The year 2018 will probably be remembered differently for landlords versus renters. Housing was in short supply relative to demand, rents were high, and applications were competitive. Appraised values were way up, interest rates were still low, and many renovations and upgrades were completed.
It’s interesting to think, if we hadn’t constrained our buildings with zoning, if we hadn’t scared new landlords away with eviction horror stories, how much more rental housing we might have created this past year? The Commonwealth desperately needs to free the housing market to work for all of its residents, during boom times especially. This is the kind of policy input MassLandlords has provided and will continue to offer.
As far as MassLandlords itself was concerned, 2018 gave us a significant headwind, but we pushed through it.
A legacy landlord group stated definitively that they would sue us, declined our offer to mediate and settle, and then smeared our name in front of hundreds of owners over the subsequent months. Paid membership was broadly flat. We lost three team members due to the complexity of working in a virtual company.
But 2018 was not without significant progress. Our free subscriber base grew 26%, to over 4,400. Our per member revenue/donations grew 8%. We hired more than we lost, with less effort, and with better alignment between individual and association goals. And the Berkshire and Northern Worcester County groups joined MassLandlords.
Most significantly, we released our Directory Revamp. This now allows owners and service providers to create and maintain their own profiles. Our system of matching you with owner recommendations by business size and type is unlike anything at Angie’s List or elsewhere.
The Directory Revamp is the foundation for our lookup service, which we aim to have online this summer. Responsible, compliant landlords deserve to stand out in a crowded marketplace. This is what we will do. Your commitment to continuing education and ethical business practices will be available for you to showcase, if you choose. MassLandlords members can govern the rental industry the way bar associations and medical boards govern their own professions.
In this way, by showing everyone what good rental operations look like, we can effect the policy reforms that are desperately needed to create better rental housing in Massachusetts.
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