For Long-Term Apartment Value, There’s No Substitute for Safety

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At many apartment properties, particularly those serving lower-income communities, many residents have sadly resigned themselves to accepting a certain level of criminal activity as a part of their daily lives. However, this disheartening reality isn’t a given. 

An increasing number of owner-operators within this housing sector are carving a new pathway to long-term value creation by proactively addressing crime and enhancing the quality of life for their residents.

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Take, for instance, a New Jersey property once notorious for crime. Once Hudson Valley Property Group bought it, we collaborated closely with the property’s management team to implement a comprehensive security enhancement program. Working alongside law enforcement, a crucial aspect of this initiative was sharing camera access, which proved instrumental in both preventing and resolving criminal activity. The results were nothing short of remarkable.

Jason Bordainick
Jason Bordainick. Teri Bloom

Prior to the implementation of these pivotal security measures, the property was plagued by incessant on-site criminal activities, becoming a staple in the daily police blotter. Residents, trapped in a cycle of despair and uncertainty, had normalized living in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Yet, through proactive law enforcement engagement and the strategic deployment of state-of-the-art surveillance technology, criminal activity on the property plummeted dramatically.

This transformation not only bolstered safety for residents, but also positively influenced the surrounding community. Strategically installed at the property’s perimeters, security cameras captured street and sidewalk activities, furnishing police with valuable data to identify and arrest criminals in the vicinity. Furthermore, the surveillance system expedited insurance claim processing for incidents within the property, reducing the financial burden on both management and residents, while also safeguarding resident deliveries and fostering a secure, efficient environment.

Residents, previously living in fear, now revel in a newfound sense of security, influencing their decision to extend their tenancy at the property. With the embrace of a secure atmosphere, bonds within the community have strengthened. This new environment, where families now confidently allow their children to play outside, has cultivated a living experience that’s both vibrant and connected.

Consequently, the property’s rent rolls stabilized as residents renewed their leases, drawn by the improved quality of life and peace of mind. Maintenance expenditures decreased as vandalism and property damage became rare occurrences. Furthermore, the changes stimulated economic growth in the neighboring community, and property values in the vicinity began to appreciate. These positive outcomes contributed to an increase in the property’s value, exceeding the initial investment and providing a substantial return for investors.

While it’s vital to recognize that initiating and maintaining security measures, including surveillance cameras, come with substantial costs, these investments are essential, serving as foundational supports for improving residents’ quality of life.

While renters are often attracted and retained by more lifestyle-based amenities, energy efficiencies and other features, safety remains unparalleled in creating value in a home. Safety is paramount for residents and their families, ranking as their top priority. Owner-operators should understand that investing in safety equates to investing in residents’ well-being, satisfaction and long-term commitment to the property.

All too often, the imperative of resident safety is overlooked in favor of immediate financial gains. However, the success of the previously mentioned New Jersey project underscores the transformative potential of investing in safety, not only for individual properties but also for broader communities. 

This case study exemplifies that safety is an investment in both the physical properties and the people who call them home, aligning closely with the core mission of the affordable housing industry: to create value not just in physical improvements, but in the hearts and lives of the residents.

Jason Bordainick is co-founder and managing partner of Hudson Valley Property Group.