Americans are moving en masse into apartment-style housing. According to Bloomberg, January ‘22 saw a historic high when it came to apartment occupancy rates. What’s more, many of these apartment blocks are now becoming part of more traditional US housing systems, such as housing associations (HOAs) and other forms of community living. This is creating a lot of work for building operators, but a number of opportunities, too. With so many people moving into these forms of accommodation, there will undoubtedly be horror stories from tenants living in poorly managed blocks; as such, well prepared building managers have a chance to really boost their reputation.
Understanding HOA needs
A housing association is there to help preserve the property value of the respective lots, and to also ensure that a community is built up to help property owners form connections. As such, building operators play a key role in ensuring that there is proper service and maintenance provided to all properties within the building, and ensuring that everybody within a HOA is treated equally and fairly – otherwise, the collective HOA has a greater level of power and influence to wield as opposed to single occupants. Indeed, a study published by Frontiers notes the benefits that building operators can experience by dealing with a centralized HOA; in independent property-centric systems, information flow can be slower, leading to repair issues and complaints from tenants.
Making long-term change
Just as dealing with a centralized HOA is effective in properly managing problems within the building, it can be beneficial in terms of managing through changes. If there is an upgrade to technology within the property required, whether that’s from an internal change needed for safety improvements, or from a suggestion from the HOA, there’s a central point to negotiate through and open a real dialogue. This is once again preferable to the minefield of communicating with many different parties, and can benefit the stress levels of the building operator.
This is also where your reputation as a building operator can flourish. Certain communal living technologies, such as district heating, are being promoted by the US Energy Information Administration as a solution to rising fuel prices and the threat of climate change. However, they are not easy to install, and for a communal building, will require significant upheaval and the consent of every party in the building. A progressively minded building manager, in tandem with the HOA and the developer, can start looking to implement these innovations in a manner that can benefit all parties. That’s something to stake a reputation on, and will help building operators to get ahead reputationally at a time when there’s a lot of competition.
Take advantage of greater apartment occupancy and the greater number of HOAs cropping up to explore new ways of working. There are reputational gains to be made; new communities to provide service to and explore higher tech forms of building maintenance with.
This article was authored and contributed by Jackie Edwards. Now working as a writer, Jackie Edwards started her career in Environmental Health in the Public Sector, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a strong interest in ecology, wildlife and conservation.