Overcoming resistance to renters

Builders may encounter pushback from communities afraid of the changes rental properties can bring
Some jurisdictions and homeowners have been resistant to growth, going so far as to cap housing growth. (Photo: NexMetro)
A for-rent sign strikes fear into the heart of many a homeowner who worries about the impact these short-timers will have on his or her own home’s property values. NexMetro’s Jacque Petroulakis noted that even she had preconceived notions about traditional renters that turned out to be wrong.

For one thing, residents at NexMetro’s Avilla Homes communities of single-family rentals tend to stay in the homes longer than traditional renters. They often “have the wherewithal to buy, but are choosing to rent for some reason or another,” Petroulakis said.

[Related: The rise of the renterHow single-family rentals are gaining ground]

As the developer, getting municipalities on board can be challenging.

“This is a hybrid product. We build single-family, yet we plat multifamily,” she explained. “When we go into a new jurisdiction, trying to educate them on who we are and what we do sometimes is a process.”

While some jurisdictions and homeowners have been resistant to growth, going so far as to cap housing growth, Petroulakis noted it hasn’t been a deterrent to building in certain areas. For one thing, people opposed to new development often find a community of one-story homes easier to accept than a multistory building.

“That is one of the biggest barriers to multifamily and rental living—the idea of going up,” Petroulakis said.

[Related: Builders bet on built-for-rent]

The newness of these communities also helps assuage long-term residents’ fears that a rental community will bring an influx of neighbors who don’t care about their properties. Many of Avilla Homes’ units are pre-leased, Petroulakis said, adding that in Denver, some residents would watch “the final touches of construction of their home, as if they were having it built for them.”

“Single-family rental isn’t going to replace homeownership, but there are more and more people who are choosing this for themselves for one reason or another,” she added. “Consumers definitely want more than what the traditional housing market had to offer.”

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Danielle Andrus

Danielle Andrus was previously the managing editor for Colorado Builder, and is currently Editor for the Journal of Financial Planning.

Danielle Andrus has 343 posts and counting. See all posts by Danielle Andrus

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