. from Page 19

CAS program cost: $625 NOTE: New CAM candidates must begin the program with this first course. The session includes information on customer service, occupancy management, property and personal security, emergency management and resident relations. For details, see Page 24 (at left). APPLE Core Session II: The Art of Renewals with Carol Levey & Neil Fjellestad Thursday, March 6 8:30 a.m. to noon Program cost: $50/person; annual property subscriptions available Sponsored by TXU Energy Multifamily Services Building customer loyalty doesn’t just happen. Raising rents without rebellion requires an empowered on-site service team. The skills needed to create long-term resident satisfaction are covered in detail in this fast-paced workshop. See Page 22 for details.

Certified Pool Operator Course Wednesday and Thursday, March 12 and 13 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Program cost: $349 (includes textbook, exam fees and lunches) Successful completion of this course results in a five-year certification from the National Swimming Pool Foundation and ensures that pool chemicals are used properly and when appropriate. See below for complete details. HAA Next: Professional Development Breakfast Friday, March 14 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Program cost: $10 Are you 35 years or under and looking to strengthen your professional network? Join your young professional colleagues in HAA for this networking and brainstorming session. Leasing 101 Tuesday, March 18 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Program cost: $65 if paid by March 18; $75 at the door This introduction to the apartment industry covers greeting and qualifying the customer, presenting the lease, industry terminology, Fair Housing and more. CAM: Human Resources Wednesday and Thursday, March 19 and 20 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CAM program cost: $999 (can be paid in full or $319 for first course/book and $85 for each course thereafter) This day-and-a-half module covers in detail the many nuances of employment law, including FMLA, Title VII and OSHA. Employment practices including recruiting, hiring and terminations, as well as payroll administration and employee training, are also discussed. APPLE Maintenance Session I: Landscape & Curb Appeal in Spanish with Zach Howell

Tuesday, March 25 8:30 a.m. to noon Program cost: $50/person; annual property subscriptions available Sponsored by Best Plumbing The first impression of your property should always be a positive one. We will cover the daily processes and work needed to get a property back under control and keep it maintained. We will discuss proven techniques and checklists, along with hard and soft surface repairs, irrigation, garbage capacity and different techniques for top-notch grounds maintenance and curb appeal. NOTE: This course is presented in Spanish. IROC Breakfast Friday, March 28 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Program cost: FREE for members; $25/non-members Whether you’re a brand-new apartment owner or have been a part of the industry for many years, we encourage you to network with your fellow independent owners.

How Well Do You Know Your Pool? ator r e p 3 ool O ion and 1 P 2 d 1 e t h fi Certi ) Certifica rsday, Marc (CPO day and Thu tration istra-

in es gis am Wedn a.m. – Re . – Progr , exam adm ays) k d 8:30 . to 4 p.m es textboo ch for two d n 9 a.m 349 (inclu fast and lu Reed $ k Instructor Mark Cukro is a leading resource in the ee: and brea nerstein field of service team development and brings to you all F i ee, AF D Center, of the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to protion f H : n o mote personal and professional development. Through ati ducation k Blvd., tway c o L Mark’s upbeat and unique approach to delivering techp E ay Par the Bel o k o nical information, each student is engaged and encourr w f P West d east o aged to learn how to work more effectively in the multihousing and service 0 1 48 ay Roa industry. Mark was the director of service team development for Colonial l Properties Trust Inc., a New York Stock Exchange-traded company with 148 off C

properties and more than 48,000 apartment homes. Mark’s certifications include CAPS, CAMT, CAMTII, EPA Proctor for HVAC/CFC 608 and 609 Certifications. He is also an award-winning Certified Pool Operator Instructor for the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

Register online today at

The Certified Pool Operator Certification, better known as CPO, will dispel the myths in pool care and tremendously reduce chemical expenses and extend the life of your pool. Successful completion of this course offers apartment industry personnel a five-year certification from the National Swimming Pool Foundation and helps you ensure that pool chemicals are being used properly and when appropriate. Recommended for anyone working with pools, this course is also a great course for property managers. Make sure you are up-to-date on local codes to help reduce risk and liability by attending this informative session. *Although the course and texts are presented entirely in English, Spanish-language exams are available upon request.

NAA Update Feb14 pg 26,27_Layout 1 1/21/14 10:20 AM Page 1


From the


and the


Sequester Relief Budget deal eases cuts, provides two-year period of budget certainty.


n December 26, President Obama signed the two-year budget agreement reached between Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., into law. The budget provides top-line funding numbers for the federal budget for the next two fiscal years, leaving the determinations on funding for individual agencies and programs to appropriators in each chamber, as is traditionally the case under “regular order.” Most noteworthy in the agreement is the relief provided from mandatory cuts under “sequestration” to domestic programs, including the project-based and tenantbased voucher programs. This relief, totaling $63 billion in restored funding over two years, will be divided among agencies and defense spending, and provide muchneeded relief to HUD and local housing authorities administering Section 8 programs. (For more on the budget, visit / the-budget-deal-in-plain-english.)

WATT SWORN IN AS NEW FHFA HEAD Former North Carolina representative Mel Watt was sworn in as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency on

January 6. Watt was confirmed in December with a vote of 57-41 in the Senate. His nomination was blocked initially by the Senate in October, with Republicans questioning his qualifications.

Director Watt to undertake a deliberate and thoughtful review of the comments submitted on the 2014 Scorecard for the multifamily programs. The overwhelming response was not to interfere with Fannie Mae and

We are looking forward to working closely with Director Watt on actions that support and address the unique needs of the multifamily industry and the millions of American families nationwide who depend on us for their housing. NAA and NMHC ended up working closely with the White House and other trade groups to advocate for Watt’s ultimate confirmation. We also issued a statement following his confirmation, saying in part that we look forward to working with him on “actions that support a strong credit performance and an effective mortgage financing delivery system that addresses the unique needs of the multifamily industry.” “Representative Mel Watt’s confirmation comes at a critical time for the multifamily industry,” said Cindy Chetti, NMHC senior vice president of government affairs. “... In light of the multifamily mortgage origination limitations imposed in 2013, we urge

Freddie Mac’s multifamily activities, especially in a way that would limit products, credit and other specific activities.”

ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS SAY HOUSING FINANCE REFORM NEEDS TO INCLUDE AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING On December 9, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Counselor to the Treasury Secretary for Housing Finance Policy Michael Stegman emphasized the importance of including affordable rental housing in any housing finance reform proposal. In his remarks, Stegman said that “it is especially important to explicitly address affordability

FORMER SEN. ALAN SIMPSON TO SPEAK AT NAA CAPITOL CONFERENCE Invest in your political capital by participating in the 2014 NAA Capitol Conference, the only national event focused on apartment industry advocacy. The annual conference will be held on March 11 in Washington, followed by the industry’s Lobby Day on Capitol Hill on March 12. (The spring NAA Board of Directors and committee meetings precede the conference on March 9-10.) See for details. Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., will provide a candid look at politics, the economy and the hard choices that America’s leaders face during the 2014 NAA Capitol Conference’s keynote luncheon on March 11. His address is titled “The Moment of Truth: Confronting Issues in America.” Known for his quick wit, Simpson addresses controversial topics on the national agenda with honesty and provides sensible solutions for moving the country forward. Simpson served in the Senate for nearly 20 years and later was appointed by President Obama to serve as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal




Responsibility and Reform, a bipartisan group looking to erase the United States’ multi-trillion dollar debt. The NAA Capitol Conference will prepare you to carry your message on major industry issues as an informed, effective and confident advocate. This year there will be a new special event and expert national speakers on policy and politics, as well as more training and educational sessions for new and long-time attendees alike. Registration is now open at attend-capitol-conference/registration. NAA-affiliated associations have the chance to win $2,500 by bringing more advocates to the 2014 NAA Capitol Conference. Two winners will be announced during the Capitol Conference – one for Mid-Atlantic affiliates and the other for the remainder of the United States. The winning affiliates will be judged based on the total percentage growth of their 2014 representatives compared to the average number of their members who attended the previous three Capitol Conferences.

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concerns in a private capital-centric housing finance system where the federal backstop is fairly priced and the GSEs affordable housing goals have been repealed.” Their remarks were delivered during the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University’s release of the new “America’s Rental Housing” report at the Newseum in Washington. The report finds that weak income growth combined with rising rents are creating severe affordability problems for American renters, with lowerincome households cutting back on food, healthcare and savings, just to keep up. Read more at press-releases/Pages/jl2233.aspx.

IMMIGRATION REFORM REMAINS A POLITICAL FOOTBALL With the bipartisan budget deal finalized in principle on December 10, President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress wasted no time in reapplying pressure on House Republicans to take up comprehensive immigration reform this year. Since the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration bill passed the Senate on June 27, House Republicans have felt continued pressure from business and advocacy groups to move their own bill, allowing for a conference committee and eventually a completed product for President Obama to sign. Despite pleas from President Obama and signals to the contrary from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in the new year, Republicans remain committed to a piecemeal approach to immigration reform at this point. Some believe this strategy of passing a series of small bills addressing discrete issues associated with immigration reform would likely not lead to a conference committee with the Senate, effectively running the clock out on reform efforts in the 113th Congress. Recent reports suggest immigration reform similar to the Senate bill would result in important gains for the real estate industry, a point industry representatives have continued to highlight with policymakers. For the latest news on national issues, visit default.aspx. For local updates, visit the HAA blog at Get HAA’s Twitter updates via SMS by texting “follow HAAonline” to 40404.




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By GEORGE GRIFFIN, CPM, Media Relations Committee Chair AIMEE ARRINGTON, Director of Community Engagement and Media

High-rise Headache Neighborhood pushback, lawsuit create problems for urban developers. What does the fight over the Ashby high-rise mean for the future of other multifamily developments in Houston?

“Jury in Ashby high-rise trial sides with residents” Houston Chronicle, December 18, 2013 “A monster blow: Controversial Ashby high-rise loses big in court fight with neighbors – millions owed” CultureMap, December 17, 2013


he headlines related to the outcome of a civil lawsuit by neighboring residents against a proposed 21-story apartment community to be built at 1717 Bissonnet strike fear into the hearts of apartment developers in Houston. But how true are those headlines, and what do they mean for the future of this project and other Houston multifamily developments?

Once neighboring property owners in a tawny neighborhood near Rice University were aware of the project, they began a campaign to prevent its construction. The proposed project would have replaced the former Maryland Manor apartments, a gardenstyle community of 67 units. Neighboring property owners had the ear of then-Mayor Bill White, who put a halt to the pre-construction efforts of the developers and ensured that permits from the city were revoked. Buckhead sued the city for the right to build. That lawsuit was settled and allowed the project to go forward, essentially a win but with no verdict. However, new litigation, this time in the form of a civil lawsuit from neighbors, has persisted over the past few years.



The proposed community, better known from neighbor protests as the Ashby high-rise, has been in the news since shortly after its inception in 2007. The 1717 Bissonnet project, proposed by Buckhead Investment Partners – a Houston-based partnership between Matthew Morgan and Kevin Kirton – would originally have featured commercial spaces below a residential tower with parking garage. The project was in compliance with city ordinances related to development at the time, as evidenced by the issuance of all necessary permits for construction.

In the wake of this issue, development members of HAA joined with developers of single-family homes, commercial spaces and other projects to form Houstonians for Responsible Growth. The organization, which is still supported by HAA members and coordinates some efforts with HAA today, has a mission “to work with elected officials and the public to preserve the policies and principles that have made Houston one of the most affordable and successful major cities in the world. HRG organized in response to a significant number of proposals by the city of Houston proposing stringent land-use controls.” Maryland Manor has been demolished, but the site sits empty, awaiting a ruling from State District Judge Randy Wilson on whether an injunction will be issued to prohibit future construction of the proposed high-rise. As of press time, Judge Wilson had not made that determination, but industry and legal experts believe it is unlikely that an injunction could be worded in such a way as to completely prevent construction of a residential tower on the site. The potential decision was discussed at length in a conference call held by HRG and Baker Botts attorneys for members of the development community. During the call, the consensus from the participants seemed to be that because the case was based on a proposed tower that has not yet been built, it would be difficult to write an injunction that would cover all potential variations on the current design and account for any future impacts.

WHAT IS OUR INDUSTRY SAYING? “We are kind of dismayed by the decision of this jury and are hopeful this court will allow us to move forward with the project. This is a dark day for the future of the real estate development business, not just in Houston but in the entire state of Texas.” – Matthew Morgan, Buckhead Investment Partners (Houston Chronicle, December 18, 2013) “It’s a message to the developers they need to work with neighborhoods when considering the market viability of a project.” – John Walsh, director of the graduate real estate program at the University of Houston (Houston Chronicle, December 19, 2013) “I’m really kind of sad about it. We’re starting to look and act like a higher-density city. … I think it’s a travesty, frankly, that a developer who went through the city approval process and got it approved had outside influences turn that around.” – Stacy Hunt, Greystar (Houston Chronicle, December 19, 2013) “There has to be balance with protecting neighborhoods, traffic, etc., but it should be done by lawmakers, not judges or juries.” – Ric Campo, Camden (Houston Chronicle, December 19, 2013)

See MEDIA, Page 33




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PHOTO ALBUM Event: Luncheon honoring Montgomery County Justices of the Peace and Constables When: December 6 HAA members in the Conroe area joined local elected officials for lunch to thank them for their service and discuss eviction issues.




Photos from the


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Event: Luncheon honoring Harris County Justices of the Peace and Constables When: December 13 BGF members hosted local elected officials for lunch to thank them for their service and discuss evictions and other industry-related issues.

Mark your calendars for these BGF luncheon dates for 2014: Wednesday, February 5 Monday, March 17 Wednesday, April 30 Thursday, June 5 Tuesday, July 15 Friday, September 5 Wednesday, October 1 We are also planning a special Panel on Houston’s Future event with special guests on Monday, November 10. Dates are subject to change, so be sure to check the calendars at for the latest information.




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EMILY HILTON, CPP, HAA Vice President of Professional Development

CAMnesty NAA makes it easy to finish the CAM designation for lapsed candidates who began after 2006. “My property had a fire, and all my work was damaged.” “My roommate hates me and stole all my things when she moved out, including my project.” “I was in a car accident and broke both arms; I can’t write.” “My computer was struck by lightning.”


n my 11 years administering the Certified Apartment Manager program at HAA, there were few excuses I hadn’t heard for why a candidate failed to complete the community analysis project, the in-depth analytical report required to attain the CAM designation. The work required to complete a project of that magnitude would be daunting even to those without the unexpected drama life can sometimes present. Life happens and gets in the way sometimes. HAA was not alone. According to NAA, from 2006 until 2012, less than half of the candidates that began CAM successfully completed the full requirements – including the community analysis – necessary to attain the designation. Clearly this dilemma required a remedy.

NO MORE PROJECTS In 2011 an NAA task force, in which I eagerly participated, was formed to determine a solution for producing more actual CAM designates. Composed of association executives, CAM instructors and past stu-

dents from across the country, our group determined that there were more pragmatic ways to evaluate whether a candidate had achieved the desired learning outcomes from the CAM curriculum – other than producing a 20-pound report – and as of January 1, 2013, the community analysis is no longer a component of the CAM designation. A new two-part exam was created in which students are evaluated on their ability to answer scenario-based questions requiring the same critical thinking and

fanfare here) – “CAMnesty.” CAMnesty is designed for those individuals who, since 2006, have completed all requirements for the CAM designation (the coursework) with the exception of the community analysis, the exam or both. An extension fee of either $250 or $350, depending on the length of your expiration, can be paid to NAA via an application form (PDF) online at Candidates are then given access to new course materials and are permitted to sit for the new two-part exam.

CAMnesty is designed for those individuals who, since 2006, have completed all requirements for the CAM designation (the coursework) with the exception of the community analysis, the exam or both. analytical skills once demonstrated via the project. Last year was our first year to administer CAM with the new requirements. Although the new exam is a rigorous, high-stakes exercise, most students agree that it is far preferable to months spent producing one report. “But wait a minute,” you ask. “I took CAM five years ago (or was it six?), and I was one of those whose property burned down/got robbed by a roommate/broke my arm/fried my computer … What about me?” Fear not and take heart, CAM candidates, for you have been given a second chance! May I present to you (insert trumpeted

FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED Those who complete this task and pass the test will be lauded and recognized locally at HAA alongside all other recent CAM designates. There’s no shame in this game – it’s a tremendous accomplishment to be proud of, no matter what. So what are you waiting for? Make 2014 the year that brings your CAM journey to a successful end. And the best part? No one ever has to know it took you eight years to finish – your secret is safe with us! For more information, visit learn/education/certified-apartment-manager/ camnesty.

Start your day with HAA! Our young professionals and independent owners are invited to attend a networking breakfast in March: HAA Next: Professional Development Breakfast Friday, March 14 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Program cost: $10 (location and sponsor to be announced) Are you 35 years or under and looking to strengthen your network? Join your young professional colleagues in HAA to kickstart your day with this networking and brainstorming session.




IROC Breakfast Friday, March 28 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Program cost: FREE for members; $25/non-members (meets at the HAA Offices, sponsor to be announced) The Independent Rental Owners breakfasts are a series of special morning programs that cover emerging topics thoughout the year. Come network with your fellow independent owners and learn more about building your business.

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MEDIA, continued from Page 28

JURY DECISION The jury in the civil lawsuit did decide to award monies to the plaintiffs, based on the level of impact that the proposed project could have on neighboring properties’ value and the use of the property by their owners. The amount the jury awarded, however, was far less than the $4.8 million in damages requested by the plaintiffs. In addition, only 20 of the 30 plaintiffs were awarded damages in any amount. Depending on the judge’s decision, this could have an adverse impact on the ability of the developers to go forward with construction. Although nothing is final at this point, we can be certain that months, if not years, of appeals will ensue.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Houston’s lack of zoning has long made it a desirable and flexible place for development. Unfortunately, the lack of zoning also means that some long-term property owners may take issue with development near their communities as urban land near existing homes becomes more desirable for new construction. At a minimum, this case lends uncertainty to Houston’s development landscape. New regulations, adopted since 2007, in the “high-density ordinance” (officially titled “Residential Buffering Ordinance” – see hidensity) would likely prevent the originally proposed project from being built as it was planned on the site. An office tower slated for construction near River Oaks is already facing similar community opposition and the specter of a legal challenge. In the future, it is likely that developers will want to show some due diligence in working with neighborhoods prior to construction to address potential issues like lighting, noise and garage buffering. Thus, community engagement will become even more important as developers, and even those wishing to reposition properties, seek sites compatible with meeting Houston’s strong rental demands. Do you have a media issue? Contact HAA’s Aimee Arrington for assistance. She can be reached at 713-595-0302 or aarrington@

Check out the latest HAA news on our blog at or via our LinkedIn and Facebook groups. ABODE



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Plan yournext



The Life’s Blood of Our Industry O n-site managers, assistant managers, leasing specialists, service technicians, housekeepers and groundskeepers are the backbone of our industry. They make the critical decisions that give an apartment community market advantage, produce expected profits and create public perception of our industry (good or bad). They make it happen day in and day out. Every day I interact with on-site professionals in my local area. I receive reports and hear stories from all over the country about the ongoing challenges facing on-site personnel within our industry. In the group workshops I conduct, we share our enthusiasm and the frustrations unique to our workplace.




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Invest in your career and in your employees by pursuing opportunities to learn more about the business. By

CAROL LEVEY, I.T. Partners

Nearly 30 years ago I started cleaning dirty apartments to make the rent on my own. When given the choice to “lease ‘em” instead of “clean ‘em,” I jumped at the chance. My first orientation was simple and direct. “There’s a prospect here to see an apartment. Here are the keys. Show him something,” I was told. My first attempt lasted four hours – although it seemed longer. My co-workers didn’t know my whereabouts, but my prolonged absence didn’t create concern. A promotion opportunity into management came when the existing on-site manager left suddenly with rent funds. Unfortunately, my career once again progressed without the benefit of formal training, individualized coaching or organizational support.

IGNORANCE IS EXPENSIVE Now, it’s true that experience is the best teacher, but it is also the most expensive. While extremely valuable, it is an unacceptable alternative to education. On-site professionals need to know a lot every day. Every day that someone on site doesn’t know something he or she should, the apartment community owners, the management team and that individual are at risk. Prospective residents expect market and product knowledge from anyone to whom they are going to pay 35 percent or more of their monthly income. Existing residents expect their service requests to be understood and given priority. They expect follow-up and follow-through. More basic, residents general-

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Sample Interview Questions

• Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irrational, irate customer. What was the problem, your response, the outcome? • What do you think has been your most significant accomplishment at your current job? • Give me three qualities that best describe you and how they have aided or hurt you in the performance of your job. • If I were to call your supervisor for a reference, what would he/she say about you? • Tell me about the last time you were really upset with someone at work. What caused the situation? What did you do? • Describe a time when you were told to do something you had never done before and were unsure what to do. How did you handle this situation? • One goal for this position is to reduce resident turnover (or any measurable goal) by 2 percent per quarter over the next 12 months. Tell me about a similar past accomplishment. How would you organize to accomplish this goal in this situation? • Give me an example of something that didn’t turn out as well as you would have liked. How did you handle this situation? • Tell me about a time when you overlooked details or forgot to follow up on an important detail. What actions have you taken since to prevent the same problem?

Hiring: A Survival Guide By

Finding, hiring, training and retaining quality frontline service providers are universal concerns in our industry. Successful hiring is a combination of well-constructed interviews and an effective orientation. The cost of a bad hire is twofold: 1. direct costs totaling about 1.2 times the annual salary of the new hire and 2. the indirect costs associated with negative impact on customers and other employees. Experienced interviewers indicate that their success is predicated upon the preparation put into the interview process before the candidate arrives. The centerpiece of a good interview is a set of pre-written questions designed to uncover the way a candidate thinks and feels. These expressions should be measured against a “target profile” that is likely to predict job success. Ask questions that highlight actual experiences in the candidate’s history (see box below), instead of hypothetical situations. Let the candidate respond, even if long pauses are necessary while he or she gathers his or her thoughts. Listen carefully and write down responses so you can objectively compare candidates later.


• Prepare and use written interview questions that spotlight your target profile. Write down responses that can objectively compare candidates. • Be articulate on company benefits, conservative on earning potential and advancement. Be enthusiastic without a hard sell or sugarcoating. • The interview process should be kept focused. Include peer interview, be alert to candidates’ concerns and clearly communicate goals and standards. • When past employers or references are contacted, let them know that their candid input is important to a good match and the candidate’s success. Be open about your target profile and ask some of the same questions posed to the candidate (i.e. “Give me three qualities that best describe him or her.”). Compare these responses with the candidate’s answers. • If the hiring process includes testing, make sure results are relevant to the target profile and ranked objectively with other candidates.



We have sifted through the hiring stories of others, along with our own experiences. The following highlights are consistent indicators of positive interviewing: • The interview area should be clean and free of distractions or interruptions. Remove physical barriers (i.e. desks) that might inhibit open communication. • Interviewers should be trained to thoroughly understand the hiring process and be very familiar with the specific job being discussed. • A structured interview has a success rate of four times the subjective interview (where an interviewer makes an emotional decision within the first five minutes and spends the rest of the interview defending his or her opinion). • Determine a “target profile” that is likely to predict job success. Detail the target profile in writing, including experiences, skills and personality traits. • Design and use an application form that showcases a candidate’s profile and can be compared objectively with the target profile. • Give the candidate written material that highlights the company (vision, mission statement, company culture). Encourage and allow time to answer the candidate’s questions.

The hiring process doesn’t end with an agreement and a start date. The new employee is excited, just like a new resident before move-in. Orientation, just like move-in, is a naturally stressful experience. In the new employee’s mind, everything is decided within the first 30 days. National surveys alarmingly indicate that one-half of our employee turnover is predicated upon barriers created within the first month. The following highlights are keys to a great start: • The first 30 days must be organized and executed consistently. • Orientation must be immediate, thorough and sensitive to new employee concerns. • Introduce new employees to specific resources to get questions answered along the way. • Use a buddy system and cross-training to help new employees fit in. • Explain first paycheck and benefit enrollment details. • Provide regular feedback that is informal, open and two-way. • Prepare a formal evaluation after 30 days, including peer input. Neil Fjellestad and Carol Levey are the co-founders and principals of I.T. Partners,, and will be presenting APPLE seminars on March 6 and July 10. ABODE



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ly know or sense their legal rights. On-site personnel had better be at least as enlightened and informed as the most educated resident.

EDUCATION MEETS AN ONGOING NEED Overall conditions in the workplace have improved for on-site employees. Education is more readily available for our industry’s specialized workplace. However, in some ways the challenges for on-site workers remains unchanged: • They feel remote from the rest of the world. • The workday can begin and end without lunch or a break of any kind. • One problem can eat up hours as if they are mere minutes, but reports are still required by the end of the day. • Dozens of decisions must be reached daily without the luxury of experience, coaching or support. • Time off the clock doesn’t necessarily mean rest from responsibility. • It seems like they can do a lot more wrong than right during the course of a week.

• They always hear about what they can spend or not spend to stay within budget, yet they don’t always get the latest word about what they can say or cannot say to stay within Fair Housing compliance. There are no simple answers for on-site professionals, but there is a simple process. That process is education. Education is the best investment that each of us makes. Everyone within our industry must make this investment our personal priority. It’s equally important to know what education is not: • It is not being entertained by speakers. • It is not being bored to tears by lectures. • It is not being angered by feeling talked down to. • It is not being overwhelmed with too much information. • It is not advocating “how” without discussing “why.”

EDUCATION IS FOR EVERYONE Education is effective when it gives respect to the student’s experience but empowers him or her to change. Education is effective when it is ongoing, when it comes from industries

Find your next superstar at our

Community Career Night Thursday, February 27 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the HCC West Loop Campus, 5601 W. Loop South, 77081 FREE to attend Exhibit space: $200 National Apartment Industry Careers Month offers the perfect opportunity to represent your company at HAA’s Community Career Night and help grow the talent pool of future multifamily professionals. Exhibit space is only $200, and all proceeds go toward HAF Education Grants, which help fund the pursuit of designations for those in need of financial assistance. Contact Emily for details at




besides our own and when it comes from the feedback of our customers and our suppliers. Education is effective when it returns all of us to the basic skills of selling, listening, management, team building and accountability and requires us to practice what we learn with consistency. No one is exempt. Professional education is expensive. There must be a measurable return on the investment of time and money given to the effort. This return, realized in a strong and unified workforce, is proof that education is the life’s blood of our industry. Carol Levey has more than 30 years of experience in the multihousing industry and is co-founder and a principal of I.T. Partners, established in 1993 and headquartered in southern California. She is also co-author of the new National Apartment Leasing Professional course and, together with partner Neil Fjellestad, will be presenting the March 6 APPLE seminar for HAA titled “CRM – The Art of Renewals.” Contact Carol at or 1-800301-6446, or see Page 22 for APPLE details.

Not convinced? Ask the experts ... “It is amazing that so many talented people, well-suited for employment within our industry, have no idea about the career opportunities that exist,” say industry trainers* Carol Levey and Neil Fjellestad. “Career night is a proven solution.” Career night provides an easy introduction to the multi-housing industry and its career opportunities for job seekers. HAA hosts the event to create value for the industry by building positive awareness of the apartment business as an employer. Companies that attend HAA’s Community Career Night – on Thursday, February 13 – can develop a pool for potential recruiting and minimize wasted responses to recruitment ads for specific positions. Be sure to follow up: Attendance should be rewarded with acknowledgment, formal thanks and an invitation to interview if appropriate. Some of our past Career Night exhibitors have even interviewed promising candidates at the event! *Carol Levey and Neil Fjellestad are presenting the “Art of Renewals” APPLE session for HAA on March 6.

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I read it for the articles. “I share my ABODE with other markets often, and they are always impressed with our publication. ALWAYS! That makes me proud.” “It's just a great publication that I have always enjoyed reading. Sometimes I go back at a later date to re-read certain articles.” “I feel the information obtained in the ABODE magazine is imperative to keep me and my team informed and abreast of trends and issues that could affect us and understand what is happening with the law and in our city.” “Excellent magazine and the best local one in our industry nationwide.” “You guys rock!”

The responses to our ABODE Readership Survey were phenomenal! Thanks to everyone who participated. Hey suppliers, don’t miss your opportunity to take part! Get the attention of ABODE readers and take advantage of the opportunity to tell them all about you by advertising! ABODE magazine goes wherever our members go: the favorite chair, an airplane – even the bathroom. We take it a step further and host ABODE online, and it remains online for at least 12 months. Longevity and high pass rate. We’ve come across copies of ABODE from years ago in multifamily offices. ABODE magazine gets shared and passed along among coworkers. For more information on how you can be a part of the multifamily industry’s beloved publication, call Amanda Sherbondy at 713-595-0316, email or visit us online at

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HCC Multi-Family Property Management Certificate Program graduate Patricia Jackson

On-site Insight


The property management program developed by HAA and HCC helps people interested in the apartment business gain practical experience as well as basic industry knowledge. By


fn 2005, HAA began working with Houston Community College to build a property management certificate program in order to boost the number of qualified candidates for jobs in the apartment industry. The HCC Multi-Family Property Management Certificate program, which welcomed its first class in 2006, incorporates key areas of study for multifamily real estate professionals, including leasing fundamentals, property management software and landlord/tenant law, as well as conflict management and resolution, customer service and Fair Housing. Along with the industry-specific curriculum, the program also offers students the opportunity for real-world experience with a 64-hour property management internship that gives




students the chance to put in practice the skills, concepts and theories they learn through the coursework.

AHEAD OF THE GAME Natalie Spratt, vice president of Scenic Property Group, has hired several candidates discovered through the HCC internships and currently has four interns working in her Houston portfolio. Whereas NAA designation programs help those already in the industry gain a better understanding and sharpen their skills, Spratt says the HCC program is beneficial in prepping newcomers to enter the business, and she appreciates the on-site experience that candidates who complete the program bring to the table.

“I think this program allows people who are fresh into the industry the opportunity to have a little on-site experience before putting them out the field,” she said. “Not only do they get the classroom hours they would get in other programs, they already know what to expect on their first day on the job.”

A FOOT IN THE DOOR All through her 20-year career in the banking industry, Patricia Jackson knew she really wanted to work in real estate. When the mortgage crisis hit, Jackson was laid off and moved to Houston to be close to her daughter. Determined to find a way into the business, she joined an investment club, enrolled in HAA’s Leasing 101 and took a job with the University

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of Houston Police Department working nights – and then she discovered the HCC program. Jackson applied for both the program and for an HAA scholarship. She was selected for both and completed the program in spring 2013. “I would have to go to class and then leave class and go straight to work. I did that, and it was fun,” she said. “I enjoyed the class so much, and I learned a lot.” She found the classroom discussions useful and sometimes surprising. “I always thought that you wanted your property 100 percent leased, and I found that no, you really don’t want it leased at 100 percent,” she said. “… We did a lot of role-playing, and that helped.” Jackson arranged her internship with the newly constructed Mariposa Apartment Homes at Ella Boulevard, a senior property managed by United Apartment Group, where she helped open the office and activity center in the morning, walked the property, answered the phones, opened and showed the model and prepared marketing materials – anything that property manager Melissa Plata gave her the opportunity to do. “Occasionally I’d get someone who’d lost their key to get into the gate, so they taught me how to re-key so they could have access to the gate,” she said. “I did have a day when the air conditioner wasn’t working … and of course I had somebody that I needed to show that apartment, so I explained to them that the A/C wasn’t working, we were working on it, I’d be glad to show them the apartment, we could do a real quick walk-through so they could see it if they wanted to – and they did, so I showed it to them.”

Jackson relished the experience and believes she learned as much or more on site as in the classroom. “Hands-on is a lot better,” she said. “The classroom prepares you for it, but there’s never a day where everything is the same. … At Mariposa, I learned how to show apartments and actually sell the amenities of the apartment. You have to know your property, because people are gonna ask you questions, and if you hesitate or you act like you don’t know what you’re talking about, then it’s kind of a turnoff. You’ve gotta know your property and be enthusiastic about it.” Plata appreciated Jackson’s can-do attitude and work ethic, and she sent the program administrator an email thanking HCC for sending the property “a shining star” who “always had a smile and a good attitude.”

PLANNING AHEAD Unfortunately, Mariposa did not have any positions available to hire Jackson, but she is already in the process of purchasing and managing a four-unit apartment property as an independent owner. She plans to build her portfolio and retire from the university this year. “This was also a way for me to learn about managing my own property, she said. “Right now, that’s how I’m using it. … My goal now is just to continue what I’m doing. I want to get more properties so that I can retire from U of H. I’ve already set my goal. I’ve already typed my letter of resignation to U of H. In 2014, I will retire from there and just manage my own properties, and this program helped me to do that.”

The Basics

The Multi-Family Property Management Certificate program, offered through the HCC School of Continuing Education, is a non-credit program that meets in the evenings, requires 144 hours of study, is priced at $1,260 and leads to a “Marketable Skills Achievement Award” and certificate from HCC. The Houston Apartment Foundation offers six annual full program scholarships for individuals not presently employed in the property management industry in an effort to cultivate new talent and skills for the apartment industry. Individuals must successfully complete an application that demonstrates a commitment and researched interest in a career in property management and submit two letters of recommendation and an essay (minimum 500 words). Candidates currently employed in the industry or possessing more than six months of industry experience within the last five years are not eligible. For more information, visit or




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Building the Unstoppable Team


Consider your company’s strengths and needs to find the right fit. By

LORI SNIDER, The Lori Snider Company

f you have been lucky in your career, you have had the opportunity to work in an environment in which the leader made you and your co-workers feel invincible. You liked coming to work every day, and you loved the people you worked with. You felt trusted and valued. The synergy was energizing and unrestricted in potential. Quite simply, you were fortunate enough to have a great leader orchestrating your team. Now you’re the leader. You may find creating the unstoppable team to be a bit more compli-




cated than you thought. The principles are simple, but human emotion, personalities and communication styles can make them difficult to execute. So what’s a savvy manager to do? It all starts with trust. In The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling wrote, “The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” A leader can’t go it alone, and the more power managers give to employees, the more employees esteem their leaders. Which brings you to your challenge: All of that requires trust –

trust that the employee can be entrusted with power, trust from the employee that an initiative is of highest importance, and knowing that mistakes will be made … and considered a learning experience. The first key in developing the unstoppable team is to find talent you can trust, because a smart hire results in increased productivity, a happier team and synergy that creates results.

WILL THIS PERSON FIT IN? In “First, Break all the Rules: What the

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World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently,” Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman recommend three critical questions when considering a candidate for hire: • Will the candidate fit and buy into our company culture and the standards and expectations that create our unique vibe? Every company offers a unique culture that some individuals with thrive in and others will not. Some cultures, for example, offer a great deal of consistency and predictability. They like doing things a certain way and don’t deviate. Others offer a more fluid and creative approach. Ask yourself: “Will this person fit into our culture? Will he or she thrive in it? Is it a good match?” If not, move on. • Will people find it easy to work with this candidate? This of course, applies to the team, but also to suppliers – and most importantly, to the residents. • Will this person like the job? Will the job duties draw on his or her unique talents? Will he or she enjoy the time spent working every day? Will he or she be good at it? If you have trouble deciphering what it means to fit into the culture, ask yourself (and your team) what behaviors or skills reflect your company values and that you consistently employ. Then, jot down behaviors or skills that correlate to those values. For example, some company cultures value individuals with the ability to push initiatives forward, indicating a need for a person with a very high energy level and demonstrated initiative. If your company values open communication, being a good listener is a skill that will reflect your company values.

WILL HE OR SHE REPRESENT US WELL? Keep in mind that everyone, from maintenance to accounting, is a potential spokesperson for your business, and that all roads lead back to the customer experience.

WILL HE OR SHE THRIVE HERE? Try not to be pigeonholed by traditional responsibility-based job descriptions. Rather, focus on finding the right fit. Don’t assume you can change someone and make him or her enjoy posting rent when numbers and balances are not an innate talent. Conversely, if you focus too much on finding the “all-around” candidate, you will find yourself frustrated, as most people are not “all-arounds.” Rather, think of yourself as a team scout. What talents are you lacking on your current team? What do you need? Then focus on finding that component. Professional football players are usually not recruited because they can kick, pass, block and run. They are sought for their unique talents and what each can specifically contribute to total team strength.

WILL THIS PERSON PROSPER? Finally, people want more than a salary. Provide a sense of contribution and purpose to add real meaning to their work. Help them understand the greater vision and how what they do impacts people’s lives. To build the unstoppable team, focus on finding the right fit, and trust will follow. Lori Snider is a national educator, marketing, service and sales expert. She will be presenting an APPLE seminar for HAA on this topic on April 22. She can be reached via or




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Plan yournext


Image by Mircea_dfa/

What Your Team Really Wants


On-site employees cite opportunity, trust and teamwork as key factors in job satisfaction. By

JEN PICCOTTI, SatisFacts Research

he multifamily industry is all about people, and most often the people who get the most attention are the residents and prospects. The success of the industry, however, doesn’t start with the residents. It begins with the team. Two of the top five factors in resident satisfaction are “sense of community between the residents and staff” and “responsiveness and




dependability of the team.” Residents and employers have high expectations of our team members, but how often do we evaluate what expectations team members have of their employers or each other?

MONEY DOESN’T BUY HAPPINESS “More money” is commonly presumed to be the factor that motivates the most – however,

according to the results of the 2013 Associate Surveys conducted by SatisFacts, the top factors that motivate on-site team members are: • Opportunities to learn new things • Authority to make decisions • Management shows faith in their judgment • Working on a team • Recognition

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• Helping others be successful. On the flip side, the top factors that keep on-site team members from getting their jobs done are: • Issues not addressed promptly • Budgeting constraints • Inconsistent direction • Paperwork requirements. Notice that compensation doesn’t rank anywhere on these lists. Sure, it is a factor, just as rent increases are a factor when residents are evaluating renewing their leases. But the key factors are overwhelmingly focused on opportunity, trust and teamwork.

CULTURE COUNTS Research across a variety of industries shows that employee satisfaction directly impacts customer satisfaction, which directly impacts revenue. If team members don’t feel that they are getting the opportunity to grow, that their supervisors don’t trust them, or they don’t feel connected to their co-workers, they won’t feel motivated to put much effort into their work. It starts with the culture created by top management and cultivated down the chain of command. So what impacts this culture? Education. At the top of the list is the desire to learn new things, so one of the most impactful investments a company can make is in the education of its staff. Whether it is building an in-house training department or utilizing online learning or tapping into the programs provided by the local apartment association, there is a learning solution for every budget. Trust your team. There’s a reason you hired the employees you have. Whether it was finding that can-do attitude or discovering someone who had the perfect blend of experience, you had a specific need and you filled it. You did your part, so now let them do theirs. Parameters and guidelines are important, but if you don’t trust your team to make decisions, there are really only two choices you can make: a) Educate them on the skills they need, or b) Hire a better fit. Provide the tools needed. Most often, this comes in the form of answering questions promptly. Just as property teams are expected to respond to resident questions and concerns the same day, supervisors should live by the same expectation. It’s nearly impossible to do your job well if the tools and information you need are not available. If it’s a matter of not having the answers to the questions that are coming in, it may be time to establish some basic governing policies. The success of any community relies directly on the property team, and it’s critical to understand what matters most to team members. If you haven’t taken the time lately to ask what is most important to them in their work, don’t assume you know. Ask. You may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to gain even more loyalty from your employees and, ultimately, your residents. SatisFacts offers resident satisfaction surveys and feedback monitoring programs designed to help clients boost resident satisfaction, loyalty, retention and online reputation. Jen Piccotti, senior vice president of education and consulting, heads up client support for SatisFacts, including resident feedback analysis, survey action planning, online reputation management coaching, productivity studies and educational services. She is a multifamily industry veteran since 2000. Read more from her at




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Plan yournext


Image by Arsija/

“ Houston is slated to be the second-highest city for job growth in 2014. With the new construction projects coming on line in 2014 and proposed new construction projects in 2015, additional opportunities for new and current talent at all levels in the apartment industry will be available.” – Anne O’Connell and Shirlee Villanueva

“Houston is the place to be for a job – for just about any industry!” – Tod Grice

“ In general, in the Houston multifamily job market there is a clear shortage of exceptional talent. Leading employers are looking to maximize the bottom line and have recognized that, as a rule, the only way to do this is with the best staff available.” – Ken Bohan




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Trends in the Trenches


Staffing professionals offer observations on the candidate pool, employer expectations and the job market in Houston. Compiled by


few weeks ago, ABODE asked representatives from our member companies specializing in personnel to share their thoughts about the multifamily job market – in particular what skills are in high demand and what job seekers can do to advance their careers. Thanks to Anne O’Connell and Shirlee Villanueva, AAA Staffing; Tod Grice, BG Staffing; and Ken Bohan and Dean O’Kelley, The Liberty Group for contributing to this article.

What is the greatest skills gap you see between what employers want and what job seekers have to offer? Anne O’Connell and Shirlee Villanueva, AAA Staffing: With the job seekers who are baby boomers, there can be a technology gap compared to the employer’s needs, and with the Gen Yers and millenials, the interpersonal communication skills can be lacking because they rely so much on technology for communication. Tod Grice, BG Staffing: Education. My Houston and Phoenix clients want a porter/groundskeeper to have a high school diploma. They want maintenance candidates with a valid driver’s license for temp jobs. Dean O’Kelley, The Liberty Group: With the dramatic development expansion that is occurring in Houston and Texas, the need for qualified candidates, especially for maintenance (from porter to

EPA-certified techs) has never been greater! While the shortage has occurred, it has taken employers time to realize that higher pay needs to be considered. The expanding oil and gas industries are sapping our candidates, and they have very deep pockets. Ken Bohan, CPC, CTS, The Liberty Group: Employers want savvy social media marketing expertise, a thorough understanding of financial operations at both the micro and macro levels, development and construction experience in concrete mid-rise and highrise residential property types (podium, cast in place, precast, etc.), a college degree, bilingual ability with Spanish as a second language, a documented/proven record of sophisticated leadership and revenue management software expertise. What is the biggest blunder you’ve observed on the part of job seekers? Employers? O’Connell and Villanueva, AAA Staffing: Job seekers are not always able to explain their strengths and skill set to an employer. Employers do not always outline the full scope of a position, making it difficult to find the perfect candidate for a long-term fit. Grice, BG Staffing: Job seekers’ resumes are too long, and many show no job stability – less than a year at three or four jobs in a one- to three-year period. We are also seeing more criminal backgrounds, inability to speak proper English and increased use of false documentation for work authorization in the United States. O’Kelley, The Liberty Group: For job seekers, failing to focus on the needs and wants the employer. For employers, the reverse is true, failing to focus on the needs and wants of the candidate. For both, not being prepared for the interview is the biggest blunder. Bohan, The Liberty Group: For job seekers, quitting a position prior to having an offer for a position desired. For employers, assuming someone would make a lateral move to take their job. This is a result of some employers not recognizing that there is steep competition for top talent. They will have to pay a premium for it, and a current employer will counter-offer to keep it. What is the most strategic career move a person looking to grow in the apartment business could make right now? O’Connell and Villanueva: Focus on additional industry-related educational opportunities and gain experience on different property types. Affordable housing is really booming, and there is a shortage of qualified candidates for many of those positions. Bohan: Take a position with a well-respected company that is growing and has a track record of promoting people internally, and take classes to gain a deeper understanding of revenue management and financials. To take it a step further, keep current on the growing integration of technology/software into active property management. ABODE



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What are some emerging trends that you’ve observed in the past couple of years? What are some past trends that have faded, whether for good or bad? O’Connell and Villanueva: More management companies are using staffing agencies as a working interview tool in addition to using temporary labor to staff their properties. Grice: Combining makeready skills with assistant maintenance positions is growing – in other words, wanting makeready techs who have HVAC certification. Bohan: Based on the potential retirement of the baby boomers, there is an emerging concern regarding succession planning. The Texas market is experiencing an increased need for bilingual, Spanish-speaking candidates. Requests for operations and marketing expertise in grand openings and new construction lease-ups are surpassing requests for experience in repositioning properties. Revenue management and social media marketing expertise are in demand. Texas is experiencing a shortage of talented individuals with commercial property maintenance experience. There is an increased demand for mid-management to interface with asset managers, investors and lenders.

Looking for a member company to help save time and money? Check out HAA’s new Buyer’s Guide online to use our Request For Information tool. Try it now!

Show them you mean

Business 46



Any other thoughts about the Houston-area job market or multifamily careers? O’Connell and Villanueva: Houston is slated to be the second-highest city for job growth in 2014. With the new construction projects coming on line in 2014 and proposed new construction projects in 2015, additional opportunities for new and current talent at all levels in the apartment industry will be available. Grice: Houston is the place to be for a job – for just about any industry! Bohan: In general, in the Houston multifamily job market there is a clear shortage of exceptional talent. Leading employers are looking to maximize the bottom line and have recognized that, as a rule, the only way to do this is with the best staff available. With the number of properties in construction, the competition will increase for this talent. The management companies and properties with the most highly skilled professional staff will outperform their competition. About the survey participants: Shirlee Villanueva is senior vice president of operations for AAA Apartment Staffing, Tod Grice is a regional vice president for BG Staffing, Ken Bohan is president and founder of The Liberty Group,

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Owners: Do you know where your customer

has been?

Has that chicken flown the coop from another property? Did they skip out? Were they evicted? Did they just fly out from behind bars? Don’t let bad birds flock to your apartments. Check out renters before you write that lease. Knowing a prospect’s rental and criminal history is more important than ever. Rental Credit Reporting provides the most effective credit and collection reporting tools available. Find out all you can about your future residents before you move them in.

Don’t miss out on this basic information that can tell you a whole lot more about a potential resident than just a credit score.

Keep a bird’s-eye view on your bottom line. a service of

in partnership with

For more information or to subscribe, contact RCR at 713-595-0330, e-mail or visit us online at

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Plan yournext


Easy as 1, 2, 3


an employee reviews really be positive and profitable? You bet! Follow the steps in this article and the changes in your property management company will be felt immediately! How you and your company handle each employee review is a direct reflection of your leadership and the importance of each individual within your organization.

PREPARING FOR EACH REVIEW Start by establishing the frequency and time frame for your company employee reviews and be certain this is outlined in your administrative guidelines and employee manual. If each review is tied to a person’s anniversary date, keeping track of employee review schedules can be a challenge. Consider doing all reviews during two months of the year – for instance, November and May. Each of your managers should be given a




Image by Andrey Popov/

Follow these easy steps for a positive and profitable employee review process. By


blank copy of the review form required by your property management company and a list of their team members who are scheduled for a review. Instruct your managers/supervisors to prepare each review in a typed format, as this makes it easy to read and looks more professional when being presented. Lastly, ask each of your managers to give you a copy of the final review notes, prior to it being formally presented. This gives you an opportunity to assess the quality of the work being done by each of your managers/supervisors and gives you a window for making any changes. Tip from The Coach: In the same way you give a blank copy of the employee review form to your managers/supervisors, give a blank copy of the review form to each person being reviewed. This will give your employees an opportunity to make notes about their performance prior to each performance review. This step is critical because it allows each of

your managers to identify the gap between their point of view and their employees’ points of view. This gap is exactly where the best coaching can be done to improve the performance of each person on your property management team.

CONDUCTING EACH REVIEW Since your manager and your employee will both be well prepared for this review, the exchange of ideas and the depth of feedback will make for a rich and rewarding meeting. The review should start by having your manager explain how each person’s review is a special time for personal and professional growth, setting the tone for each review as both positive and productive. Have your manager continue by reading out loud the first question, followed by his or her comments about the employee. Next, the See COACH, Page 60

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Superstar Secrets

Double your productivity in just one month with a few smart strategies. By


Double your personal productivity in 30 days? Is it possible? Absolutely! This article will provide three important steps for making the best investment you have ever made – an investment in you! Why is this critical? Because a small investment made today will yield huge dividends for you in the future. Increased productivity is a very popular topic with my property management clients because finding a way to leverage small shortcuts, which generate large results, continues to be an important theme in the fast-paced world we experience today and the pace we can anticipate in the future.

Tip from The Coach: Once you have learned to speed-read, you will no longer experience information overload because you will be able to grasp concepts and learn new ideas at a more pleasurable pace. On a personal note, learning to speed-read will also help you become a daily learner, which will be critical to your continued success. Those who understand this important concept will be the future leaders in this industry, so become a speed-reader and learn at least one new idea every day. One year from today, you will own a treasury of 365 new ideas!



Begin by using the recording features in your smartphone to capture your spoken thoughts and ideas. This is the perfect way for taking voicenotes while you are walking/inspecting your properties, and these notes can be used to develop a checklist for your next team or maintenance meeting. Voice recordings are especially useful for dictating a company letter or memo, as you can rapidly speak your ideas into your phone and have a support person or your assistant actually do the typing for you, giving you the time to handle other, more important tasks. Tip from The Coach: Your mind is a powerful tool, but frequently it works in overdrive creating new ideas or solving problems, which distracts you from fully concentrating on the task or person in front of you. Use your voice recordings to dump all your thoughts and ideas, and then return to the task or project you are working on with a clear head. Start by capturing a steady stream of your ideas as voice recordings and watch to see how many of these turn into great ideas! On a personal note, voice recordings are great for making grocery lists, building a list of errands or storing the notes from a phone call you have just completed.

A database manager is powerful software that stores important information that can be quickly accessed and can easily store a person’s name, phone number, address and his or her type of business, and it will even remind you when a variety of projects/tasks are due. The real power in having a database is being able to access a vendor, a supplier, a prospect or an industry expert in just seconds. Plus, you will be able to sort your database and print an endless variety of reports, telephone numbers, mailing labels and resident/prospect lists, which will increase your daily closing ratio and resident retention. Tip from The Coach: Most database programs perform similar functions, so ask those in your property management company which software they use and ask them to show you how they use it. On a personal note, a database is great for birthday reminders, printing labels when mailing holiday cards or planning a family reunion. Want to hear more about this topic or ask additional questions? Send an email to and The Coach will email you a free invitation to be a participant on a PowerHour conference call.

LEARNING TO SPEED-READ On a daily basis you are bombarded with thousands of words/images/text messages and emails, and it can be overwhelming just trying to keep up. Keeping up becomes more and more challenging with the pace of technology and increased performance expectations. The solution? Take a speed-reading course and learn how to triple your reading velocity and improve your learning comprehension at the same time. Look for “speed reading seminars” online for listings of courses that will teach you how to become a more powerful reader and give you a step-by-step plan for increasing the comprehension of what you read and see.




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Plan yournext


Image by Bowie15/

Don’t Hire LUZIRS


Look for the red flags that identify poor candidates when hiring. By


ith the economy making a gradual comeback, it is more important than ever for employers to be very, very careful about their hiring practices. Hiring the wrong person can cause catastrophic loss, and this is especially so in the apartment industry where so many employees must focus upon sales and service. Hiring a bad employee not only costs you potential revenues and lost opportunities, it can also damage your bottom line through costly lawsuits and administrative charges. The worst thing you can do is hire one of the LUZIRS – those who are Lazy, Undisciplined, Zero-interest, Irresponsible, Rude, Slackers. Here are some best-practice suggestions to avoid them.




DUE DILIGENCE First, look at your current workforce and recent history and ask, “Who are my really good workers?” and “Who sucks?” Then, ask yourself the more important question: “Where did I find them?” The answers will tell you where to look for workers – in other words, where should you devote your recruiting resources. Second, use a good employment application. Always. Every time. Without exception. A good application will ask the questions and get the answers you really need – education, experience, basic background information, references, etc. It will also have important legal information that you want the applicant to know: This is “at-will” employment; there will be a background check, drug test, credit

check and/or motor vehicle record check; lying on the application or hiding material information will result in termination; an arbitration agreement or jury waiver provision applies to any disputes; as well as required legal disclaimers such as “Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.”

BE PARTICULAR Don’t ever accept a resume in lieu of a complete employment application. Don’t accept entries on the application stating, “See resume.” Why? Well, consider who decided which questions to answer on a resume. In contrast to a well-drafted employment application, a resume is the applicant’s spin on his or her background and qualifications. See LUZIRS, Page 61

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are you looking for?

You wouldn’t advertise your apartment community alongside misspelled ads for stained couches or creepy singles looking for dates, so why would you promote working at your company in a similar environment? Listing your employment opportunities on free community posting sites can produce some scary results; your time and company reputation is too valuable.

For only $99 your company can post open positions among the most respected industry leaders via HAA’s Jobline. Experienced, serious candidates who have done their homework know to seek out for their career opportunities. Don’t miss out on the chance to interview them first!

JOBLINE Visit and click on the Jobline link, e-mail or call 713-595-0300 to learn more.

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Photos from the 2013


Event: 2013 Volunteer Appreciation Party When: December 12 at Hughes Hanger A great time was had by all at this yearly event thanking HAA’s active volunteers. Congrats to “best elves” winners Grant Crowell, The Urban Foresters, and Stephanie Graves, Asset Plus! HAA announced that in 2013 more than $22,700 was raised for the American Red Cross from the HAA/Valet Waste key recycling drive, All Stars Sports Challenge and the Chili Fest silent auction.




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Photos by





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PHOTO ALBUM Event: HAA State of the Industry Breakfast When: January 14 Where: Hilton Post Oak Hotel Sponsors: Ameritex Movers and TPI Painting Inc. Attendees filled the Hilton Post Oak for this special program discussing the postive current and future market conditions in the Houston area. The program featured an executive panel including Kirk Tate, Orion Real Estate Services; Stacy Hunt, Greystar; Timm Wooten, Martin Fein Interests; Bruce McClenney, Apartment Data Services; and Keith Oden, Camden.




Photos from the


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Photos by

MARK HIEBERT, Hiebert Photography




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Team Player For Chris Runyon, the Certified Apartment Manager designation proves his dedication to both his career and his residents.

I’m a complete team player, and I’m not hiring leasing consultants or a maintenance supervisor – I am hiring a team member to join our team, because we all strive to work for the same goal.


roviding quality service to his residents takes top priority for Greystar’s Chris Runyon, who earned his Certified Apartment Manager designation in 2012 to demonstrate his commitment to the industry. “I wanted to prove to myself that I know what I’m doing as a property manager,” said Runyon, “and I enjoy the fact that I have that on my wall in my office. My residents can come in and they see that, and they know that I’m dedicated.” Runyon grew up in College Station and worked in banking before he got his multifamily start in student housing a decade ago. In 2006, he moved to Houston and took an assistant manager position with Greystar.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY “I found myself here all the time,” he said. “I’d come for the weekend to hang out with friends, and I’d always wanted to move to Houston. I had a friend who was a locator that gave me a referral, and it worked out.” He also found that the push for renewals, concentrated in February for student apartments, was a year-round effort for the rest of the multifamily industry. But he enjoyed dealing with one lease per unit, rather than per bed, and he especially liked helping people find homes, not just a place to crash between classes. He started on a property completing a lease-up and was soon promoted to a manager on a Class B property that he says provided a valuable learning experience. “That property taught me the most that I could have learned out of any property that I’ve ever managed,” said Runyon. “On a Class B property, you have less freedom on spending, and it taught me how to truly budget and utilize every dollar that’s in that budget.” He went on to manage a Class A community where he gained a better understanding of how to come up with a true marketing plan, followed by a takeover, where he learned the ins and outs of a transition from one management company to another and empathized




with how difficult it can be for residents. Runyon then managed a property through the due diligence and sales process, which he found rewarding. “It was gratifying that somebody purchased something that I put my heart and soul into,” he said. He earned the designation to boost his career, and it has paid off. Now Runyon is preparing to open a brand-new property, his first – Elan Med Center – next month. He believes that earning the designation pushed him to this new challenge, and he is looking forward to getting the property leased up quickly and proving what he can do as a manager.

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“My goal is to be completed with the lease-up by year-end,” he said. “Right now I am finding my team and getting them all situated. One thing about me is that I’m a complete team player, and I’m not hiring leasing consultants or a maintenance supervisor – I am hiring a team member to join our team, because we all strive to work for the same goal.”

A CAREER IMPERATIVE Runyon tells his coworkers and peers that earning a designation is definitely something that everyone should do, and he plans to strongly urge each of his new team members to pursue a designation in the next year or two. He said the course confirmed much of what he has learned along the way but also opened his eyes to the ways in which different people can view the same policies and procedures differently.

Everybody needs to get a designation and prove to themselves and prove to others that they’re as good as how they see themselves. “Everybody needs to get a designataion and prove to themselves and prove to others that they’re as good as how they see themselves,” he said. Runyon has a higher goal in his sights and hopes to work his way up to a regional position before long. “That’s been what’s in my heart since I first got into the industry,” he said. Ultimately, he is driven by a passion for customer service and a job well done, and he says the designation serves as evidence of his drive for excellence. “I enjoy helping people find their homes, and I enjoy providing a home to people that’s managed well,” said Runyon. “… I think that [the CAM] shows my dedication to my work and to my career.”

Earn your NALP this month, or sign up for CAM, beginning on Wednesday, March 5. See Page 19 for course listings or Page 24 for details on the CAM program.

Have you completed the CAM coursework but not the community analysis or the exam? You may be eligible for CAMnesty! Get a second chance at the exam by paying an extension fee to NAA. Learn more at education/certified-apartment-manager/camnesty. ABODE



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PHOTO ALBUM Event: ACES Angels This was the second year for the ACES Angels program, and it was a huge success. Partnering with the Harris County Department of Education’s Head Start program, the Angels provided more than 70 needy families with holiday gifts, ranging from basic items such as towels, clothes and small appliances to toys, gift cards and even furniture. Their efforts sparked many smiles this holiday season, and we cannot thank our generous Angels enough for bringing joy into the lives of so many. The ACES Angels program will continue in 2014. Look for details this summer. If you are a management executive and would like to get involved in the Apartment Community Executives & Supervisors membership group, contact Kirsten Deagen at or 713-595-0323 for details.

For our full list of donors, see the Back Page on Page 76.




Photo courtesy of HCDE

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Photos from the


Notes from our ACES team: From Debbie Sulzer: “The biggest contributor was Beth Van Winkle, who donated $1,800 to a family that is here with their 19-year-old daughter who is undergoing cancer treatment. The mom and her six children live in an apartment with all the children attending school locally while their sister is going through a one year treatment program at MD Anderson. The mom was so relieved to get a $500 gift card donated by Dean O’Kelley. Her brother was staying with her from Mexico, as they found out he had cancer and wanted to see what hope MD Anderson could give him. She started crying, saying that his wife and kids were coming in that weekend to basically tell their husband and father goodbye, as there was nothing they could do for him. She didn’t know how she was going to feed them all. She was so appreciative.” The Harbor Cove Apartments family received seven gifts apiece, donated by the residents of the property, and $200 in gift cards. Manager Sharon Robinson was so proud of her community. Paige Tooker of Riverwood Apartments reports that they adopted a family of five. Dad had been unemployed for many months and thankfully had just started to work again.“We were given the amazing opportunity to deliver to the family’s home. We took large trash bags and filled them with the 50+ presents that our wonderful residents so graciously gave. We carried the first two large bags in, full of presents, and watched the eyes and excitement of the children and their mother, then proceeded with two more trips! Truly awesome! After delivering all the presents, we thanked them for making OUR Christmas so amazing!” Sal Thomas took his children out to deliver to his adopted family. Marlo Skinner with Apartment Guide and her son delivered to their chosen family. She found out that the Head Start center needs help with career apparel and interview training. Marlo graciously volunteered to do this for them. ACES would like to encourage more member participation next year. We tried to help at least three families per center in 2013, and everyone who has joined in has been so grateful to be able to make a difference. Contact Kirsten Deagen at to add your name to the list of donors for the 2014 holiday season.




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COACH, continued from Page 48

employee should read his or her comments out loud. After each person has read his or her response to the first question, then specific feedback should be given by the manager or supervisor about how the comments are similar, opening a discussion about any comments that are different. This gap leaves room for personal and professional growth and is the perfect place to build action items to be addressed between this review and the next one. After completing the first question, have your manager continue the rest of the employee review using this same format. Tip from The Coach: This review format communicates mutual respect for each employee of your property management company, but it must go one step further. Since the feedback of each employee is important, and since you are requesting their feedback during each employee review, a salary increase must consider the comments from both your manager and your employee. This means a final decision about the size of each person’s salary increase should be given one or two days after the review is completed. If a salary increase is given at the close of each employ-




ee’s review, this says to your employee that their feedback was not important, as the salary increase had been determined in advance. I know this sounds like a small point, but it will make a BIG difference to those on your team!

USING THE REVIEW FOR GROOMING AND GROWTH So the review is finished, and the paperwork can now be placed in the employee’s file to gather dust for the next year, right? Not a chance! Have your manager or supervisor end each employee review by first recapping all the positive comments that were shared and have them summarize each action or step required for improvement or growth. These actions should focus on the goals and objectives for the next period and must be in alignment with the goals of your property management company. Have your manager schedule a short meeting within 30 days to review the progress being made for each action item, as this review will become an important part of each month’s conversation between your manager

and his or her employee. Then continue to use this employee review monthly until the anniversary of the next formal review. Tip from The Coach: While your managers are using this year-round review process, ask them to keep you posted on those individuals who are making the most progress on their actions for growth. This is a good sign and a strong indicator that a person has leadership abilities and can easily be groomed for additional responsibility. As you identify these leaders in your property management company, develop a second set of action steps to accelerate these individuals’ career paths within your company. Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach since and a property management industry professional since 1988, is the author of SmartMatch Alliances and the founder of PowerHour. To subscribe to his free property management newsletter, visit www.power To hear more about this important topic or ask some additional questions, send an email to and The Coach will email back to you a free invitation to be a participant on a PowerHour conference call.

luzirs pg 50, 61_Layout 1 1/21/14 10:39 AM Page 2

LUZIRS, continued from Page 50

Statistics show that nearly half of all resumes contain some material misrepresentation or outright lie. Because LUZIRS are generally lazy, they frequently put “see resume” on their employment applications. Don’t fall victim to their trap! Third, analyze the application carefully. Look for gaps in employment. Look for a progression of diminishing responsibilities or pay. Look for vague, unspecified reasons for leaving a job. Be wary of these classic reasons: “Disagreed with policy” (read: fired for rules violation), “Personality conflict” (couldn’t get along with co-workers, supervisor or customers), “Poor working conditions” (fired for poor performance), “Mutual agreement” (found out he or she was one of the LUZIRS). You should also look for incomplete or blank responses. If your application asks about criminal convictions (it should), and the applicant doesn’t answer, then guess what that means. There probably is a gap in employment in there, too. If the applicant’s answer is “no” to each request to contact a prior employer, odds are the applicant is hiding something. While it might be appropriate for an applicant to not want you to contact a

current employer, previous employers should be fair game for reference-checking.

ASK QUESTIONS Fourth, once you have narrowed the applicant pool to a handful of candidates, interview them carefully. Do this in private where you won’t be interrupted. Prepare for the interview – don’t review the application while the candidate is sitting in front of you. Ask open-ended questions that get the applicant to talk, and follow the 80/20 rule: Let the applicant talk 80 percent of the time. Ask about likes and dislikes with respect to current or former job duties, supervisors/managers, companies, customers, etc. Do spend your 20 percent of the time “selling” your company and the job. You want the candidates you don’t select to say good things about your company, too. Before you make an offer, check the candidate’s references. Always do this. It is often a good idea to talk to personal references, too. Don’t get stonewalled by a response limited to job title and dates of employment. At least ask if the candidate is eligible for re-hire.

WELCOME MAT Finally, end the hiring process on the right note by giving the new hire a proper welcome and orientation. This is a wonderful opportunity to impress upon the new hire the importance of key company values and principles. Let the new hire meet the boss early in the orientation process, and make all levels of management part of the process. This helps the new hire feel truly welcome and sets the stage for good communication later. If you follow these steps carefully, you’ll be doing everything you can to avoid the LUZIRS. Oh, every now and then one will slip through the process, but you will have screened out most of them long before they get on your payroll. David C. Whitlock has more than 25 years of experience advising and counseling employers on various areas of labor and employment law and recently launched Whitlock Law LLC in Atlanta. He can be reached at 404-626-7011 or




Ambass Feb14 pg 62,63_Layout 1 1/21/14 10:55 AM Page 1


Meet the Team These supplier members have volunteered to lead Ambassador Club efforts this year. 2014 MEETING DATES


The Ambassador Club meets the first Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m. at Diablo Loco, 6025 Richmond (across from Dave & Buster’s). Contact Lisa for details at lbutler@ for details. Mark your calendars for the dates listed at right. Be sure to check the online calendars at for the most current meeting dates. Izzy Garza Maintenance Supply Headquarters

Want to become an Ambassador? Come early and attend a New Ambassador Orientation at 3:30 p.m. (prior to the full meeting).

Laura Lestus The Liberty Group

Jacob Kunath Century A/C Supply


February 5 March 5 April 2 May 7 June 4 July 9 August 6 September 3 October 1 November 5

Our NEW team 14 leaders for 20

The Ambassador Club has re-organized for 2014, with four teams of 20 members each, led by these enthusiastic volunteers:

Rhonda Blodgett Prism Electric

Wendy Cook Texscape Services

Erin Edwards Houston Waste Solutions

Deborah DeRouen Texscape Services

Debra Knight For Rent Media Solutions

Derek DeVries Camp Construction Services

Marivel Bownds For Rent Media Solutions

Angle Lavrack The Liberty Group

Kristin McLaughlin Criterion Brock

Grant Crowell The Urban Foresters

Kristina Welch ProMaxima

April Wilkin Orkin Pest Control

Interested in joining the Ambassador Club? Ask one of these folks or simply come to the orientation session before each meeting.

The Ambassadors are the eyes and ears of the Houston Apartment Association. By contacting member companies to promote HAA events and member benefits and letting association staff know about members’ wants and needs, the Ambassadors function as an important link to the HAA membership.

Scenes from the Ambassadors happy hour in December – thanks for a great 2013!




For more information, contact Lisa Butler at 713-595-0322 or

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What is an Ambassador?


omposed of product/service company volunteers, Ambassadors assist the Houston Apartment Association by contacting new and current members to inform them of upcoming events and to make sure they are making full use of their member benefits.

HOW DO AMBASSADORS KNOW WHOM TO CONTACT? Each month, HAA supplies Ambassadors with information for each visit, including name, address and phone and fax numbers.

HOW DOES MY INVOLVEMENT IN THE AMBASSADOR CLUB HELP ME PROMOTE MY PRODUCT OR SERVICE? The Ambassador Club is a perfect way to gain exposure in the industry. You can increase your customer base as you contact HAA members to promote membership benefits. The initial contact is not the time for a hard sell, but it’s a good opportunity to make your presence known.

When introducing yourself, use your company name. Mention what your company does and say that you are a volunteer for HAA. Be sure to give contacts your business card so they can readily identify you with your company. After tending to HAA business, follow up with a thank-you note and a brochure on your company.

WHAT KIND OF VALUABLE INFORMATION DO AMBASSADORS EXCHANGE? When changes occur at a property – whether it’s a new owner, management company or staff, new business opportunities may become available. Ambassador Club volunteers working together can find out more information about owner member changes and the product or service needs associated with those changes. Sharing this type of information can be very beneficial. Information that is not useful to one volunteer may prove useful to another.

Ronnie Beavers Presto Maintenance Supply Patrick Brothers Century A/C Supply Peggy Charles Meyer Smith Laura Collins Classic Touch Painting MJ Featherston Impact Floors Kevin Fenn Pavecon Fernando Gomez Century A/C Supply John Hill HARCO Insurance Jimmie Hotz HD Supply Alan Jones PPG Architectural Coatings Nichole Oldfield Buyers Access Dean O’Kelley The Liberty Group Michelle Pahl Century A/C Supply Mark Park AAA Plumbers

All supplier members are welcome to join the Ambassador Club. For more information or to sign up, contact Lisa Butler at 713-595-0322 or email

Sandra Parker For Rent Media Solutions Patrick Sheahan Sherwin Williams




WelMat Feb14 pg 64_Layout 1 1/21/14 10:57 AM Page 1




new members



1818 Thonig LLC Daniel Ellison 9732 FM 2289 Normangee, TX 77871-5200 979-220-5118 1818 Thonig Apartments 1818 Thonig LLC Properties Referred by Brian Cweren

Bath Fitter Luciana Costa 365 Garden Oaks Blvd. Houston, TX 77018-5501 713-691-4110 Bath-Equipment & Supplies

ACME Real Estate Investors LLC Patrick D. Brown 11606 Mesa Wells Drive Tomball, TX 77377-7670 281-357-5683 All is Well Yogesh Patil 12019 Briar Forest Drive Houston, TX 77077-3027 314-960-0932 Hollyvale Homes Apartments Product Marketing International Inc. Dan Nip 11205 Bellaire Blvd. #B33 Houston, TX 77072-2541 281-568-8388 Stoneview Management Daniel Turkel c/o Evergreen Apartments Office 3499 Evergreen Drive #703 Houston, TX 77087-3753 713-644-1736 Evergreen Apartments Taylor Real Estate Services Inc. Michael Taylor 800 Brickell Ave. #101 Miami, FL 33131-2914 305-773-8701 Casa Anita Apartments Casa Bonita Apartments Post Oak Village Apartments

Welcome to HAA! See Pages 20 & 21 or for listings of our upcoming networking events. Get the latest updates sent straight to your phone – simply text “HAAInfo” to 590590 to subscribe to our FREE text-messaging service!

Roma Kirshbaum & Schmidt Inc. Michael Beck 4600 Hwy. 6 North #101 Houston, TX 77084 281-815-8021 Collection Agencies Spark Lighting LLC Andrew DeBarbieris 7714 Renwick #36 Houston, TX 77081-7111 832-971-2551 Lighting Consultants Lighting Fixtures & Supplies Lighting-Outdoor Referred by Alan DeBarbieris Southwest Sales Ryan Wilkinson 4325 W Sam Houston. Pkwy. N #120 Houston, TX 77043 800-375-8400 Building Materials Plumbing Equipment & Supplies

Suppliers, we can help you market your products and services to apartment owners and managers! To learn more, contact Amanda at or 713-595-0316.

Did you know that when you join HAA, you are also a member of the Texas and national apartment associations? As a member of HAA, your membership also works for our industry at a local, state and national level. Get involved, support your industry and make your membership work for you and your business. Visit or call 713-595-0300 for details.

Any individual employed by an HAA member company can login to To request your individual ID and password, please email and list your full name and company. You will receive an email reply with your personalized information within 24 hours (during normal business hours).




Go-gets Feb14 p65_Layout 1 1/21/14 11:00 AM Page 1


Welcome Wagon Join the Go-Getters and help HAA grow with new members and new relationships.

Why recruit for HAA?

Recruitment Boot Camp Saddle up and help us spur HAA to new heights! Get on your boots and head to the Go-Getter Club Boot Camp on Wednesday, February 19 at 4 p.m. at Ciro’s Italian Grill, 9755 Katy Fwy., 77024. NOTE: You must RSVP to Lisa Butler at to attend this event.

The reason is simple: As a Go-Getter, you will earn additional exposure with the HAA membership through the special recognition of the lapel pin, blue jackets and the patches awarded to recruiters. Second, you are helping strengthen your association with the addition of new members and new involvement. Finally, the meetings are an opportunity to talk with your peers and develop lasting personal and business relationships. For more information about the Go-Getters or the membership process, contact Lisa at lbutler@ or 713-595-0322. Do you want to support your industry and help your association grow? All you have to do is recruit!

Mark your calendars for these membership meeting dates! Recruitment Boot Camp Wednesday, February 19, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Membership Happy Hour & Roundup Tuesday, March 25, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Go-Getters Luncheon Tuesday, April 8, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Go-Getters Luncheon Wednesday, April 16, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Go-Getters Luncheon Tuesday, May 6, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Membership Happy Hour Tuesday May 20, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Keep an eye on or text “HAAInfo” to 590-590 for venue information and other updates.




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PRESIDENT, continued from Page 7

gorgeous beach house in Galveston a few times each year. I have several tables of people here tonight from Guardian Equity. They are all so hardworking, and I’m very grateful to have them on my team, especially our property managers who work on site and make our customers happy every day. Paula Forshee, my business partner, has had a huge impact on our business and is brilliant. She freed me from some of the day-to-day operations to focus on growth for the business. JimiLea Conway and Lisa Lopez have helped me grow this company for almost a decade now, and I couldn’t live without them. Dennis McGinnis, Chad Jardine, David Fantin, Brian Lee and Steve Berges are all executives that make Guardian Equity such a great place to work. I also want to mention my friend Gary Blumberg, who worked with me for many years and has now gone on to do his own deals. Gary and his wife, Bonnie, are great people, as many of you know. Some of my partners and clients are here tonight as well. Thanks so much to all of you for making our company a success. I also have so many mentors within the association that it would be impossible to mention them all. I talked about several of them in the ABODE article. Thanks so much to Alex Townsend and Suan Tinsley for getting me involved in this association. It has been transformative, and I can’t imagine not being a part of this group.

OPPORTUNITY I know that everyone here has seen what a great opportunity we have in Houston today. Our energy sector, medical industry, port, technology, engineering and real estate businesses are all growing by leaps and bounds. There was a time when Houston’s economy lived and died by the price of oil. Well, we still care a lot about the price of oil, but we are so much more than that now. We have one of the most diverse, exciting cities in the country, with perhaps the best economic climate for growth. We are all blessed to be in Houston and in the apartment business right now. Let’s make new records this year, get a pro-business mayor in the queue to support our industry and take some time with our families to celebrate our success. I’m going to shut up now so we can get on with casino games and music and dancing. Have a great time, and get home safe! See Gala photos in next month’s ABODE.




PROPERTY UPDATE NEW CONSTRUCTION DMC Management is building Millennium Six Pines, 314 units at 10200 Six Pines Drive in The Woodlands. The following properties are under construction by Greystar: Elan Briar Forest, 324 units at 14698 Briar Forest Elan Med Center, 281 units at 7010 Staffordshire CityPlace Midtown II, 96 units at 2700 Brazos WaterWall Place, 322 units at 2801 WaterWall Drive Parkside Grand Parkway, 354 units at 1226 W. Grand Parkway South in Katy. BehringerHarvard is building the Allusion Apartments, 231 units at 3810 Law St.

PROPERTY CHANGES Greystar has assumed management of the properties listed below: The Place, 90 units at 1341 Castle Court Sawyer Heights Lofts, 326 units at 2424 Sawyer Heights St. Promenade Memorial, 228 units at 15135 Memorial Drive The Lofts CityCentre, 250 units at 12808 Queensbury Lane. Venterra Realty now operates Dominion at Woodlands, 238 units at 15596 I-45 South. Ascension now manages Casa Miranda, 320 units at 12261 Fondren. GPI Real Estate Management now operates the Crescent City Apartment Homes, 328 units at 8501 Broadway. Urban Capital Group now manages Compass Point, 250 units at 5050 Yale, and Brittany Square, 192 units at 4720 Reading Road in Rosenberg. United Apartment Group now operates Gessner Estates, 659 units at 8701 Town Park Drive, and has changed the name of Windcrest on Sherwood, 212 units at 1521 Sherwood Forest, to Villa Oaks Townhomes. Cortland Partners has purchased Camden Lakemont, now Mason at Lakemont, 312 units at 7115 S. Mason Road in Richmond. CWS Apartment Homes now operates Marquis on Park Row (formerly Century Park Row), 400 units at 15211 Park Row. Mosaic Residential now manages Dartford Square Townhomes, 124 units at 1100 S. Cherry St. in Tomball, and Nichols Square Apartments, 400 units at 2901 Hamman Road in Bay City. Veritas Equity Management now operates Legends of Memorial, 161 units at 915 Silber. Newport Property Ventures now manages the 300 North Vista Apartments, 296 units at 300 N. Vista.

Nolan Real Estate Services has purchased The Avenues at Shadow Creek, 300 units at 12501 Broadway in Pearland. Falls Apartment Group now operates Falls of Edgebrook, formerly Commons on Edgebrook, 439 units at 3927 Arlington Square Drive. PMR Companies now manages Cooper’s Mill, 366 units at 15603 Gulf Fwy. in Webster. Peek Realty and Property Management has acquired a group of 25 rental homes in various locations, collectively known as Peek Realty Properties, and Rose Plaza Apartments, 74 units at 3031 Sumpter. Trinity Property Consultants now manages Belvedere Westchase, formerly Celebration at Westchase, 367 units at 10936 Meadowglen Lane. US Residential Group now operates Windmill Landing, 259 units at 10121 Windmill Lakes. Ashford Communities now manages Ashford Santa Fe, formerly The Louvre Apartments, 162 units at 4010 W. Bellfort. Greystar has renamed the 580-unit property at 5454 Newcastle, formerly Marquis at Bellaire, now The Westmore at Bellaire. Greystone has changed the name of the 212-unit property at 2800 Tranquility Lake Blvd. in Pearland, formerly The Club at Tranquility Lake, to Sevona Tranquility Lake.

COMPANY CHANGES Jupiter Communities is now RAIT Residential. Webb Pest Control has relocated to 10693 Cutten Road, #B105, Houston 77066. Lone Star Roofing, Welding & Construction of Texas is now LSR Multifamily. Comcast has a new number: 713-637-5421. Joe Garofalo Roofing has relocated to 6201 W. 34th St., Ste. A, Houston 77092.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE HAA has selected our lyceum class for 2014. Congratulations to our nine candidates: Blanca Anderson, CAPS, Asset Plus Marivel Bownds, CAS, For Rent Media Solutions Brandon Coleman, NALP, CAM, Central Management James Gregory, CAS, Pavecon Ltd. Debra Knight, CAS, For Rent Media Solutions Karen Nelsen, CAM, Riverstone Residential Martha Matula, CAPS, WRH Realty Services Carlos Neto, Auburn Regal LLC Mark Park, CAS, AAA Plumbers For more information or to apply for the 2015 class, visit

Send your news to and let us spread the good word!

PropNews Feb14 pg 66,67_Layout 1 1/21/14 11:01 AM Page 2






Christie Sandlin is now a regional manager with Alliance Communities. Tiffany Rice Rose is now an account executive with Apartment Guide (Rent Path). Howard Franklin, general manager of ThermaPure Texas, has been named a finalist for the Texas Pest Control Association Lone Star Pest Control Professional of the Year. Robert Cross is now the Houston regional supervisor for Spectrum Realty Group. Chris Morgan has joined Waste Connections of Texas as an account manager. Crystal Jackson has joined the Gaia Property Management team. Matthew Nunn has joined the sales team with Camp Construction Services. Andrew Blumberg has joined the sales team at Appliance Warehouse of America. Shelly Shea is now an account executive with Ferguson Enterprises. Tara Stillwell is now an account executive with Apartment Guide. Former HAA board member Maitri Johnson has launched Property Management Intelligence, or PM-Intel, a consulting firm. She presented the Fair Housing seminar for HAA in November.

IN THE COMMUNITY In December, 100 Asset Plus employees spent a day brightening the Star of Hope Transitional Living Center, applying a fresh coat of paint to the dorm-style hallways that house single homeless women and their children. Sherwin Williams and Home Depot donated paint and supplies. To learn more about Star of Hope visit their website,




Maintenance Mania pg 68,69_11-13_04_0601_BookstaffH 1/21/14 11:02 AM Page 1

2014! r o f n catio

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BBVA s as p m o C ! m u i d a St 0 Texas Ave.

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Thursday, April 10

Maintenance Skill Competition participants will compete in the following event categories (those who wish to compete for the national title must compete in all events): • Water Heater Installation • Faucet Installation • Dual Flush Toilet Conversion • Icemaker Installation • Fire & Carbon Monoxide Safety Installation • Key Control Deadbolt Test • Ceiling Fan Installation • Racecar Competition on two tracks. (Pinewood Derby-style; wheels provided by HAA: pick up at the HAA office)

Register online today at




Maintenance Mania pg 68,69_11-13_04_0601_BookstaffH 1/21/14 11:02 AM Page 2

There are three types of people in the world: Type 3 sits at their desks wondering what is going on. Type 2 looks around the room to watch when things happen. Type 1 MAKES IT HAPPEN!

Don’t Miss the Apartment All Stars!

Which one are you? If you and your team are Type 1, you are hungry for new information and techniques to succeed. Following what other people do will never be good enough for you. Type 1 people want to create and blaze a trail that others follow. They want inspiration! That is why we started the Apartment All Stars 12 years ago. This event is one-of-a-kind, featuring three nationals speakers on one stage! Each presentation is researched and ready to give you brand new information to help you and your team reach your highest level of success. The Apartment All Stars officially declare 2014 the Year of the Team. We invite you to bring the entire team to this event, and we promise there is something for everyone. You and your property will reach peak productivity when you work together and are sharing the same goals. We have designed this year’s program to inspire every member of your team. From marketing to management, social to service, we are packing three hours with non-stop information. Attend this event in 2014 and receive a 40-page handout complete with articles, tips, resources and trends from Lisa Trosien, Pete Regules, Jackie Ramstedt, Kate Good, Toni Blake, Don Sanders, Alexandra Jackiw and Mindy Williams. This is a valuable publication you will not want to leave in the backseat of your car! The Apartment All Stars will load you up with information on the following topics: • Making marketing work with the smartphone shopper • Lease any apartment at any price • Closing techniques for a competitive market • Smart Facebook and Twitter techniques to build a resident audience • How to raise rents … again! • Communicate with coworkers and residents at the highest level • The ever-popular Idea Factory where the All Stars share 20 tips in 22 minutes

Fees Apartment All Stars “Double Header” Ticket: $75 (including All Stars, Lunch, admission to Maintenance Mania competition as spectator and after party)

Maintenance Mania Competitor: $55 (Entry fee for competition, lunch and after party)

Maintenance Mania Spectator: $25 (Access to competition event as spectator and after party)

Maintenance Mania Schedule 8:30 a.m. – All Stars Registration and Continental Breakfast 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Apartment All Stars Program: Noon to 2 p.m. – Registration and Practice for Maintenance Mania Competitors 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. – Lunch for All Attendees 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Maintenance Mania Competition 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Medals Ceremony and After Party

Register online today at




HAA Resources pgs 70_Member Benefits pg 70, 72 1/21/14 8:50 AM Page 1


Information for making the most of your

Standard Lease Contracts, Forms, Books and Mailing Data* HAA Owner Members can access the most comprehensive lease available in the industry, along with more than 30 different forms. Also available to members is the TAA Redbook, new for 2014, containing state and federal statutes and governmental rules that affect all rental housing in Texas. Supplier Members can purchase electronic mail lists. For more information, contact Form Sales at 713-595-0317, email or order online at Legislative Information Continual updates that keep our members apprised of pending legislation. Staff members are available to answer questions about the state and federal laws and city ordinances. Contact the Government Affairs Department at 713-595-0303 or 713-595-0302 or email Resident Relations Department and Helplines Free assistance to all member apartment personnel who have questions or need advice when dealing with residents. Community service for residents to help resolve misunderstandings concerning the lease, application and security deposits. For assistance, contact Resident Relations at 713-595-0300 or email Surveys/Statistical Data* An annual salary survey is downloadable from the HAA Web site and available only to members. A leasing and occupancy survey is published twice a year in ABODE magazine for spring and fall. Education Programs* From entry-level leasing and sales technique, to executive-level training in human resources and marketing, there is truly something for every multi-family professional through the Education Department. Ranging from three hours to six months in duration, training programs are available throughout the year and cover every discipline. Additionally, the six designation programs from the National Apartment Association are also offered for those professionals looking to set themselves apart in a competitive industry, including both owner and supplier members. Education grants are also available for certain programs. For more information, contact the Education and Meetings Department at 713-595-0319 or 713-595-0314, email, or register for programs online at Committees & Clubs Members volunteer to work side by side with industry peers in more than 20 activities that help the association accomplish its goals and objectives. Pictures of volunteers are featured in ABODE magazine every month. For more information, contact Member Services at 713-595-0322 or email ABODE Magazine HAA’s premier monthly publication – 80 pages of interesting, informative articles from industry insiders covering rental housing trends and tips to help reduce the expense of day-to-day operations. Advertising in ABODE will give suppliers the consistent exposure to the Houston multifamily housing market and reinforce the efforts of sales people. Writing an article can show expertise in your field. For more information on advertising, contact Supplier Services at 713-595-0316 or email


To find out more about writing for ABODE or to send in property update or news, contact the Communications Department at 713-595-0333, 713-595-0334 or e-mail Directory & Buyer’s Guide An annual listing of all member owner/management companies, properties and companies that supply products and services to the rental housing industry is available to HAA members only. One copy is mailed to each member, including each property, in January. Supplier members receive one alphabetical and two products and service categorical listings, with more available for a small fee. Display advertising space in print and on, HAA’s online buyer’s guide, is also available for purchase. The deadline to advertise or be listed in the 2015 Directory is October 1, 2014. For more information on the 2015 book, contact Supplier Services at 713-595-0316 or email Education Conference & Expo* Suppliers can market their companies at this annual event with more than 275 exhibitor booths and 4,000 potential clients. The show is free to all apartment community personnel and will be held at the Reliant Center. The next show is scheduled for May 15, 2014. For more information on the 2014 Expo, contact Supplier Services at 713-595-0316 or email Sponsorships* Suppliers: Have your company name promoted by sponsoring an event. More than 120 events are up for auction twice a year allowing you the opportunity to target specific property management personnel. Auctions are held in January and June. For more information, contact Supplier Services at 713-595-0316 or email HAA Online Online form sales, event calendar and registration and job listings provide members with a direct connection to HAA services. All member company website addresses have hyperlinks where permission has been granted. This offer is free to all members. For more information, contact the IT Department at 713-595-0300 or email Rental Credit Reporting Service (RCR)* Powered by CoreLogic SafeRent. This is an optional service for an additional charge. RCR has partnered with CoreLogic SafeRent, the nation’s leading and most innovative provider of screening services, to expand its suite of resident screening services currently available as an exclusive HAA membership benefit. RCR partnered with CoreLogic SafeRent to provide leasing staff more screening resources to make consistent, accurate, and Fair Housing compliant leasing decisions. Local rental history (including evictions, skips and move-in and move-out data), nationwide rental history and landlord-tenant records, broader criminal data and retail credit reports are available in a quick and easy-to-use web-based application with instantly delivered results. For more information, contact Rental Credit Reporting at 713-595-0329, 713-595-0330 or email

*These benefits are in addition to your membership fee.

The Houston Apartment Association is the largest local apartment association in the U.S., representing more than 1,500 companies. We represent 2,650 apartment communities with more than 538,000 units – 90 percent of the Greater Houston market. Exposure is the key to your business success in HAA. Your membership is only the first step. After joining, take the next step and become involved. In time, you will see results. 70



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LAW, continued from Page 12

The motion for relief from automatic stay can only be filed once the resident commits a post-petition default under the lease. If the resident filed bankruptcy on February 15 and rent is due on or before the first day of each month, the resident would not be in post-petition default until March 2. Consequently, there would be an inherent delay in the process depending on when the bankruptcy petition was filed. The second period of delay is due to the requirement to give creditors notice before the motion can be heard. Creditors are required to be given at least 21 days’ notice of the motion. The third delay period is with respect to how long it takes for the court to schedule the hearing. This will depend upon the particular court’s docket; however, motions for relief can usually be heard within one to two weeks after the required 21-day notice period to creditors has expired. The process may take one to two court hearings, depending on the judge. The final period of delay is after the court signs the motion. The bankruptcy rules provide that an order granting a motion for

If you take action against a resident in bankruptcy without first lifting the automatic stay, it is a violation of federal law. relief from an automatic stay is stayed (the stay will remain in effect) until the expiration of 14 days after the entry of the order, unless a court orders otherwise.

CAN A RESIDENT PREVENT THE STAY FROM BEING LIFTED? Yes. The resident must remain current on the post-petition rent and provide for a plan to repay the pre-petition default, although how the pre-petition default is repaid depends on the type of bankruptcy filed.

CAN A RESIDENT AGREE TO MOVE OUT AFTER FILING BANKRUPTCY? Yes. One of the best ways to resolve the stay requirement is to agree with the resident or the resident’s attorney that the stay should be lifted or conditioned. If a motion for relief from the stay is agreed, you may be able to avoid the 14-day delay period after the motion is signed by the court. Often, by agreement, you can get what you want (possession of the unit) in a less expensive and more expeditious manner.

WHAT IF AN OWNER VIOLATES THE AUTOMATIC STAY PROVISIONS? The owner does not want to violate the automatic stay provisions. If you take action against a resident in bankruptcy without first lifting the automatic stay, it is a violation of federal bankruptcy law. Bankruptcy judges usually consider it to be a serious violation of the bankruptcy law if an automatic stay provision is ignored. Often, an intentional violation of the stay provisions results in monetary penalties. Penalties are at the judge’s discretion, but have ranged from $1,000 to $10,000, depending upon the severity of the owner’s conduct. Obviously, you don’t want to be in a situation where you end up owing money to a resident who is in default of their lease because he or she hasn’t paid rent. Having a resident who owes you money file bankruptcy can be a frustrating experience. However, the appropriate steps must be taken in order to avoid unnecessary problems and additional expense.




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Retreat “On Site with ABODE” features a randomly selected member property each month. Property: Camden Vanderbilt Owner/Management: Camden Location: 7171 Buffalo Speedway, between Holcombe and Braeswood, just a few blocks west of the Texas Medical Center Units: 894 Built: 1996, redeveloped in 2007 Website: Interesting features: Located between the Texas Medical Center and West University Place, Camden Vanderbilt provides a retreat for residents in the bustling area southwest of downtown. With resort-style pools, lakes and a walking trail, the property provides a park-like atmosphere in addition to modern, upgraded apartment homes. Indeed, the tall palm trees gracing the property’s two lakes are the only clue that Camden Vanderbilt has been welcoming residents for nearly two decades. The property is currently upgrading cabinetry and lighting in the kitchens and bathrooms of its nearly 900 one- and two-bedroom units, which feature 9-foot ceilings with crown molding, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, washers and dryers and walk-in closets outfitted with customized cabinetry and drawers. Other modern touches include Wi-Fi in common areas and a package receiving service, much appreciated by online shoppers. The property is Blue Star Certified as well. Sarah White, regional marketing director, joined the company last summer and says the upgrades have yielded dazzling results. “The apartments are just so customized and modern and beautiful. The property has all the features of a new development, plus mature landscaping.” The property also hosts a number of social events for its residents, such as wine and cheese tastings and movie nights, as well as providing fitness classes, including yoga, Pilates and Zumba. Property manager Mary Magness says that residents particularly enjoy the fitness center, stocked with free weights, treadmills, elliptical machines and more – as well as soothing scenery. “The lakes on the interior of the community make a fantastic view,” she said. “A lot of our fitness equipment faces the lake, so it’s like you’re outside.” Because it is so close to the Texas Medical Center, Camden Vanderbilt attracts a lot of doctors and medical students, as well as patients. Its proximity to Rice and the University of Houston attracts those students also. Another draw is the abundance of dining, shopping, grocery and entertainment options within walking distance. “You can really be a pedestrian at Camden Vanderbilt,” said White. “Everything’s right there – you can walk to grocery stores, the Medical Center, Reliant.” Story by RACHEL ZOCH, HAA Staff Photos by Hugh Hargrove/courtesy of Camden Vanderbilt




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Don’t miss out on nominatingTyour star property! T






Nominate the best of the best for the HAA Honors Property Awards!




16 Property Category Awards will be presented: • Two awards for New Development (2011-2013) – Garden-Style and Mid/High Rise • Four awards for 150 units or fewer: Built before 1980, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2011 • Four awards for 151 to 300 units: Built before 1980, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2011 • Four awards for 301 units or more: Built before 1980, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2011 • Two awards for Green Community of the Year: Best Design, Best Community Service • Plus the Grand Prize Community of the Year Award, chosen from the 16 category winners.

For nomination forms and more information, including category breakdowns and award criteria, log on at

Hurry! The DEADLINE for property award nominations is Friday, March 21.


Then it’s time to nominate Tyour star people!









ach year, HAA selects the top industry professional in each of 13 categories from nominations made by management company executives, supervisors, coworkers, vendors and friends. Any HAA member can nominate a deserving industry professional. The nomination process is a simple one – go to the online nomination forms on the HAA website at and fill out the information requested. You can also contact the HAA Membership Department directly at 713-595-0322 for details. All of the nominees and winners will be recognized at the Honors Awards ceremony in June, with photos to be published in the ABODE magazine. The deadline for nominations is in April. See for details. Owner/Management Executive of the Year

Portfolio Supervisor of the Year

On-site Manager of the Year (in three categories)

Independent Owner of the Year

Marketing/Training Director of the Year

Assistant On-site Manager of the Year

Supplier of the Year

Administrative Support Staff of the Year

Leasing Consultant of the Year

Maintenance Supervisor of the Year (in two categories) Maintenance Technician of the Year

Ad index pg 74_Ad Index pg 74 1/21/14 11:06 AM Page 1



A/C Supplies & Parts

General Contractors

Marketing Consultants & Services

Century A/C Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 281-530-2859 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Camp Construction Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 713-413-2267 . . . . . . . . .

ScentLinq USA LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 832-202-6900 . . . . . . . . . .

Advertising – Specialties

Cotton Commercial USA Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 877-511-2962 . . . . . . . . . . .

Plumbing Contractors

On Hold USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 800-755-4142 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Crestmark Construction Services . . . . . . . . . . . .29 713-426-6161 .

AAA Plumbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 713-462-4753 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Carpet Cleaning – Equipment & Supply

MultiFamily Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 713-266-9100

Pool Furniture – Repair & Restoration

Namco Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 800-634-5816 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

RENCON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Inside Back Cover 713-666-3636 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Texacraft TropicCraft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 800-231-9790 . . . . . . . . . .

Carpet Installation

Tuttle Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 713-983-8422 . . . . . . . .

Resident Screening Service

Dixie Carpet Installations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63 281-261-6334 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Glass – Plate, Window, Etc.

CoreLogic SafeRent . . . . . . . . . . .Inside Front Cover 888-297-8821 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Rasa Floors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Back Cover 713-660-7777 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ameristar Screen and Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33, 67 713-683-6767 . . . . . . . . . . . .


Collection Agencies


Perfect Surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 713-952-0202 . . . . . . . . . .

Alexander-Rose Associates Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 713-644-4441 . . . . . . . . . . .

Harco Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 713-681-2500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Temporary Personnel

Certified Recovery Systems Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 713-464-8219 . . . . . . . . . .

Landscape Contractors

BG Staffing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 713-781-8367 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Electric Contractors

Outdoor Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 713-955-0990 . . . . . . . .

Trash Hauling

Affordable Quality Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 713-695-5992 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Texscape Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 281-846-3779 . . . . . . . . . .

Republic Waste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 281-541-0279 . . . . . . . . . .

Brandt Electrical Services Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 281-693-3383 . . . . . . . . . . .

Laundry Equipment & Supplies

Waste Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 713-354-5230 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Foundation Contractors

Scott Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 713-686-7268 . . . . . . . . . .

HAA Products & Services

Foundation Specialists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 832-767-1115 . . . . . . . . . . . .

Locks & Locksmiths

Jobline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 713-595-0300 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Gates & Gate-Operating Devices

CKI Wholesale Lock Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 713-462-0704 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Rental Credit Reporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 713-595-0330 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Meyer Smith Inc. (Houston Gate) . . . . . . . . . . . .16 713-862-7339 . . . . . . . . . . . .



AAA Plumbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 713-462-4753 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cotton Commercial USA Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 877-511-2962 . . . . . . . . . . .

Perfect Surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 713-952-0202 . . . . . . . . . .

Affordable Quality Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 713-695-5992 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Crestmark Construction Services . . . . . . . . . . . .29 713-426-6161 .

Rasa Floors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Back Cover 713-660-7777 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alexander-Rose Associates Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 713-644-4441 . . . . . . . . . . .

Dixie Carpet Installations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63 281-261-6334 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

RENCON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Inside Back Cover 713-666-3636 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ameristar Screen and Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33, 67 713-683-6767 . . . . . . . . . . . .

Foundation Specialists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 832-767-1115 . . . . . . . . . . . .

Rental Credit Reporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 713-595-0330 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

BG Staffing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 713-781-8367 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Harco Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 713-681-2500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Republic Waste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 281-541-0279 . . . . . . . . . .

Brandt Electrical Services Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 281-693-3383 . . . . . . . . . . .

Jobline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 713-595-0300 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ScentLinq USA LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 832-202-6900 . . . . . . . . . .

CKI Wholesale Lock Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 713-462-0704 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Meyer Smith Inc. (Houston Gate) . . . . . . . . . . . .16 713-862-7339 . . . . . . . . . . . .

Scott Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 713-686-7268 . . . . . . . . . .

Camp Construction Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 713-413-2267 . . . . . . . . .

MultiFamily Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 713-266-9100

Texacraft TropicCraft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 800-231-9790 . . . . . . . . . .

Century A/C Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 281-530-2859 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Namco Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 800-634-5816 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Texscape Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 281-846-3779 . . . . . . . . . .

Certified Recovery Systems Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 713-464-8219 . . . . . . . . . .

On Hold USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 800-755-4142 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuttle Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 713-983-8422 . . . . . . . .

CoreLogic SafeRent . . . . . . . . . . .Inside Front Cover 888-297-8821 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Outdoor Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 713-955-0990 . . . . . . . .

Waste Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 713-354-5230 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Want to see current and previous issues of ABODE online? Go to 74



Marketline pg 75_Layout 1 1/21/14 11:06 AM Page 1



BRUCE McCLENNY, President, Apartment Data Services

HOUSTON 41 submarkets, and the ranking is based on the best combination of rental rate growth and absorption over the past three months. The third table distributes and analyzes concessions (specials) by classification. Concessions generally are represented by three types of specials: move-in, months free or floor plans. The effect of these specials is captured and prorated over a lease term to arrive at a percentage reduction in market or street rents.


he first table below displays a snapshot of the current market conditions. The graph displays the overall occupancy and effective rental rates over the past 24 months. These statistics are derived from a continuous survey of all apartment communities in the Houston region. The effective rental rates are the calculated net of concessions and utility adjustments. The second table lists the five hottest submarkets in the Greater Houston area. There are a total of

History of Effective Rental Rate & Occupancy for All Units

90.0 –

Submarket Heights Far East Tomball/Far Northwest Galleria Brookhollow

• •

– 90.0

– 89.0

– 88.0

– 87.0

% of Market Absorbed 1.5% 0.9% 2.2% 0.9% 0.3%

Annualized Rental Rate Growth % 9.3% 12.6% 4.9% 4.4% 9.6%

Dec 13

Nov 13

Oct 13

Sep 13

Aug 13

Jul 13

Apr 13

May 13

Jan 13

Feb 13

Dec 12

Oct 12

Nov 12

Sep 12

Aug 12

Jul 12

– 86.0

HOTTEST SUBMARKETS Over the Past Three Months Rank 1 2 3 4 5

Jun 12

Jan 12

May 12

88.0 –

Proposed Construction: 70 communities 20,820 units

Feb 12

Under Construction: 67 communities 17,614 units

Apr 12

Recently Opened (12 months): 60 communities 16,365 units

92.0 –

Occupancy (%)

Operating Supply: 2,512 communities 574,299 units

Mar 12

Past 12 Months: 6.6% rental rate growth 16,516 units absorbed

94.0 –

Mar 13

90.5% $857/mo. 98.1¢/sq.ft./mo. 874 sq.ft.

Rental Rate (¢/sq.ft./mo.)

Occupancy: Price: Rental Rate: Size:

Jun 13


• • • • • •


Total Units w/Concessions 200,808 22,442 33,790 103,852 40,724

% of Total Units 35% 26% 20% 42% 56%

Average Special -4.9% -5.4% -4.0% -5.2% -5.1%

Citywide Effect -1.6% -1.5% -0.7% -2.0% -2.8%

One Month Free = -8.33%




Occupancy: Price: Rental Rate: Size:

Occupancy: Price: Rental Rate: Size:

Occupancy: Price: Rental Rate: Size:

92.1% $848/mo. 97.8¢/sq.ft./mo. 867 sq.ft.

89.8% $800/mo. 95.0¢/sq.ft./mo. 842 sq.ft.

91.7% $1,010/mo. 116.4¢/sq.ft./mo. 868 sq.ft.

Past 12 Months: 5.0% rental rate growth 14,517 units absorbed

Past 12 Months: 3.7% rental rate growth 3,498 units absorbed

Past 12 Months: 8.0% rental rate growth 4,970 units absorbed

Operating Supply: 2,694 communities 612,712 units

Operating Supply: 771 communities 158,837 units

Operating Supply: 775 communities 175,648 units

Apartment Data Services Inc. has been providing apartment data and marketing products since 1986. ADS Online covers Texas’ four largest metro areas and provides real-time access for property specific information, market surveys and historic submarket data for more than 1.3 million apartment units. For more information, contact McClenny at 800-595-8730. © 2014 Apartment Data Services Inc.




ACES/Backpage pg 58,59,76_Layout 1 1/21/14 10:54 AM Page 3

BACK PAGE Many thanks to these individuals, properties and companies who donated their time, gifts and/or cash for the ACES Angels Adopt A Family program. For photos and more information on this great program, see Pages 58 and 59.

AAA Plumbers Avana Woodridge, Greystar Cathy Barazi, Winther Investments Howard Bookstaff, Hoover Slovacek Jill Bounds, Abbey Residential Kyle Brown, Milestone Management Camp Construction Services Connie Castello, Centra Partners Stephanie Clark, Allen Harrison Co. Paula Daniels, Greystone Erin Edwards, Houston Waste Solutions Kevin and Charlene Fenn, Pavecon FSI Construction Inc. Nicole Gabaldon, Francis Property Management Kacey Gibson, Asset Plus Nancy Gilman, Francis Property Management Jana Gragg, Landmark Real Estate Management Stephanie Graves, Asset Plus Rita Greif, Capstone HAA Staff Alison Hall, Camden Shanna Hemperly, Lincoln Property Co. Susan Hinkley

Deborah Holcombe, Milestone Management David Jones, Southhampton Management Lisa Jones, Francis Property Management Bonnie Jost, The Finger Co. Judge Hilary Green Norma Ledbetter, HD Supply Natalie Leskiw, Francis Property Management Laura Lestus, The Liberty Group Lori Lindley, Greystar Joey Lockhart, BluSky Restoration Carolina Lopez Darlene McCall, Francis Property Management Erin McCary, Valet Waste Cheryl McDaniel, Sunchase American Kristin McLaughlin, Criterion Brock Veronica Mier, US Residential Sidney Mitchell, Riverstone Residential Sandra Montemayor, Sentinel Real Estate Amanda Montgomery, Greystar Carlos Neto, Auburn Regal LLC Velissa Parmer, Mosaic Residential Erika Pierce, Celtic Realty Management Nicole Rankin, Milestone Management Wallace Reed, Francis Property Management Jackie Rhone, Greystar Sharon Robinson, Francis Property Management Beth Rohani, Ameritex Movers Robin Sample, Hettig Management Margaret Sangster, Milestone Management Rhonda Smith, Valet Waste Trey Stone, Guardian Equity Ginger Strange, First Communities Management Debbie Sulzer, Francis Property Management

Sumar Realty The Armstrong Family The Blevins Family The Deagen Family The Paneral Family Sal Thomas, Tarantino Reed and Suan Tinsley Paige Tooker, Francis Property Management Diane Totten, Camden Jarod Traile, Celtic Realty Management Kelly Treichel, Francis Property Management Starla Turnbo and the SMI Staff, SMI Realty Beth Van Winkle, Milestone Management Catherine Washington Jennifer Whiteman, Francis Property Management Shelley Zepeda, Francis Property Management Special Thanks: Beth Van Winkle, Milestone Dean O’Kelley, The Liberty Group Tracey Yoder, Riverstone Residential Velissa Parmer, Mosaic Reed and Suan Tinsley

ACES would like to encourage more member participation next year. We tried to help at least three families per center in 2013, and everyone who has joined in has been so grateful to be able to make a difference. Contact Kirsten Deagen at to add your name to the list of donors for the 2014 holiday season.

“Deck the Halls” brings Christmas to deserving residents Each year, a group of HAA member companies “Deck the Halls” for a deserving apartment family. This year, a family at Steeplecrest Apartments was chosen. The Rappleyeas are a family of four: Conrad, Karen, Maximus and Leonidas. Maximus was born with a heart condition and has had two open heart surgeries with more to come. These and other procedures have caused a major financial strain on the family, but regardless of all their difficulties, both Conrad and Karen volunteer at Children’s Hospital every year at Christmas. Maximus’ favorite toy is his Woody doll from Toy Story. This doll has comforted him through all his surgeries so his room was decorated using Woody and the other characters from the movie. With the support and donations from Purdy Designs LLC, For Rent Media Solutions, Prism Electric, Meyer Smith, The Great Outdoors, RENCON, Camp Construction Services, DNM, DirecSupply, AYS Capital and Renovations, KMS, AAA Plumbers and Valet Waste, along with several private donations, more than $8,000 was raised for the Rappleyea family.

ONLINE STATISTICS for the Houston Apartment Association Website and Social Media for December Total Visits . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13,039 Visitors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8,567 Most Visited Pages: 1. Jobline Board 2. Rental Credit Reporting 3. Property Directory




HAA Jobline Powered by Job Target Ad Replies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,457 Job postings for the month . . . .117 Resume postings . . . . . . . . . . . .343 Job Seeker Signups . . . . . . . . . .106

Twitter @HAAOnline Followers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3,732 Linkedin Houston Apartment Association Group Followers . . . . . . . . . . .1,008

Facebook Houston Apartment Association Group members . . . . . . . . . . .1,313 ABODE Fan Page Likes . . . . . . . . . . . . . .992

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Houston Apartment Association 4810 Westway Park Blvd. Houston, Texas 77041

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ABODE February 2014  
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