2 Ways to Pattern Your Patios After Your Brand Promise
As your most visible amenities, your properties’ patios and decks have the power to promote your brand promise — or break it. Here’s how to ensure a pattern of quality, safety and daily delight alfresco style.
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Spring’s warmth and joie de vivre is returning color to the Northern hemisphere — and your newly revived residents are itching to celebrate the season by spending long hours on your outdoor patios. Are your open-air amenities ready for action?
The plight of your patios lies at the intersection of landscape design, construction, seasonal maintenance and resident lifestyles. They serve as your 3- or even 4-season property centerpieces — setting the mood and supporting the spirit of your communities. To a high degree, they’re the most visible as well as the most vulnerable of your multifamily amenities.
Year-round exposure to the elements, subjection to all manner of resident behaviors, less-than-ideal design and/or shoddy construction work has the potential to create safety hazards, eyesores and extra labor for your teams. Keeping your outdoor gathering areas in tip-top shape really is no picnic (or barbecue).
To your residents and prospective new customers, a patio is worth a thousand words (whether well-maintained or not) and your brand promise is reflected in your attention to their design and upkeep. As NMHC’s Multifamily Disruption Report notes: “People today are looking at spaces not only as serving a function but also as providing an experience. And the apartment industry is beginning to get that.” So as warmer weather draws many of us out from our winter hibernation, it’s high time to check on your patios, decks and outdoor spaces for safety and quality — and evaluate the experiences they create.
Below we cover 2 ways you can achieve higher quality and safety compliance, and encourage respectful resident treatment of your patios and decks to foster maximum enjoyment and reduce labor for your onsite personnel.
See #1 for guidelines on how to level-up your property walks, so your common area patios and decks get properly inspected and maintained across your portfolio.
See #2 for tips on assessing and responding quickly to resident unit patio violations, so you can win the resident behavior “culture war” at your properties.
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"People today are looking at spaces not only as serving a function but also as providing an experience. And the apartment industry is beginning to get that."
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"Since implementing HappyCo, we’ve seen an almost 10% increase in the Quarterly Property Inspection scores over the last year — giving us confidence our properties are maintained at even higher levels of quality due to property staff paying more attention to details and to the more comprehensive inspection walks made possible by the HappyCo software."
Senior Regional Manager, GoldOller Real Estate Investments
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Compared to regulating resident behavior, you might think tackling drainage issues and wood rot is a relative breeze. It’s one thing to ensure you and your teams are doing what you can when it comes to landscaping, property conditions and safety, but it’s also critical to partner with residents and foster a sense of mutual respect and duty toward their personal patios, balconies or decks. Managing resident relations well helps you maintain fire code compliance, pest prevention, and aesthetic appeal, plus create a community of renters who have faith in your property manager to enforce your policies.
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"It’s also critical to partner with residents and foster a sense of mutual respect and duty toward their personal patios, balconies or decks. Managing resident relations well helps you maintain fire code compliance, pest prevention, and aesthetic appeal, plus create a community of renters who have faith in your property manager to enforce property policies."
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Each quarter and each year brings an opportunity to reevaluate and update your patio policies, but you also need to ensure your inspection and maintenance workflow reflects any important changes in order to be successful. With safety, quality, visual appeal and community order as your goals, you can task your inspectors to assess and issue patio violations to residents by documenting breaches with photo evidence on a mobile system, which will also give you the flexibility to update and dispatch forms instantly as you adjust patio violation policies.
Reports can be emailed immediately to the violating resident, complete with photos and comments, making the process of staff-resident communication quicker and quelling disputes. Doing so prevents abuse of your renter agreements and halts a culture of wrongly taking advantage of publicly visible unit patios, decks, and balconies at your properties.
Listen to and consider resident complaints when deciding on policy changes. And be open to finding common ground if the issue at hand doesn’t constitute a legal infraction or infringe on habitability. Showing your willingness to meet residents halfway can make your communities feel more welcoming.
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