Meet the new guidelines for single-family rentals

National Rental Home Council releases operating guidelines

The National Rental Home Council, the trade group for single-family rental homes created by the largest owner-operators in the space, has released operational guidelines for the entire single-family rental industry.

Colony American Homes, Invitation Homes, American Homes 4 Rent and Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust joined together to form the NRHC in March. When the group launched, it said its goals were to increase education and advocate for the benefits of the single-family rental market.

Now, after months of work, the group has released its operational guidelines for the industry.

“This work is the product of a task force established by the NRHC to focus on industry operations and represents a significant step forward in the NRHC’s effort to professionalize the single-family rental market and establish standards of quality, safety and service for residents,” the NRHC said.

The guidelines break down into four categories: home rehabilitation, property management, resident relations and legal compliance.

Under the home rehabilitation criteria, the NRHC suggests that single-family rental operators adopt formal procedures to ensure that homes are “habitable, functional and appealing” to prospective residents and the surrounding neighborhood.

“NRHC members invest considerable amounts (well over $10,000 on average per home) to renovate often-blighted properties, turning them into habitable, functioning and appealing homes for new residents,” the NRHC said. “The document lays out important standards for inspection, repair and safety information disclosure.”

Under the property management criteria, the NRHC states that all resident-facing employees should be required to undergo Fair Housing Act training, and all employees should be required to be in compliance with all Fair Housing laws.

The property management section also details suggested maintenance procedures for single-family rental operators. Chief among those is conducting routine site inspections and maintaining “active ownership oversight.”

Under the resident relations section, the NRHC tells its members that “leasing homes is a business based upon building and maintaining long-term relationships with residents.”

The guidelines state that single-family rental operators “should aim to provide residents with a highly satisfactory experience from the time of first contact through the selection of their home, the move-in process and for the duration of the experience.”

Last, but certainly not least, is the legal compliance section. “All single-family rental operators, regardless of size, should structure overall business operations to be in compliance with all applicable local, state and federal laws and should have established systems to ensure legal compliance,” the NRHC said.

Each section of the guidelines goes into greater detail about how single-family rental owner/operators can meet the operational guidelines.

“For years, the fragmented nature of this industry left residents receiving varying levels of service and care – these guidelines demonstrate our commitment to raising standards and professionalizing the single-family rental home industry,” said Matthew Beck, NRHC Spokesman.

“At every level, this business is about delivering customer service and earning customer loyalty by building long-term relationships with residents, vendors and local communities. With a growing number of Americans choosing the rental market, we believe these high standards are necessary and appropriate, not just for our NRHC member companies, but for the entire industry.”

Click here for the full single-family rental operating guidelines from the NRHC.

The senior leadership of each of the NRHC’s members also weighed in on the guidelines, with each voicing strong support.

"This document sends a strong, clear signal that SWAY and the rest of the NRHC membership is committed to professionalizing the single-family rental home industry for the benefit of residents and operators alike," said Gary Beasley, co-chief executive officer, Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust.

“These comprehensive guidelines clearly demonstrate the commitments Colony American Homes has made to its residents are shared by NRHC members and serve as a model for all single-family rental industry participants,” said Fred Tuomi, chief operating officer, Colony American Homes.

“We are proud to stand by these operational guidelines as they reflect the professionalism and dedication our representatives bring to the job every day,” said Denise Dunckel, senior vice president, external relations, Invitation Homes.

“This work is the latest example of how Progress and other NRHC members are providing critical leadership and guidance to the single-family rental home industry,” said Curt Schade, president and chief operating officer, Progress Residential.

“We believe the release of these guidelines, forged from our experience, and that of our fellow NRHC members, can help improve the resident experience and the quality of service provided across the industry,” said American Homes 4 Rent.

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