So far we’ve had a productive summer. We’ve worked down our backlog, contributed to policy, closed out the SPOA service contract, and developed new features.
We have recently run understaffed. We are probably still understaffed, but there is reason to be hopeful. The creation of our role of Information Manager, and the changes we’ve made to the way we use Asana, have resulted in a great variety of tasks being shared among the team, whereas previously they had been on my plate exclusively. The number of backlogged requests of me personally has fallen from a high of 617 on March 6, 2017, to around 30, where it has remained the last several weeks, the lowest in two years.
In July we testified at a Worcester City Council meeting in favor of the recommendations of the Task Force for Sustaining Housing-First Solutions (against Chronic Homelessness). The City’s endorsement will mean permanent attention to homelessness, as well as ground-breaking on new buildings and new, free-market subsidy, in particular, a landlord-tenant guarantee.
Last month’s newsletter analyzed Boston’s ban of short-term rentals. If you anticipate being impacted by the Boston ban, or if you have been impacted by the same ban in Cambridge, please let us know. There may be something we can do for you.
July 14 marked one year since the Small Property Owners Association terminated their service contract with MassLandlords. The lawsuit they threatened against us in March, which was entirely without merit, which they explicitly refused to mediate, and against which we are still prepared to defend, seems not to be materializing. We have now completed our obligations under the contract to serve every SPOA member until the natural expiration of their membership. We are delighted to say that over half of their members have gone out of their way to opt-in, to remain with us at some level. I think this speaks to the value of our services, and to our democratically elected board, consensus-oriented philosophy, and legal compliance.
We have developed some important new website features. If your membership lapses in the future for any reason, your web benefits will still turn off, but you will now be able to log into the site to renew. If you visit a members-only link from an email, and are not already logged in, you will no longer be redirected to the member home page, but instead you will continue to the page you wanted.
We have also made technical plans for all four of the service upgrades we want (message boards, directory, lookup, and helpline). The plan for the service provider directory has best combination of “least expense, most demand,” according to our website analytics. The new directory database has already been defined. We hope to develop the user interface soon, and start migrating data over. We will discuss this more as it becomes ready.
Thank you for your support as we build the first professionally staffed trade association for landlords in Massachusetts. Tell a friend, we’re doing great things.
Read another Letter from the Executive Director.