Units - November 2011 - (Page 64)
Counting on Collections
awthorne Residential Partners says. “Our efficient method of finalizing manages properties in several evictions sends a clear message to our resstates and multiple jurisdicidents that we stand firm on our resident tions—which means having policies and procedures.” to deal with dramatically difOver time, Runyan believes that the ferent rules and processes for executing an company will effectively use data and eviction. To ensure that managers are trend analysis to reduce the eviction and addressing lease violations and collection collection activity that is required at some issues in a manner that is consistent with of its communities. Hawthorne’s overall policies, the company has implemented a standardized, compaShow Me the Money nywide eviction and collection process. Nearly seven years ago, WRH Realty Michele Runyan, Regional Property Services decided to dig a little deeper and Manager, says the national eviction softintroduced a customized collections platware application, form. which was adopted a Cynthia Haines, year ago through CPM, Chief OperatNationwide Eviction, ing Officer, says NCC is especially helpful Business Services of for new employees. America’s platform “New staff memenabled her Jackbers or staff members sonville, Fla.-based transferred from a company to focus on different community potential screening Hawthorne Residential Partners’ can hit the ground concerns, operaAshley Crossing, Charleston, S.C. running in their new tional inefficiencies jobs since the eviction and collection and geographic challenges and adjust its process is consistent for all areas,” Runyan systems and procedures accordingly to says. “We want no drop off in our effort to obtain higher collection rates and minikeep our communities pleasant for our res- mize default risks on the front end. idents and profitable for our company.” “We utilize customized collection The web-based eviction and collection reports to perform analysis on default by service enables Hawthorne to monitor and product type, geographic location, average optimize the process across its entire portaccount balance being sent by property, folio. Senior managers can track the speed of placement and, of course, peractivities in their portfolio without making centages collected,” she says. a single call and, if a problem arises, Haines says the customized approach address it quickly. An attorney who is inte- has allowed her team to identify weakgrated with the eviction platform is also nesses in procedures—such as refining available to prosecute evictions. screening criteria based on collection Runyan says something as minor as a analysis and streamlining procedures to one-week improvement in eviction filing speed up account placements—and can result in thousands of dollars in NOI quickly revise them, which improves their recovery. overall collection rates. “Not only are you able to lease the unit Economic improvement and reduced to a paying resident faster, but you also delinquencies also have improved collecget rid of disgruntled residents who often tion rates, Haines adds. engage in destructive behaviors such as Judy Tubb, Director of National Collecdamaging the unit or devising some basis tions for Post Apartment Homes, L.P., for an appeal or counter lawsuit,” she agrees. She says the Atlanta-based compa64 UNITS
N o v e m b e r 2 0 11
Customized and integrated collections processes and auditing help apartment management companies improve their bottom lines and improve accuracy. ny’s recovery percentage and collection totals decreased drastically in 2008 and even more so in 2009. However, she has noticed a considerable increase beginning in 2010 and continuing into this year. “In 2007—right before the recession—we had our best year to date and collected $1,137,000.” Tubb says. “In 2010 we began to recover from the downturn and collected $1,135,000.” Although Post Apartments has yet to experience a year as successful as 2007, Tubb says the company’s in-house collections process has come a long way since its collections department was created in 1997. In 1998, during the first complete year of in-house collections, the company collected a total of $154,000—about oneeighth of its total in 2007. Tubb says her collections department— which uses National Credit Systems’ collections software—regularly discusses ways of implementing an automated process to reduce the paper the company receives and speed up the collection process.
Caught in the Act
Skippers beware. Michael Johnson, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for ALCO Management, says his company has prevented many residents from evading their debt by incorporating rental payment history data with the company’s credit screening. “We’ve had residents who move out of one of our communities and owe us money, and then try to move back into the same community,” Johnson says. “We should be able to catch this on our Michael Johnson own, but the reality is that if you have onsite turnover, it’s easy to miss. With the credit screening tied to our collections process, we can see right away if they are already in our system and have bad debt.”
w w w. n a a h q . o r g
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.