Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Background Checks – Why You Should Be On Board

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Background checkThe use of tenant screening, more commonly referred to as “background checks,” is consistently growing in popularity throughout multi-family apartment leasing. These days just about every landlord and property manager utilize some sort of credit and rental history screening process for the financially-responsible party, but the additional integration of criminal background checks for residents is becoming just as commonplace. In the past 24 months, Preferred Corporate Housing has seen a significant increase in our partner communities requiring specific guest information for each occupant so that criminal background checks can be performed. While each property management company has it’s own criteria used to evaluate applicants, PCH has found that communities are relying on guidelines and recommendations from their local civil authorities. With many states, municipalities and federal agencies like Homeland Security integrating legislation requiring the tracking of criminal offenders and sexual predators, apartment communities may be required by local law to perform these tenant screenings.

“PCH provided our fully furnished apartments in all 50 U.S. states in 2016, and we’ve seen an uptick in background checks/tenant screening processes in every state we serviced,” said Anna Schoephoerster, Senior National Account Executive for Preferred Corporate Housing. “This is a welcome trend for our clients from our perspective because even though it may cause a bit more paperwork on the front-end, added criminal screenings is a way to improve safety across the board for our corporate clients,” said Schoephoerster.

Another reason multi-families are adding these types of criminal screenings to their leasing process is in effort to eliminate “negligent leasing.” This is a widely used term in the multi-family rental industry used to describe a rental situation go awry due to lack of due diligence and pre-screening on the part of the community management. Negligent leasing is a real concern today as properties can potentially avoid theft, violence and damages by simply running a criminal history check on guests before accepting them to their property. Fair Housing laws require that if any screening of this nature is performed on one potential resident, it must be applied to all potential residents across the board.

“We prefer to place our corporate clients at communities that require these type of criminal screenings for guests because it adds a bit more peace-of-mind about the neighborhood,” said Megan Margetusakis, Director of Operations for PCH. “Our clients have an expectation of safety when they stay with us, and while we can’t guarantee that crime won’t happen, we can do our due diligence to reduce the risk by placing them in communities with resident screening requirements.”

Although resident screening services can potentially weed out unwanted, potentially dangerous neighbors, many corporate clients have balked at the requirements to provide the personal information needed to complete these screenings for their corporate travelers. This hesitancy is not due to fear that their employees will not pass the screenings, but rather protection of their employees’ personally identifiable information. Drivers License numbers, date of birth, and even social security numbers are often required for these screenings. International travelers may even be asked to provide copies of their passports.

“The most important thing for corporate travel and mobility managers to understand when it comes to resident screening requirements is that we must abide by the community requirements when placing your employees in our furnished apartments,” said Margetusakis. “Because of Fair Housing and other local laws, we do not have the ability waive these requirements on a case by case basis for any guest or employee. What we can offer are secure ways to provide the required personal information that doesn’t violate the company’s PII policy and/or place the employee at risk for PII exposure.” said Margetusakis.

Tenant screening, background checks, criminal history review…they are all here to stay, and it is highly-likely that their inclusion in rental approval processes will continue to gain popularity throughout the country. Corporate Travel and Mobility Managers should be prepared to counsel their employees on this requirement and talk through best-practices and safe methods for providing the necessary personal information for these screenings.

7 Tips for Safe and Stress-Free Holiday Travel

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Everyone knows that winter and holiday travel can be extremely stressful, and like most, I tend to forget basic common sense when I am in extremely stressful situations. The team at Preferred Corporate Housing want everyone to enjoy their holiday trips, so we’ve compiled a list of tips for those of you who will be leaving home during this time of hustle and bustle.

1. If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, consider hiring a home-sitter. If you have trusted neighbors who will be home for the holidays, enlist their help in keeping an eye on your place while you are gone. If you live in an apartment, contact your PCH Account Manager to let them know when you will be away, and also speak to the onsite office staff as well. Many communities offer complimentary plant watering and dog walking services, so check in with them before you leave.

2. Lock up – This seems so obvious, but hey…we’ve all got a lot on our minds during this season of hustle and bustle. Locking your home makes it less attractive to opportunistic burglars. If you don’t make it easy, there’s a better chance that when you get home, your house will be in the same condition as when you left it.

3. Be cautious with your social media posts – Don’t broadcast your whereabouts on Facebook or Twitter at every stop you make. Although we would like to think that our connections on social media are friends and acquaintances, we don’t need everyone to know that we are away from our home.

4. If you are traveling by plane, plan to leave your home at least an hour earlier than usual. Winter weather, holiday shopping traffic and forgetting to pack Aunt Mildred’s gift can all result in delays to your schedule. If you start out with extra time, you are less likely to turn into a super stress ball when something unexpected pops up.

5. Stay hydrated for your journey – Another one of those tips that seems so simple, but is often overlooked. Even slight dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased alertness which sounds like a recipe for disaster on your holiday trip. Remember to drink plenty of water as often as you can.

6. If you are driving to your holiday destination – pack a winter car safety kit. Cell phone, car charger, ice scraper, tow rope, jumper cables, cat littler (helps to provide traction in the snow), blankets, crank-powered flashlights, matches, emergency candles, first aid kit, portable radio, granola bars or other snacks and a good book in case you do get stuck. Recent unexpected snow storms in Dallas caused people to be stuck in their cars on the freeway for 30+ hours. Make sure you are prepared if something like that were to happen to you.

7. Don’t forget to pack a smile! This is one of those rainbows and flowers type tips, but it really does help. If you start your trip with a smile and try very hard to keep it there, you are more likely to enjoy yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff, find humor in every situation and enjoy the journey!

From all of us at Preferred Corporate Housing, we wish you safe travels and Happy Holidays!

Companies rely on Corporate Housing to Gain Control of Travel Budgets

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

A recent article posted on www.management.travel, discussed how adding corporate housing services to Corporate Travel Departments can save companies double-digit percentages and provide employees with better accommodations that offer all of the comforts of home. In the article, Michelle De Costa, global travel manager at Sapient, said that having a firmer grasp on corporate housing became a must after her company begin growing rapidly, and they increased the number of employees they were sending out for temporary projects. She said that having corporate apartments was “generally a better solution for that type of situation than an extended-stay hotel.”

Typically used for a 30-day minimum stay, corporate apartments are generally less expensive, Sapient’s US average daily corporate apartment rate was $91 compared with $189 for hotels, and corporate apartments offer additional amenities that create a ‘home-like’ feel. Corporate apartments offer fully furnished accommodations in residential areas and amenities that include full-sized kitchens with all the necessary appliances and cookware, double and sometimes triple the amount of living space of a typical hotel room, more privacy than a hotel can offer, and the ability to custom design any additional services and amenities that you might need.

If you are a travel manager looking for additional ways to gain control of your budget, or if your company is looking to expand on its travel service offerings, explore the benefits that corporate housing can provide. Visit www.corporates.com for additional information or to request a custom housing proposal tailored to your specific needs.

Apartment Living Safety Tips from Preferred Corporate Housing

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Preferred Corporate Housing offers fully furnished, temporary apartments in more than 10,000 cities across the United States, and we would like to offer these safety tips to make sure our guests are prepared for apartment living. While we do our best to offer the safest apartments in low-crime areas, all crime and emergencies cannot be prevented. These tips will help lessen the likelihood of you becoming a target, and will help you be prepared in the event of an emergency.

1. Purchase Renter’s Insurance – This will protect your belongings in the event of a fire, theft, or inclimate weather that may occur. It is also a good idea to inventory the description, serial number, and cost of your valuables. Take photos as well.

2. Lock your door – This may seem like common sense, but we’ve all done it. Never leave your door unlocked, even if you are just going to the mailbox, taking out the trash, or taking Fido for a short walk. Remember, criminals are looking for the easiest opportunity. Also, don’t leave a spare key outside under a door mat or potted plant. Not only are these ‘hiding’ places easily discovered, but this is also against most Apartment Community policies.

3. Never open your door to a stranger – Ask all utility/repair men to provide identification before opening the door. If there is no peephole, have the repairman slip the ID under the door so you can check it out. If you are still uncertain, call the telephone number on the badge to verify their information.

4. Check Smoke Detectors/Alarms – Make sure they are functioning properly and that the batteries are still good. If your apartment does not have a smoke detector, or it is malfunctioning contact your apartment manager immediately.

5. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle – Because of the large amount of vehicles in one area, apartment parking lots are a target for vandalism. To avoid damage to your car, do not leave valuable items within visibility. Keep doors locked at all times and park in well lighted areas if possible.

6. Be aware of evacuation routes and information resources in the event a fire or natural disaster should affect your area. Area Emergency Planning Information, local radio stations, and non-emergency police phone numbers are good things to have on hand.

Once again, Preferred Corporate Housing strives to provide housing options in safe, low-crime communities, and we are confident that these simple tips will go a long way to ensure your safety and well-being as a guest with us.