My son came home from college for the weekend and we got a quick chance to catch up. There have been a few things
I have asked him to do lately, and I wanted to know if he had gotten to any of them.

To get his attention, I asked him to PLEASE put down his iphone for a minute, so we could actually talk.

This is something which is nearly impossible to do. So I have learned to talk to him with an ever-present blue glow on his forehead while he remains perpetually immersed in cyberspace typing something at hyper-speed with his thumbs.

I told him that I emailed him a copy of his tax return.
He told me that he never checks email.
I let him know his refund could be mailed to him.
He let me know he never goes to his post office box.
I reminded him that I called and left him a message to explain all this.
He reminded me that he never listens to voicemail.

So he has no email; no snail mail; no voice mail, yet he spends 24 hours a day on his “smart phone?” What could he be doing without these normal apps? He looked at me as if to say “are you kidding??”

Text, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, Sports updates, Photos.

My first impulse is to consider him a misguided youth. He doesn’t seem to be concerned with what’s important in this world. Then in a flash, I got it.

He is concerned – but this is his world now. Maybe, I mused, the truth could be that our world is changing. A new normal… Maybe I’m being left in the past? Next Gen is here.

(Wow, I wonder, is that why AARP seems to start at so young now? I mean 50? C’mon! Who thinks of that as old age! I’m 64. But when the Beatles wrote that song “When I’m 64” they were talking about OLD people, not people like me. It’s so surreal, as if time just keeps marching on…)

Anyway… I am watching as our industry is turning Next Gen too. And I am similarly disoriented by all that is happening within the rental housing business. There used to be some simple landlord rules. Nowadays things aren’t so crystal clear. In fact, if you are managing a rental with the following list as a guideline – beware! You may be walking in the past. Things like:

Charging market rent.
Screening the applicants thoroughly.
Only renting to those who qualify.
Allowing or not allowing pets, as desired.
Collecting a proper security deposit to insure against future issues.
Choosing to sign a lease or a month to month agreement.
Determining if the tenant should stay orleave at the renewal date.
Terminating a rental agreement if it is not working out anymore.
Raising the rent if desired.
Doing the maintenance and repairs that are necessary.
Electing not to do what is deemed unnecessary.
Requiring the tenant have insurance that cover their negligence.
Billing the tenants for damages that they cause.
Making sure they don’t keep repeating the same problems over and over…

It all seems normal, but there is a new normal emerging. To know if you are participating in today’s real-world rental market, here are a few test questions:

What is wrong with anything on this list?
If your answer is “nothing” it may mean you are not aware of Next Gen rental property management, and you are
beginning your descent into an obsolete past.
How do you feel about Tenants’ rights?
If you have an attitude that is not positive, it may mean it’s time for you to re-boot your mainframe ideologies.
Are you kidding me??
If you asked this, it’s time to get more involved with Rental Housing Alliance Oregon, and learn.
Lastly, is there an app for any of this?
Maybe – but it could require learning to type with two thumbs at 90 words a minute while listening to rap music and
taking selfies. At least, that’s what my son is doing now.

Ron Garcia
President, RHA Oregon