Everyone can agree that establishing a feeling of community in your building is a worthwhile goal, but creating those bonds of friendship between neighbours can be challenging, not to mention a burden on regular property management responsibilities.

Apartment Life helps apartment owners establish community in a real and meaningful way.

I was first introduced to Apartment Life and its work in the United States, but am glad that since 2019, the organization has been operating here in Canada, specifically in Alberta.

It tackles a challenge not often considered, and the group’s unique approach yields tremendous result for property owners. So much so, that I just had to share this . . . 

Apartment owners choose to engage Apartment Life for increased resident retention, decreased turnover rates, positive tenant reviews, improved word-of-mouth marketing and, ultimately, the increased level of satisfaction and trust between residents and management.

Witten Advisors, a data-driven research company, surveyed 949 residents and 96 staff members in 24 communities that have offered the Apartment Life program.

The results of their survey showed Apartment Life added approximately $188,154 in annual financial benefit to the average community through reduced turnover of residents and staff and increased leasing. The full report can be found here.

Apartment Life in motion . . . 

Here’s how it works: Apartment owners can choose either to have Apartment Life co-ordinators live onsite or offsite.

In the case of onsite co-ordinators, the landlord would provide a two-bedroom unit for the co-ordinators to live in; usually they are a married couple. The co-ordinators would work 15-20 hours/week in their role.

In the case of offsite co-ordinators, they would be paid an hourly wage.

In either program, the main components include welcome visits for all new residents, renewal visits and fantastic events.

Welcome visits give co-ordinators a chance to meet new residents as well as identify any concerns with the move-in experience to make sure that management is able to correct or remedy any issues the tenant might have faced.

Renewal visits are made in the month leading up to lease renewal time. These allow co-ordinators to learn of any issues that might prevent a tenant from renewing, with enough time for management to try to address them.

Aside from these visits, one of the most impactful and visible responsibilities of co-ordinators is to run two social events per month for the apartment residents.

With an event budget included in the cost of the program, these events are well done and could range from a seasonal St. Patrick’s Day Party to a mixology class, games night, or a coffee and donut bar.

Whatever the event, the purpose is to entice residents to come and enjoy the event and hopefully make some new friends.

Co-ordinators make a habit of trying to connect residents based on common interests and hobbies so that hopefully the friendships formed will be continued beyond just the event.

The last and perhaps most unique aspect of co-ordinators’ roles is what they call Acts of Care.

As a non-profit, faith-based organization, everyone who chooses to become an Apartment Life co-ordinator is looking for ways to serve their community and show their care for each individual person in the building.

With loneliness becoming a growing problem that has profound physical, emotional and spiritual effects, Apartment Life co-ordinators seek to ensure each person in the building knows are valuable and cared for, and that they can experience love and community in the place they live through authentic relationships.

Sometimes this is shown by offering to help someone with mobility issues with their groceries, or making visits to new moms or those with illnesses. Other times, it might be an early-morning drive to the airport.

One time, co-ordinators waited in the underground garage entry and offered to wash residents’ cars at the end of winter when salt and grime had taken their toll on vehicles.

Impacting communities

Being non-profit and faith-based may seem unusual in the realm of multifamily real estate, but it is this aspect of Apartment Life that makes the programs unique and successful.

Co-ordinators are looking to make a real impact in apartment communities, rather than just earn a paycheque.

Apartment Life is founded on the Christian faith, yet there is no faith aspect in any of the programs, events or visits. Co-ordinators are trained in event planning, community building and marketing.

The programs are all about fun social interaction, which leads to forming authentic relationships, retention and happy long-term residents.

Apartment Life started in the U.S.A. but is currently onsite at multiple properties in Alberta.

I, for one, hope to see their continued expansion into apartment communities nation-wide.