Letter from the Executive Director for January 2018

In 2018 we will be starting MassLandlords Phase II. I’ll give the background and then set out our goals for this new year.

We launched in February 2014. At that time, and still today, most groups had separate websites for their regions. The Worcester Property Owners Association rebuilt their website and created the “MassLandlords” brand. They took this step after it became clear that the existing state-wide group was interested primarily in policy, less in services to members.

The neighboring group to the south, SWCLA, invited Worcester to present what we were doing. So we did, and offered them a service contract whereby their members would get access to our forms and everything else we planned to do. In a relatively short time, groups in Cambridge, Springfield, and Marlborough signed contracts. We jumped up in membership. And then progress slowed dramatically.

Over the last two years, I have met with many passionate, capable landlord groups across the Commonwealth to discuss service contracts:

Three groups have a contract offer but haven’t said yes or no to it. One group didn’t get to the point of a contract offer. Two more groups didn’t get to the point of a meeting. One group had a contract, terminated it without a plan, and their members are signing up with us directly. RHAGS had a contract, terminated it with a great plan, and seamlessly transferred operations to us. Two final groups, Charles River and Holyoke, never wanted a contract and just asked their members to join us directly.

Whatever the story, it’s clear that the service contract has saturated the market. We will continue our existing contracts as long as anyone wants, and we might sign one that has been offered, but at this point, we’re ending marketing and negotiation for them.

Service contracts might have pulled together a critical mass of resources across the state. But as it turns out, we now have that critical mass even without service contracts. Owners and managers sign up with us directly, regardless of where they are. And we have as much revenue as we imagined we’d have with just seven of the 23 groups that are out there.

So with MassLandlords Phase II, we will start marketing to owners and managers directly. And we’ll focus on recurring operations, creating new services aimed at performing a part of a rental business. We have an affiliation to collect rent online for low-tech, high-touch tenants. We are also working on projects we call “hotline” and “lookup,” which we’ll discuss more later.

We’ll update you as we make progress. As always, thank you for your support and tell a friend, we’re on to great things.

Doug Quattrochi

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