IREM Tackles Millennials, Medical Marijuana, and Mid-term Elections
Let’s face it, property managers—we’ve got a complex world ahead of us, from Gen Y changing the way we work to political plays impacting how our buildings operate. The Institute of Real Estate Management gathered top experts to help members wade through the intricacies at its recent three-day Fall Leadership Conference in Orlando.
Nearly 650 commercial and multifamily management pros attended the annual conference at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort, which focused on five key areas: asset management, building operations, attracting talent, leadership development, and profit management. Election Day will be key: NAR deputy chief lobbyist Jamie Gregory told attendees mid-term elections are unique, notably the 43% turnover rate of the US Senate since ’08. With comparable turnover in the House, it’s become necessary to continually educate members of Congress on key issues, as they’re rarely around long enough to rely on experience to have familiarity with the issues, he says.
Veteran journalist John Salustri moderated a panel with George Washington University’s Patrick Lynch, Marcus & Millichap’s Richard Matricaria, and Transwestern’s Marc Allen. Richard says Millennials now account for roughly 25% of the population, and they have a different vision than previous generations on how office space will look. Allen adds there are blurred lines between living space and office work. “Work is no longer where you are,” he says. “It is what you do.” The panelists concurred that the current trends will continue for several years. “The thing to watch is how the economy performs over the next year and if job growth continues,” Patrick says. “Then we will see if this is a structural change or part of a cycle.”
One hazy situation: medical marijuana. PMC Management Group president Fred Prassas (a former IREM prez) says with varying state laws and differences between state and federal laws, establishing best practices for property management will be difficult. But he believes that IREM can provide some guidelines that have worked for property managers in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana have been legalized. Among them: add necessary language to rental criteria; post information in the management office; and add terms and conditions in lease enforcement terms. “The most important thing is consistency,” he says. “As pros in the field, we need to help establish best practices and continue to discuss and debate this topic” while being flexible as laws and legalization evolve.
Another hot topic: hoarding. Sunrise Management and Consulting president Jesse Holland told attendees that an estimated one in 50 Americans suffers from compulsive hoarding symptoms, and that as of last year, hoarding has been recognized as a disability. Since people with disabilities are protected in almost every type of housing transaction, residential property managers have to be aware. Among the impacts on operations: direct damage; interference with ventilation or sprinkler systems; hoarding potentially explosive materials or perishable goods that can attract mold or rodents; or housing animals in a way that breaks the law or lease arrangement. Other popular topics discussed included permits to carry concealed weapons and e-cigarettes.