The Benefits of ESG Reporting in Rental Housing

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are becoming more prevalent in the rental housing industry. While a number of large companies like Nike and Starbucks have been reporting ESG metrics for years, apartment companies have recently started adopting the practice.

However, keeping up with the regulatory landscape can be difficult to say the least. Between vaguely written laws and ever-changing guidelines, many operators are uncertain about how to navigate ESG reporting and why it’s beneficial to the entire community. But as the benefits of ESG reporting continue to become more apparent, operators and investors world-wide are taking note.

According to CBRE’s 2021 Global Investor Intentions Survey, 60% of participants indicated that they have already incorporated ESG criteria as part of their investment strategies. As ESG continues to gain momentum, a greater number of investors are demanding that considerations surrounding ESG be embedded into every phase of a property’s lifecycle.

As a way to assess an apartment community’s operations and its impact on environmental and social factors, ESG reporting is offering tremendous benefits for participating communities. We’ll explore some of the benefits below:

Progressing environmental initiatives
Although each facet of ESG is vital to keeping society on the right path, sustainability in rental housing is becoming increasingly prevalent. Operators and investors are tapping into various products and services that encourage an environmentally-conscience community. Things like climate change have operators searching for ways to mitigate the negative affects communities have on the environment and lessen their carbon footprint.

A recent survey conducted by Workiva and Coleman Parkes found that 43% of respondents said their organization’s ESG budget is allocated to address environmental factors. From utilizing energy-saving appliances and enacting water conservation measures to making the leasing and maintenance processes nearly paperless, almost every component of the multifamily industry is being revamped with ESG in mind.

For example, issues such as excess trash or unscooped pet waste are found at many apartment communities and can wreak havoc on the environment. Many operators are looking to third-party services not just to alleviate problems like these, but to do so in a way that is sustainable and has lasting, positive impacts on the environment.

Regardless of the green initiatives and practices an operator chooses to implement, every community can benefit from ESG reporting.

The financial upsides
For the modern resident, living in an environmentally friendly community is at the top of their list. Residents want to know that they are doing their part in protecting the earth, and that the community where they live is doing the same. Keeping a clean community and implementing sustainable measures that promote eco-friendly lifestyles doesn’t only broaden the potential resident pool, it enhances the living experience and bolsters occupancy rates.

High occupancy rates and increased resident satisfaction are undeniably beneficial to operators, but communities that put an emphasis on ESG reporting see a number of additional financial upsides as well. ESG focused communities generally see higher rents than competitors, receive tax credits and gain an overall higher market value. While a company may have different motives for ESG reporting, like ensuring responsible business conduct, mitigating environmental threats or diversifying its workplace culture, the impact can be great.

In fact, seven out of 10 respondents of the Workiva survey indicated that ESG reporting has added tremendous value to their organizations. When it comes to customer retention, cost savings and associate morale, these companies are seeing increases upwards of 70%.

ESG reporting is another way for apartment communities to add value, and an increasing number of operators are using it as a way to not only create a positive environmental and social impact, but to increase NOI as well.

Whether it’s to boost resident satisfaction and occupancy rates or it’s to seize investment opportunities and increase revenue growth, ESG reporting presents plenty of benefits to residents, operators, investors and the entire community at large.

Read our blog on Multifamily Insider here.

Technology-Enhanced Sustainability at Apartment Communities

Technology-Enhanced Sustainability at Apartment Communities

Technology has bolstered many aspects of apartment management, from automating onsite tasks to creating a more streamlined leasing experience for renters. As green initiatives gain traction at apartment companies across the country, technologies geared towards sustainability and cleanliness have been playing a larger role within the industry. 

An increasing number of residents want to live in eco-friendly environments and have indicated they’d pay more in rent to live in an efficient and sustainable community. Outside of  being conscious of building materials and energy consumption, apartment operators have also been looking to implement trash automation and biotechnology services to create cleaner, healthier communities while minimizing impact to the surrounding environment and overall neighborhood and region. 

Communities go through rigorous environmental testing to ensure they are following the appropriate sustainability efforts that enhance not only a specific property’s green initiatives, but the entire region’s ecosystem. Technology is leading the way in these efforts and its capabilities offer wide-reaching benefits for the environment. 

For instance, trash collection is standard in many apartment communities, but technology-focused operators are now shifting towards options like trash automation. Automating trash collection offers multiple benefits to residents and the environment, including keeping communities free of materials that can cause lasting impacts to the environment. 

While trash automation is a great solution, it doesn’t solve the challenge of unscooped pet waste. Pet waste provides a whole different, more harmful layer to environmental impact. Not only can the harmful pathogens found in pet waste make residents, onsite teams and and other pets sick, but on a larger scale, it can also contaminate local water sources. 

Pet waste harbors millions of harmful bacteria that threaten the well being of both humans and animals. After a period of time, pet waste runs into water systems, negatively impacting  multiple water sources and inevitably drinking water. If people come in contact with the bacteria found in pet waste, they can become extremely ill. If the environment is being negatively affected by pet waste, it’s only a matter of time before humans and other animals feel the impacts. 

As pet ownership increases across the country, operators are reconsidering their pet restrictions and allowing more dog breeds and pets  to live onsite. Although these advancements mean broader resident pools and higher occupancy rates, it also means more unscooped pet waste. 

In an effort to reduce the amount of unscooped pet waste at communities, operators have turned to technology as a proactive pet waste solution. More and more apartment operators are utilizing biotechnology services that offer DNA testing of pet waste. Biotechnology not only proactively combats the amount of unscooped pet waste, but it also holds pet owners accountable, making it less likely they’ll make the same mistake more than once. 

Biotechnology has proven to be an effective pet waste mitigation solution for operators around the world. More than 7,000 communities worldwide utilizing DNA testing for pet waste have reported a 95% decrease in the amount of unscooped pet waste. 

Services like DNA testing for pet waste aim to protect the environment by promoting responsible pet ownership. If a DNA match points to a specific resident, there isn’t really an excuse. After all, DNA doesn’t lie. Accountability is one part of the unscooped pet waste problem and leveraging technology to create accountability allows operators to get ahead of the problem before it even begins. If the problem gets out of hand, eventually onsite efficiencies will suffer.

Maintenance teams are typically tasked with picking up unscooped pet waste, which can equate to one or two days a week of picking up pet waste. In that timeframe, important duties, like fulfilling work orders and turning vacant apartments, are not getting done, which can tank resident satisfaction. The ripple effect can be damaging to both community reputation and environmental sustainability. Maintenance teams are the backbone of any community and operators simply cannot afford to have them sidelined or distracted cleaning up pet waste. 

Successful sustainability efforts, especially those that enhance community cleanliness, attract and retain quality renters that value living  in environmentally conscious communities. Keeping a clean and green property will most certainly give operators a competitive advantage that decreases vacancy rates and resident turnover while simultaneously doing their part to minimize environmental impact.

How Apartment Communities are Merging Technology and Pets

How Apartment Communities are Merging Technology and Pets

The rapid acceleration of technology within multifamily is most evident with the implementation of PropTech and smart home, but operators are starting to integrate other technologies that cater to residents and their pets. As more communities become pet-friendly, operators have started tapping tech solutions to address some of the pain points that accompany being pet-friendly and enhance the experience for pet owners, non-pet owners and onsite teams alike. 

Certain pet-related challenges, like unscooped pet waste, impact all residents and onsite teams. Other potential disquiets, like a runaway pet, are generally that of pet owners alone. No matter who the interested party is, addressing pet-related concerns proactively to create better living experiences  is a top priority for operators.

While there are other concerns associated with pets living in apartment communities, some of the top pet-related challenges can be remedied with the right technology that alleviates such worries. In addition to the traditional tactics used to reduce pet related concerns in a community, modern operators are looking to technologies that tackle multiple issues at once. Pet DNA registration services identify specific pets for a particular reason, whether it’s identifying a pet owner who left unscooped pet waste in a community or one that lost a dog. 

With June being National Microchipping Month, it’s the perfect time to discuss tracking our beloved pets. Microchipping certainly adds a great layer of protection to minimize the number of missing animals, but that can only work as long as the microchip isn’t removed. DNA testing provides an additional layer of protection should a pet become lost or stolen. If a registered pet is lost and found, a small DNA sample is all it takes to get them back home to their owner. Unlike a microchip, DNA cannot be tampered with or altered, essentially making it a foolproof method. 

No two properties are exactly alike and each one has its own unique challenges to overcome. However, when it comes to pet related concerns, multifamily communities share similar growing pains and the solution to addressing those obstacles can be found in tech-focused services like biotechnology companies that provide DNA testing on pets. They help reduce the onsite team’s workload by assuming the difficult task of identifying irresponsible pet owners and tracking pets in communities, giving associates more time back to tend to resident needs. 

Pet-friendly communities undeniably attract a larger pool of potential residents. And by employing the technology that optimizes the pet experience, operators ease day-to-day operations and enhance satisfaction for every resident and onsite associate, leading to the robust occupancy and renewal rates that reap a greater NOI.

Sustainability is a Modern Resident Requirement

Sustainability is a Modern Resident Requirement

Sustainability, or “going green,” was once thought to be just a fad. But modern renters – notably Gen Z and millennials – would say otherwise. According to, about 80% of apartment residents believe that living in green apartment communities is good for their health, and 61% of renters say they would pay more each month for an eco-friendly apartment. 

Sure, there is no shortage of tactics that will contribute to establishing a sustainable community for residents to enjoy. Operators can construct buildings that meet LEED-certified standards, install smart home technology that measures energy and water usage or install energy-efficient lighting fixtures, just to name a few. But while  part of the green initiative does take hold at the building design and construction stages, as well as by utilizing energy-efficient appliances, other efforts are just as important. 

Sustainability efforts can be made in waste management processes and creating cleaner communities by reducing the amount of pet waste left behind at a community. Although our furry friends certainly bring us joy, if their waste isn’t picked up and disposed of properly, they can also pose a major hazard to the environment and disrupt a community’s strides towards becoming eco-friendly. 

A large part of sustainability efforts falls into community clean-up protocols, especially when it comes to unscooped pet waste. Dog waste is not only harmful to people and pets, but it is incredibly toxic and destructive for the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists dog waste as one of the leading environmental contaminants negatively impacting communities across the country. In order to combat that, maintaining a pristine property is of the utmost importance. 

A study published in Ecological Solutions and Evidence found that annually, dogs may unload close to 24 pounds of nitrogen and 11 pounds of phosphorus into the soil nearly every 2.5 acres, both of which are extremely potent fertilizers to the environment. What that ultimately means is that unscooped pet waste may be pushing the environment well past what scientists refer to as the “critical load,” essentially oversaturating soil with an extreme excess of nitrogen that affects biodiversity.

To echo the sentiments of modern renters and their desire to live in greener communities, operators have found that in addition to making the necessary steps in choosing eco-friendly building materials and smart home features throughout a community, eliminating unscooped pet waste is just as crucial.

The addition of more pet waste depository stations and imposing fines for not picking up after a pet are sure to have some positive results in terms of slowing down the issue, but to make a larger difference and reduce unscooped pet waste – in many cases by 95 percent – operators have had to step up their efforts. Beyond the traditional tools used, DNA testing of pet waste is gaining popularity because it works and has proven to be extremely effective in diminishing the harmful effects pet waste poses to the environment while holding pet owners accountable. 

By building sustainable communities and implementing the proper programs required to ensure they remain free of pet waste and jive with eco-friendly practices that encourage a greener living experience, operators are enhancing the resident experience considerably. These sustainability efforts not only broaden potential resident pools and attract more long term residents, they will undeniably lead to a brighter future for the environment and a greater NOI.

Getting Trashed in Online Reviews: How Clean Communities Improve Community Reputation

Getting Trashed in Online Reviews: How Clean Communities Improve Community Reputation

For nearly 25 years, the ability to post an online review has been a way people can either give praise about an experience or share their disappointment and list every single reason why their experience was so bad. Every industry has to deal with it, but for multifamily, online reviews hit differently. 

All reviews are good in the sense that it’s feedback on where a community is succeeding or where there’s room for improvement. However, negative online reviews for things like community cleanliness and an abundance of pet waste can crush a community’s reputation. While these are seemingly little things, they do add up; over time prospects take note when a resident flags an apartment community as being dirty or unkept. Negative reviews can hinder a community’s leasing, renewals and asset value. 

One of the biggest offenders that makes a property look unappealing is unscooped pet waste. Beyond the health implications and the unsanitary living conditions it breeds, unscooped pet waste is a top producer of negative online reviews. 

According to the latest Multifamily Pet Policies and Amenities survey conducted by PetScreening and J. Turner Research, 84% of respondents ranked pet waste as their No. 1 pet-related concern. When that many people share such a concern, it definitely translates in online reviews. While every review deserves a response that shows operators care about their communities, the ones that discuss pet waste being left behind are actually the easiest to correct.

Adding more fully stocked bag waste stations and asking maintenance teams to pick up unscooped pet waste confronts the issue in part, but eliminating the problem altogether requires a more thorough and proactive approach. Implementing biotechnology services like DNA testing pet waste improves cleanliness and resident satisfaction by holding irresponsible pet owners accountable for their actions. In addition to a 95% average decrease in the amount of unscooped pet waste, many communities that enlist such a program witness a significant drop in the number of negative reviews mentioning pet waste or cleanliness.

Improving a community’s curb-appeal not only enhances resident satisfaction, but it also helps boost a community’s online reputation – and reputation matters. 

Chances are that if a resident will make an online remark about  a property in need of attention, they will be just as likely to mention a clean, beautiful apartment community in a review and be appreciative of living in such an environment. Wherever people live, they will generally take pride in it and let others know their feelings, good or bad. 

Onsite teams can even get their communities involved with pet-related holidays, like National Scoop the Poop Week, to demonstrate to residents they are mindful not only about community cleanliness, but also the impact to the environment and overall community health and well being. These holidays can create fun ways to get residents involved while underscoring the importance of picking up after pets. 

In such a competitive industry, operators must leverage every highlight they can to attract and retain residents. Of course, amenities and luxury services are big selling points, but if potential residents won’t even inquire about a community because the online reviews indicate that it’s dirty and unkept, every other effort is done in vain. 

It’s no longer simply about providing stellar customer service and meeting residents’ needs in terms of amenities and perks. Although that is still at the core of resident satisfaction and maintaining a good stature as a community, reputation management begins with improving community cleanliness and keeping a pristine curb appeal. When the aesthetics of a property are in order, reviews will inevitably be more positive and attract more potential residents while encouraging longer stays, increasing occupancy and asset value.

Technology: The Unsung Hero of Renewals

Technology: The Unsung Hero of Renewals

From the way we travel and work to how we shop and communicate, technology is altering every aspect of our lifestyles. Multifamily also embraces technology in a multitude of capacities for the benefit of operators, onsite teams and residents, and there’s no turning back. 

New tech tools not only make onsite jobs easier, they also enhance the overall resident experience. If residents have access to innovative technologies that make life easier and more enjoyable, they are more likely to stay long term at the community. 

While access controlled parking, the ability to place a work order request and pay rent online, smart home features, and high-speed internet are certainly tremendous assets to a community, tech advancements that emphasize health and wellness are crucial to increasing renewal rates and resident satisfaction. When discussing the health and wellness of residents, most people think of amenities like fitness centers. However, if we’re talking about a threat to the overall well-being of residents and the environment, one of the biggest culprits is unscooped pet waste.

To address the unscooped pet waste issue, many operators take the traditional approach of implementing community pet policies, installing more pet waste stations and relying on onsite teams to find out who is leaving the pet waste behind. But by utilizing cutting-edge services, like biotechnology platforms offering DNA testing, unscooped pet waste is becoming a thing of the past. 

We all know the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” However, operators now have new unique technologies available to ensure that the old dog’s waste is scooped up and disposed of properly by identifying the offending pet and owner.

More than 6,000 communities spanning multiple countries have already implemented a biotechnology platform that performs DNA testing of pet waste, resulting in a 95% reduction in unscooped pet waste. Unlike some technology that’s been introduced to the industry, this  service is easy to roll out with ample benefits to reap.

Some of the biggest complaints of modern residents include trash and pet waste. Dissatisfied residents have multiple platforms to leave negative online reviews. This not only damages a community’s reputation, but it deters prospective renters from even checking out a community if they know up front the community isn’t clean. Pet waste impacts the entire resident lifecycle and can hinder both new leases and renewals. 

A host of technologies are available that improve operations, enhance the resident experience and increase NOI. Using discernment and being selective of which technology suits a particular property or demographic best is pivotal to the success of a community. 

Although smart home technology is a fan favorite, wooing a prospective resident begins with curb appeal. Using innovative biotechnology to reduce the amount of unsightly and environmentally harmful pet waste benefits the health and wellness of residents, pets and staff alike while enhancing the community’s appeal. Clean, safe communities ultimately lead to greater occupancy and resident satisfaction.

How Apartment Communities are Upgrading Pet Waste Management Procedures

How Apartment Communities are Upgrading Pet Waste Management Procedures

Over the last few years, apartment operators have been reexamining the health and safety procedures they currently have in place. And one of the biggest issues that keeps surfacing and requires more attention is how to solve the unscooped pet waste problem at apartment communities. 

Although pet owners have a responsibility to pick up after their pets, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they do. More often than not, pet owners will either leave pet waste behind entirely or bag it up without disposing of it properly. According to internal data from PooPrints, 40% of pet owners do not pick up their pet’s waste.

Unscooped pet waste not only makes a community unattractive to potential residents and can cause a decrease in revenue, it also poses tremendous health hazards to both pets and people. Humans can be exposed to harmful pathogens from pet waste that isn’t disposed of properly, especially in communities where humans and animals live in close proximity. Animal waste can also last for as long as four years if it isn’t picked up. 

To combat this issue, apartment operators across the industry are revamping their pet waste management procedures by implementing various onsite solutions and utilizing advancements in technologies. 

Many operators have installed more well stocked pet waste bag stations or imposed fines to pet owners who fail to pick up after their pet. But these are just small bandages on the problem as unscooped pet waste is still left behind despite these measures. 

The truth is, operators can never fully address the issue in an effective manner until they find a way to identify the offending parties who have made leaving behind pet waste a habit. The remedy has eluded the industry for years. But new advancements in technology have provided answers to operators for many different onsite issues. Biotechnology solutions, such as forensic DNA services, are providing a new tech-based method for better pet waste management procedures while holding pet owners accountable.

The latest Multifamily Pet Policies and Amenities survey conducted by PetScreening and J. Turner Research found more than 60% of renters own a pet, and that percentage is only growing. While some operators may choose to simply restrict pets, many are searching for ways to make their communities more pet friendly in order to expand their prospective resident pool and enhance resident satisfaction. With that comes the challenge of adequately addressing the pet waste problem, as it is the number one nuisance associated with pets.

According to an article in Rental Housing Journal, the burden of unscooped pet waste falls on the shoulders of property managers where city ordinances allow fines to be assessed to the operators of apartment communities if waste is left behind. But opposed to installing costly video surveillance or having onsite team members “spy” on pet owners and their pets, operators are opting for a cost-effective, long-term solution.

In an effort to hold pet owners accountable and get unscooped pet waste under control, operators across the country are implementing DNA testing as a way to identify those responsible. Operators utilizing biotechnology like DNA testing for pet waste management incorporare the service into the lease. Per the lease agreement, pet owning residents provide a DNA sample of their pet via mouth swab upon move in. The DNA information is stored, so when unscooped pet waste is located onsite, operators have the ability to pinpoint the pet owner who is responsible. 

This eliminates the sometimes awkward interactions of confronting a resident about their unscooped pet waste and holds the pet owner accountable with a fine. Residents are less likely to make the same mistake twice when there is a fee involved for leaving pet waste behind. 

Companies utilizing biotech services have reported a 95% average reduction in unscooped pet waste that’s left unattended after implementation. 

There are a number of reasons to reduce the amount of pet waste left behind at a community. Implementing pet waste policies, implementing fines and even leveraging technology to assist will save onsite teams time, frustration and money. But more importantly, finding the right pet waste management procedure, whether it’s policy or technology based, will support operators in protecting the health and safety of all of their residents, onsite team members, pets and maintain curb appeal.

Pet Waste: The Problem Is Bigger Than You Think – Potential Health Hazards for Not Picking Up Pet Waste

Pet Waste: The Problem Is Bigger Than You Think – Potential Health Hazards for Not Picking Up Pet Waste

It’s not just about diminishing curb appeal – unscooped pet waste also puts the health of entire apartment communities at risk. When pet owners don’t pick up their pet’s waste, there are massive health and environmental implications. 

As more apartment communities allow pets and assistance animals onsite, the animal waste problem continues to grow. According to the latest Multifamily Pet Policies and Amenities survey conducted by PetScreening and J. Turner Research, 84% of respondents ranked pet waste as their No. 1 pet-related concern. And with more than 60% of renters owning a pet, it is not a concern to be taken lightly. 

Pet waste is more than an inconvenience for residents and onsite teams. It poses tremendous health hazards and is known to cause various diseases such as Salmonella, E. Coli, and Ringworm. Some pet owners may not realize it, but leaving behind pet waste substantially increases the health risks that residents, onsite teams, guests and pets alike face. 

In addition to health concerns, pet waste is a potent cause of environmental impact. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists pet waste as a significant source of nonpoint environmental contamination, meaning it comes from more than one source.

When waste is left on lawns and sidewalks, it eventually washes into nearby bodies of water through storm sewers. Storm drains don’t connect to a treatment facility, so the waste inevitably ends up in local lakes, rivers and streams. The Georgia-based Clean Water Campaign estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, dehydration, and kidney disorders in humans.

Genetic researchers have been studying the fecal contamination in our water to see if it is directly linked to dogs. The results overwhelmingly point to our furry friends as the culprit. While it will be a bigger undertaking to tackle the pet waste issue in a city or town at a macro level, it is becoming easier to solve the problem at a micro level within apartment communities. 

Although all types of pet-related issues present unique challenges to operators, pet waste management has long been a thorn in the side of the multifamily industry. Adding to the headache, more than 40% of pet owners do not take pet waste removal seriously. The burden of fixing this problem then falls on the shoulders of onsite teams. 

Operators can aid the cause by implementing pet waste management procedures within their communities. Pet waste management policies can help ensure the health and safety of humans and their animals while enhancing curb appeal.

Sure, installing pet waste stations with fully stocked bags may encourage better pet owner responsibility when it comes to pet waste being picked up. But by creating community policies and even turning to biotechnology solutions to eliminate pet waste,  operators can strategically nip the pet waste problem in the bud. 

More than 1,000 management companies and 6,000 community partners across the globe currently use a forensic application service that runs DNA testing on pet waste. According to PooPrints internal data, companies utilizing its biotech services have reported a 95% average reduction in unscooped pet waste that’s left unattended after implementation. 

Whether operators create community pet waste policies or turn to different types of biotech solutions, the pet waste problem is big enough to warrant some action. Curb appeal is important, but there is much more at stake in terms of safety, health and the environment when pet waste is left behind.