A Year Without Lease Renewals?

Can you imagine the ability to take lease renewals off your long list of things to do? That is my challenge for the apartment industry. My personal recession recovery plan and if we all jump on board we just might save the world of apartment leasing from total meltdown.

The theory: For the next 12 months, we will be writing leases that will more than likely be loaded up with a rent decrease and in many markets, an up front concession. If we allow that lease to expire in the next 12 – 24 months we might just find ourselves having to do it again. Seems like the perfect reason to avoid expirations for the next two years.

How do we do this? Sell a longer term lease of 15 – 24 months. The plan benefits the owner because we can decrease turn costs or more bleeding economic vacancy loss. And for the renter, they are locked into a rental rate for a longer term. For most of my 21 year career, this has not been a great idea because we will miss the opportunity to grow rent. However, very few years presented enough of a rent increase to make the turnover costs worth it. Owners push rents in increase the value of the asset.

If we face the facts, very few markets will see much rent growth in the next 12 – 20 months. If we can stabilize and stop the burn we have a shot at improving by the end of 2011. All together now, take a breath and say STABILIZE. Lock in residents for longer terms and avoid having to offer your market rent and concessions to renewals. Hopefully with less vacancy you will reduce the concessions, supply will decrease and we will start to see rent increase before the next presidential election.