Habitat - September/October 2016 - 19

a denial based on credit was for any other reason, he added. Although there is no dictated timeline for implementation, all multifamily property managers should begin evaluation of their process now, suggested Nadeen Green, senior legal counsel for For Rent Media Solutions. It is a good idea to write a "note to file," in which the property manager states that the process of evaluating the application process and re-defining vetting procedures if necessary has begun, she suggested. "Don't rush to redesign the whole process quickly because the landscape is constantly changing," said Green. Evaluate your process and sketch out potential changes before reaching out to an attorney, she said. "Details of HUD's expectations won't really become clear until the test cases hit the courts," she explained. "The key is not to be one of those test cases." Once the parameters for criminal background checks have been set by the property manager, with an attorney, communicate with the third-party vendor to be sure the company can handle a twostep process as well as a process that may incorporate different look-back periods, said Green. Work closely with the vendor to be sure the process used for your applicants matches the process you design, she added. One last suggestion from Green is to contact the property's insurance carrier. "Although a change in your application vetting process may make no difference in premiums or coverage, it's important to verify that upfront," she said. PROTECTING THE PROPERTY Technology is the most significant change in the physical property protection arena. High quality cameras, real-time monitoring via the Internet, GPS-enabled documentation for patrol officers and enhanced lighting are advances that provide cost-effective options for property managers. Properly placed cameras are a deterrent to crime, said Carter Greene, security operations manager for BOS Security and a 32-year law enforcement veteran. "Cameras are not costly to install and should be placed in public areas such as courtyards, the leasing office, the lobby, entrances to the property - vehicle and foot traffic - and any areas that are difficult to see from common areas, such as back parking lots," he suggested. While it also makes sense to place cameras in elevators and enclosed hallways, some property managers decide not to do so if residents feel like it encroaches on their privacy, he added. "With Internet-based cameras, they can be monitored at any time from any place," said Greene. Courtesy officers with smartphones and managers from their home computers have easy, realtime access to the cameras to monitor, check or record. In addition to onsite monitoring, some property managers contract with a security service to provide central monitoring as well, said Mark McClure, franchise owner of Signal 88 Security. This can be very effective when the cameras are equipped with motion detectors, because the central monitoring station is alerted by an alarm when motion is detected - enabling the monitoring staff to react quickly if there is a need to contact the patrol officer. "If a group of people is in the pool at 2 a.m., the monitoring staff can call the patrol vehicle, and send the video to the officer to view live as the patrol heads to the pool." Although the traditional security guard sitting at a gate is no longer a presence at most properties, many properties do want someone onsite for at least part of the day - usually when the leasing office is closed, said McClure. No longer referred to as a "security" officer due to legal implications, McClure's clients are most interested in courtesy officer patrols that check the property for items ranging from irrigation systems watering the street in the middle of the night to people using the pool after posted times. "Our officers are in marked vehicles and carry Internet-connected tablets to document their observations and actions, and to upload photos to accompany the reports when needed," explained McClure. The use of GPS-enabled devices also provides a real-time documentation of the officer's location and time onsite, he added. Lighting is another key component of a property safety plan, points out Greene. "LED [light emitting diode] lighting can be directed downward or toward specific areas effectively, so the light doesn't intrude on the privacy of a resident's patio or into apartment windows all night," he said. Effective lighting can deter crime and can increase the level of safety for residents, he added. A low-tech safety improvement that is often overlooked in older properties is vegetation, said Greene. Bushes and trees can become barriers that hide people and activities so it's important to trim tree limbs or remove shrubbery that prevents courtesy officers from seeing potential threats. One mistake property managers make is not to maintain and repair security features that are in place already, said McClure. "No gate is better than a non-working gate because the nonworking gate is evidence that you are not providing one of the features that may have attracted residents to your property - gate-controlled access to the property," he explained. Be sure that gates, lights and digital card readers work as promised, he added. Although advances in camera technology have made cameras cost-effective to monitor the property, McClure recommends a hybrid approach that combines technology and people - courtesy officers - for the best approach to a safe multifamily property. "A roving vehicle patrol that covers several properties is cost-effective and when combined with foot patrols and video monitoring provides a high level of safety without the expense of a 24-hour onsite officer." * SEP TEMBER /OC TOBER 2016 | H A BITAT | 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Habitat - September/October 2016

Chair’s Message
Legal Talk
Government Affairs
Up Close
Safeguarding Property Assets and Residents
Foundation Update
Volunteer’s Corner
AAA Platinum Patron Member Profile: For Rent
AAA Gold Patron Member Profile: Affinity Pools
New Members
Advertisers’ Index
Habitat - September/October 2016 - cover1
Habitat - September/October 2016 - cover2
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 3
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 4
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 5
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 6
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 7
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 8
Habitat - September/October 2016 - Chair’s Message
Habitat - September/October 2016 - Legal Talk
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 11
Habitat - September/October 2016 - Government Affairs
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 13
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 14
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 15
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 16
Habitat - September/October 2016 - Up Close
Habitat - September/October 2016 - Safeguarding Property Assets and Residents
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 19
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 20
Habitat - September/October 2016 - Foundation Update
Habitat - September/October 2016 - Volunteer’s Corner
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 23
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 24
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 25
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 26
Habitat - September/October 2016 - AAA Platinum Patron Member Profile: For Rent
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 28
Habitat - September/October 2016 - AAA Gold Patron Member Profile: Affinity Pools
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 30
Habitat - September/October 2016 - New Members
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 32
Habitat - September/October 2016 - Advertisers’ Index
Habitat - September/October 2016 - 34
Habitat - September/October 2016 - cover3
Habitat - September/October 2016 - cover4
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