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Parking & Garbage: Solving the Two Greatest Challenges of Apartment Investing

build-to-rent podcast market research Sep 11, 2021

We've said around here, many times that amenities draw tenants to a project, but they stay because of parking, and garbage. When you're going to renew your lease, and you're like, I can never park or I can never have friends over because there's nowhere to park...

We've got some projects like that where parking is hard. I think a lot of cities give you less parking than you actually need. And it's tempting as a developer, right? parking is the ultimate density killer. It kills your profit.

You see those big parking lots and you think I could have built units there. But you know, you can get so dense that nobody wants to live there. So what does it matter? There's that line across, but the garbage can be a challenge. I've noticed that even culturally between states there are ways that people think about garbage differently. Like should I have to take it out? Do I have to put it in the dumpster? Right. And there's a big education process there.

Chase, are you still president in one of the Vineyard, UT HOAs? Yeah? Does Tucker row do dumpsters or cans?

Chase Leavitt

When we started that project, they used to do dumpsters. And then shortly after, I think I was like three to six months into that community when it was finished and stabilize. We found out that a bunch of just random people, we didn't know who they were, didn't live there. Were coming in just randomly dumping their garbage, their couches, whatever it was in the dumpsters. And so the owners or the tenants weren't able to take out their trash. They're just getting filled up too fast. So we had to make that adjustment.

Steve Olson

I'm going through that in Texas right now. Couch bandits. I mean, it's just couches tossed outside of dumpsters. And it looks terrible. It just clogs up the whole dumpster and then it looks gross. And it's unsightly.

We just spent like $8,000, doing a complete power wash of the entire subdivision because, you know, you build it and there's dust and things happen. And you know, a couple of years later, it's due for a bath, right? But when you have that trash situation, those enclosures, they get so nasty, and the before and after of power washing out those enclosures, and just how the project looked. In general, it's just a great way to maintain it.

So you did cans. Now people have nowhere to go toss a couch or random trash. I may or may not know a guy that occasionally when he has too much trash finds a dumpster. I don't know if you know anybody like that, or if any of our listeners may have ever thought of doing something like that.

Sherida Zenger

Kind of like I did last night after I moved my kids into their townhomes and boxes and there happened to be a dumpster. It was on-site though. So at least it was the builders that we bought from.

Steve Olson

Yes, exactly. It's a temptation that people have you know, you go toss stuff in a dumpster. So I don't know I've been kind of flirting with the idea of going to cans at that project because you know what would happen.

We get to demo those dumpster enclosures and pick up two to three extra parking spaces. spread out evenly over. There are probably six or seven dumpsters. I've got 18 extra guest parking spaces. But the units aren't really designed in a way where there's a good place to keep a trash can.

Chase Leavitt

Yeah. So there's some give and take there. If you get rid of the dumpsters, you have extra parking? Possibly, yeah. But if you have trash cans, then there's not really much room to put the trash cans in some projects, or depending on what the project looks like.

Steve Olson

It might be a good idea for us to think in the future when we design these buildings, have the architects try and put in place a small concrete pad for a trash can to go.

Sherida Zenger

Yeah, right off to the side or something like that.

Steve Olson

Because the drawback to this is if we have dumpsters, this turned into a garbage conversation, right? If we have dumpsters, people are tossing stuff. They're not putting stuff all the way in the trash, right. And one project I've worked with, we took the lids off because we observed mom sending kid kids out. And he couldn't sling the big heavy trash bag up over the top and hold the lid open at the same time. So we took the lids off. But guess what happens? When the big garbage truck comes in? It sticks those forks through the slots on the side and lifts them up over the top.

The lids aren't holding the stuff in. So trash goes everywhere. I mean, we've had to hire an on-site property manager to just clean stuff up all the time, because it's there all the time. So I think the dumpsters are you saying I'm willing to deal with this problem in like six locations? The trash cans, you might be creating it over 200 locations? I don't know. So have you been pleased with it? is trash a problem? It's helped. It's helped out a lot.

Chase Leavitt

I think it costs a little bit more for every individual unit to have its own trash can. That's why they didn't do it before. But it helped. I mean, they just didn't have anywhere to take the trash out. So we had to make that move.

Steve Olson

There's a new one I'm involved with where it's a different kind of dumpster where there's like a door you open in the side. And so people aren't leaving trash out there, putting it in the side of the dumpster. And that means when they pick it up and dump it, it doesn't go everywhere. Because they trigger a button on top that opens it just for the trash truck. There's still the occasional couch.

So now we're putting in a gate to gate that community so not just any rando can come in there. And that would help a lot.

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