The interviews for Tribute Awards moved very quickly during the months of January and February. Finalists had the opportunity to share their stories with colleagues after their judging panels in a taped video with the AMA team to highlight their work and Tributes experience. These videos are available online.
For weeks, the AMA Tribute Award judges meet with hundreds of finalists to learn more about how these professionals are raising the bar in their communities through their work on property, with prospects and with residents. It can be a study in best practices and in leadership. The judges learn more about how people are building strong teams and delivering financial results for their companies.
The Tribute Awards honor the work of individuals and of teams, in the Valley and around ArizonaIt also recognizes the work of those closest to the residents served, professionals on the housekeeping and maintenance teams. Categories to thank the industry’s top partners and volunteers include many familiar names who dedicate their time to helping build the apartment sector and invest back into the nonprofit community to support families in need around the state. These partners stand as leaders for the future of the industry.
The Developer’s Awards include categories for Garden Style communities and Mid/Low-Rise developments. Affordable and renovated communities have their own categories. These properties model the best in planning and livability. For the development categories, the judges make personal visits to the properties to see what makes them unique and successful in the marketplace.
This prestigious awards program brings together leading companies in the multifamily sector for a large-scale celebration in May. More than 1,200 professionals attend the annual gala where teams can enjoy their status as honorees and finalists.
TRIBUTE AWARD FINALISTS
Advocating to impact our legislative future
By Amy Smith Montoya, AMA Board Chair, Bella Investments
This year’s National Apartment Association’s Advocate conference focused on some of the key issues impacting our sector at the local and national levels. Housing, affordability, cybersecurity, insurance and infrastructure impact every company involved with the AMA.
We are fortunate to have a powerful lobbying team at the national level, but our local voices – the meetings with our representatives where we can share impactful stories from the business owners’ perspective - are critical to the success and influence of that voice.
These visits help us build relationships and educate our policymakers and their staffs about key issues. I hope more of us will engage locally and nationally.
Advancing technology to improve our communication future
This month, we are migrating our Apartment News magazine into a digital platform. Your Board has prioritized technology use as a way to build stronger connections to our members. This move to a digital publication will allow us to share more content with more users. Now every member, and their teams, can access the publication and sign up for direct delivery. Over time, it will also allow more of our members to share their news, business innovations and leadership ideas, as well as connect to the AMA’s programs!
Celebrating leaders who take us into the future
This issue focuses on the Tribute Award finalists for 2018. We will celebrate all the nominees at our upcoming Tributes dinner. Tributes takes our in-house recognition programs to the next level by sharing the success of our team members with the association as a whole. If you have a finalist included in this year’s honorees, be sure to share this edition with the rest of your company and start celebrating leadership at your company today!
By Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, AMA Interim President/CEO
Congratulations to all our 2018 AMA Tribute Award Finalists. We can’t wait to celebrate you and all the nominees at the Annual Tribute Award dinner on Friday, May 11. It is going to be an outstanding evening honoring the best in the industry.
Our Arizona NAA delegates were in Washington, DC last month meeting with members of congress and learning about the possible threats to the industry. It is always a great reminder of the impact the government can have on our industry and why we must show our strength in numbers. It was wonderful seeing the hundreds apartment industry professionals from all over the United States working in a single united voice in support of our industry. If you have not attended the NAA Advocate conference, it is an event everyone should attend at least once in their apartment career.
As you will notice in the Legislative Update Governor Doug Ducey recently signed our AMA bill (SB1376 – Abandoned Personal Property). This was a team effort nine months in the making. This past summer AMA members formed a task force to review the issue of abandoned personal property including pets. After several meetings the task force proposed changes to the Government Affairs Committee and the AMA Board of Directors. We were fortunate to secure Senator and Majority Whip Gail Griffin as our bill sponsor. Three amazing AMA members—Mary Schramm, Christopher Walker and Mark Zinman—all testified in support of the bill. Mary even appeared on the local news and was quoted in the newspaper! Thank you for Mary, Chris and Mark for your time and energy to help pass this critical legislation.
AMC Explores the High Life at The TOMSCOT Apartments
By Adam Greco, AMC Chair
The striking black and white exterior, with orange accents, give an idea of the level of sophistication and luxury behind the walls of The TOMSCOT. The highly anticipated community opened in August of 2016 in the popular Old Town Scottsdale area, near ASU’s Sky Song, on Scottsdale Road. The community, owned and developed by Connell Real Estate and Development, and managed by Greystar Real Estate Partners (Greystar), offers 278 apartment homes in the four-story, A+ midrise.
The TOMSCOT lives more like a Scottsdale resort, than a multifamily community. Towel Service is offered for residents enjoying the two sparkling resort-style pools (heated and chilled), jacuzzi, and private cabanas. There’s plenty of places to relax in wave loungers, under umbrellas or to gather around the fire pits.
Shared bike services are especially popular in this part of the city, but for residents who want to work out at home, there are fitness classes in their 2-story fitness center featuring Peloton bikes. The 10-bike spin room and yoga room also draw many residents into the fitness center. The rock wall prepares residents for hikes on Camelback and beyond. Novices and pros alike can hone their golf skills with the golf simulator. For those looking for something more intense, there’s a mixed martial arts room and boxing areas.
Designed for connections, there’s a bar lounge, and business center, along with a full-size kitchen in the Club Room for special events. Four-legged friends are most welcome at The TOMSCOT. In fact, the community includes a dog park, an agility course and a grooming station. The community offers live/work floor plans for entrepreneurs and tele-commuters.
Nearly 90 AMA members attended the open house meeting at The TOMSCOT and enjoyed a hosted bar and catering. Nearly half of the attendees of this meeting were either first time AMC visitors or new members.
Kaysie Kiefer, Community Manager, spoke to the members about the many amenities the community has to offer and supplied private tours to guests in attendance. She was joined by team members Sarah O'Daniel, Regional Property Manager, and Jeanette Johnson, Regional Property Manager, who gave an overview on Greystar’s operations nationwide and their global expansion with development and ownership interests in the United States, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Greystar’s portfolio includes more than 435,000 units in the US. In 2017, the company added 18 properties to its Arizona portfolio, which now includes 81 communities with 22,474 units under management.
Celebrating their 25th year, they are currently the largest multifamily management company in the nation. In 2017, Greystar completed the largest industry transaction with the $4.4 billion acquisition of Monogram Residential Trust.
Rod Wilson, Regional Maintenance Manager, expressed his gratitude for the company’s vendor partners and credited them with their current success. He also spoke on the importance of relationships and how the AMA associate members are the key component of providing goods and services.
Greystar continues to give back to the community in a variety of ways. Stephanie Schrier-Proud, Management Support Administrator, and Meaghan Ferguson, Management Coordinator, shared news about the successful Greystar Desert Open, which raised over $87,000 to benefit Camp Hope and the PTSD Foundation of America. Thanks to Stacey Hogue, Director of Real Estate for Greystar, and her entire team for their hosting of this very special evening.
Gift cards were awarded to trivia winners throughout the evening. The winner of the lunch raffle was Rob Bivens from Symmons, and he will enjoy a lunch with Dave Vanek, Director of Construction and Renovation at Greystar. The proceeds of the raffle benefit the Julie Hurst Scholarship Fund.
Adam Greco is the director of commercial sales with Burns Pest Elimination. He can be reached at (602) 971-4782 and email@example.com.
Q&A with Denise M. Holliday
The attorneys at Hull, Holliday and Holliday, PLC can be reached at 602-230-0088.
Q: I’m on a lease for an apartment. I informed management that I was looking for a house to buy and may have to break the lease if I found one before the lease end. They informed me that I was getting a $136/month discount and if I broke my lease, they would charge me $136 more per month for the entire length of the lease, plus another $1,230 for an early termination fee.
I’ve always paid my rent early and wondered if these charges are unreasonable because of my being a good renter. It seems pretty high to me.
A: The $136 monthly discount is considered a rental concession. Both rental concessions and early termination fees are recoverable as damages should you prematurely terminate your lease. These fees should be in writing in order to be enforceable. Arizona case law holds that these early termination damages are enforceable only in an amount that is reasonable in light of anticipated or actual loss caused by the breach. The law also requires a landlord a reasonable effort to mitigate its damages.
Landlords can bring a civil lawsuit after a resident prematurely vacates the apartment under A.R.S. § 33-1373. The suit is for all rents owed until the lease expires or management re-rents the unit. Included in this are any concessions, lease break fees and property damages beyond normal wear and tear.
As long as the apartment is not re-rented, you remain liable for the term of the lease.
Q: I am a 72-year old senior living in an apartment complex. I cannot afford an assisted living facility. What are my options for asking this complex for any concessions for senior renters? Rents continue to go up every year, but our Social Security income and some pensions don’t. I am aware of the LITHC (Low-Income Housing Tax Credit) benefit and would like a better understanding of it. Can I request that benefit with the complex that I am currently in?
A: Many people find that a change in their personal circumstances makes their current living situation no longer feasible. Unfortunately, most of those circumstances do not constitute legal grounds to terminate or modify the lease. A landlord is not required to provide a rental discount to some of the residents based upon their finances. Additionally, to treat some residents differently simply based on their financial issues may violate fair housing laws. If a tenant finds themselves in a position where they can’t afford their rent, they may want to investigate the affordable housing options in their community. Certain properties offer or accept affordable housing programs; but there are substantial requirements involved and the traditional apartment community does not qualify for certain programs like the LIHTC tax credit program.
The views expressed here are generalized advice or information. Fact-specific questions should always be referred to legal counsel. Statements and opinions expressed in these legal columns are solely those of the author or authors. This advice does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Arizona Multihousing Association.
AMA bill on abandoned property signed into law
By Courtney Levinus & Jake Hinman
As far as excitement goes, the 2018 Legislative Session has not been a disappointment. At the time of our last update we knew about the State’s plans for investing in K-12 education, combatting the opioid crisis, and reducing prison recidivism rates. What we did not know was that Yuma Representative Don Shooter would be expelled from the House, Debbie Lesko would win the Republican Congressional Primary, and the Legislature would find itself in a tizzy over how to use increased state revenues.
As for AMA, we began the 2018 session with two primary policy goals: protecting the multi-housing industry from harmful regulations and preserving key development incentives for the industry. We believe that we are well on our way to achieving those goals.
This year we placed the majority our focus on two policy areas: The Landlord Tenant Act and Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET).
S.B. 1376: Landlord Tenant Act; Personal Property
We are pleased to report that the AMA’s proactive bill, SB1376, related to abadoned property, has been signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey and will become effective 90 days after the end of the session. Be on the lookout for a member guidance memo.
The bill modifies the Landlord Tenant Act in several ways:
The Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET) is a tax incentive agreement negotiated between a private party and a local government. It was established by the State of Arizona in 1996 as a way to stimulate development in commercial districts by temporarily replacing a building’s property tax with an excise tax. GPLET is levied on property that is owned by a city, town, county or stadium district and leased to a private entity. The tenant, or prime lessee, pays an excise tax based on size and use instead of property tax based on value.
The session kicked off with the introduction of three House bills that would have had a detrimental effect on GPLET. These bills triggered months of tough negotiations between Representative Vince Leach, the AMA, various other development stakeholders and the cities and towns.
After all of the long meetings and difficult phone calls we are happy to say that two bills are dead and an agreement has been reached on H.B.2126. Our amendment to H.B. 2126 will allow the bill reform GPLET while preserving it as the primary development incentive for the State of Arizona.
The bill has passed the full House and is now awaiting committee consideration in the Senate.
The AMA is also monitoring many other bills that have a direct or indirect impact on the apartment industry.
H2263: LANDLORD TENANT; SECURITY DEPOSITS
Summary: If a tenant does not dispute the deductions from a security deposit or the amount due and payable to the tenant within 45 days after termination of the tenancy, the amount due the tenant is final and any further claims are waived.
H2454: SEXUAL ASSAULT; RENTAL AGREEMENT TERMINATION
Summary: A tenant is permitted to terminate a rental agreement if the tenant provides to the landlord written notice that the tenant was the victim, in the tenant’s dwelling, of sexual assault.
HB2568: AFFORDABLE HOUSING TAX CREDIT
Summary: Establishes a credit against individual and corporate income taxes and insurance premium taxes for projects that qualify for the federal low-income housing tax credit and that are placed in service from and after June 30, 2019. The credit is equal to the amount of the federal low-income housing credit for the qualified project. To claim the credit, a taxpayer is required to apply to the Arizona Department of Housing and receive an eligibility statement. If the amount of the credit exceeds taxes due, the taxpayer may carry the unused amount forward for up to five consecutive taxable years.
HB2126: GOVERNMENT PROPERTY; ABATEMENT; SLUM; BLIGHT
Summary: For the purpose of statute allowing municipalities to abate taxes for government property improvements in a single central business district, the definition of “central business district” is modified to require the geographical area to be not larger than the greater of 2.1 percent of the total land area within the exterior boundaries of the municipality or 960 acres, instead of not larger than the greater of 5 percent of the total land area or 640 acres. Modifies the requirements for leases between a prime lessee and a government lessor to require the government lessor to determine that a public benefit to the state and the county or municipality in which the improvement is located will occur because one or more of a list of specified slum or blight-related circumstances exist.
Courtney LeVinus is a principal, and Jake Hinman leads legislative affairs, for Capitol Consulting. They can be reached at 602-712-1121.
Q&A WITH WILLIAM RAY, CSC SERVICEWORKS AREA SALES MANAGER
William Ray has been in the service industry for more than 17 years. He is a member of the AMA and actively participates in the Big Hearts and Golf committees.
Q: What type of advanced technology is your company introducing into the industry?
A: CSC ServiceWorks leads the laundry industry in technology and innovation. At CSC we continuously invest in technology making things easier for our clients and their residents. The goal is to increase efficiencies, resident satisfaction, and net operating income.
Over the years, we’ve developed a service request app and Virtual View technology that allows residents to check washer and dryer availability online and with web-enabled phones, provides hourly usage reports help residents plan the best time to do their laundry, offers notification when cycles are complete and detects machine failures to automatically request service.
CSC was first in with our Change Point technology, a revolutionary Internet based laundry payment and monitoring system, incorporating patented technology and proprietary features to ensure 100 percent revenue accountability, increased resident satisfaction, and more. We are continuing that innovation with our newest offering, CSC APP Pay. This technology is similar to Apple Pay or Google Wallet where a resident can simply pay for laundry using an app on their smartphone.
Q: What benefits does CSC offer that makes you a leader in the industry of laundry solutions?
A: CSC is the largest laundry solutions provider. With more than 3,000 employees supporting our clients and doing business across the United States, Canada and Europe, CSC is where clients need us to be; when we need to be there.
Our industry benefits by our ability to influence manufacturers, transfer best practices across industries, and support the associations that educate, and advocate for our industry.
We are focused on continued improvements like best in class Intelligent Pricing systems, leading technology and innovation (machine efficiencies, remote monitoring, and sustainable options), best in class security of revenues and client data protection, and our outstanding service. Continuously evolving innovations like centralized support models and certified training programs that have allowed for faster, quality service in our industry, new investments like dynamic routing will continue to put CSC at the front of service performance.
Q: What are communities that offer laundry services looking for? What are some of the benefits that residents see in commercial laundry services?
A: Laundry, in-home or in central room, is an amenity that residents look for in a competitive market like we have in Arizona.
Communities that offer laundry facilities are looking for the best possible amenity to attract and maintain residents. For some communities, this is the central laundry. These must be convenient. They must allow credit/debit card payment options, text messaging alerts, and virtual views of the laundry rooms.
Many newer communities are building laundry hookups in-home and the developers are including this amenity for their residents. Our contracts allow owners to deliver what their residents need, without the maintenance demands, additional capital or liability that can come with purchasing their own equipment.
Q: How will the Internet of Things and other technological advances change laundry services in multifamily communities?
A: If you look at what companies like Uber and NEST have done to their market with the introduction of technology and the internet of things, you get a sense of what technology and the internet will do for the laundry industry. CSC ServiceWorks is heavily invested in technology and will be the first in with any new technology offerings.
Q: How has your involvement with the AMA impacted your business?
A: My involvement with the AMA has provided connections within the market that allow me to better understand the industry; where it’s been, where we are now, and where it is going. The AMA is an invaluable resource for anyone in the multifamily industry.
Big Hearts Tucson held their Inaugural Rainbow Run on February 17. We had a great turnout to raise money for AMCF Tucson and had a fun time on top of it! The next Big Hearts event will be the Annual Kick Off Party on April 27 at Putney’s. Tickets are $20 each or sponsorship opportunities are available for $150 which includes 10 drink tickets. Contact Lauren for more information. And Save the Date for the annual Gaslight Theatre FUNdraiser on July 26!
Tucson members attended the Tucson Project S.A.F.E. Workshop in February to start brainstorming on this year’s events and learning tips and tricks to win the Best of Contest. Project S.A.F.E. season runs March 1-Aug. 31 and promotes Safety Awareness Family Education by bringing safety speakers to their residents in the form of fun resident events. This program is an excellent way to increase safety in your communities and bring residents and your community together.
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