SF Apartment : June 2017


In Full Swing

by Pam McElroy

The San Francisco Apartment Association’s Spring Fling Trade show was held Monday, April 17, 2017 at the Fort Mason Center in the Marina District. Industry professionals, property owners, and city agencies came together to network, to learn from and support each other, and to just enjoy what the SFAA had to offer. 

The vibrant and colorful ambiance of the event was a welcome reprieve from the rainy season. Gallery 308 in the Fort Mason Center was staged fittingly for the spring theme of the event. Attendees walked through aisles that were decorated with orange and yellow lilies, red roses, yellow tulips, and purple orchids, while enjoying a variety of cheeses, champagne, and Easter candy.  

Building a Support System

This year, the building was filled with a variety of vendors, from architects and engineers, to property managers and mortgage brokers. The large number and array of vendors present was intentional. One of SFAA’s goals is to help form relationships between its members and the many trustworthy and dependable SFAA vendors. Vanessa Khaleel, SFAA Deputy Director, explains, “It’s so important to have a support system in place. When a tenant calls you at three in the morning with a major plumbing issue, you don’t want to spend the next hour trying to find a 24-hour plumbing service. Ideally, you’ll have a dedicated plumbing service that you know and trust on speed dial.”

Eric Andresen, SFAA president and owner of West Coast Property Management and West Coast Property Maintenance Company, agrees: “Attendees should use the trade show to ask questions and get to know the vendors. With this, they can learn to manage their properties more efficiently and have people to turn to when they need help. The SFAA trade show is the time for members to get their specific questions answered and to get advice unique to their properties and situations.”

Maria Neumann of Water Damage Recovery says it’s all about the people. Her goal at the trade show each year is to make solid connections, and to enjoy herself while doing it. “If we make even just one good connection, attendance is worth it. Besides, it’s an especially good time and location, and the event was busy just about the entire time.”

Maria wasn’t the only one to comment on making connections at the trade show this year. According to long-time participant Michelle Li of First Foundation Bank, “We have always generated new business from SFAA trade shows. We like participating to support the SFAA and because the event is always well attended.”

And first-time attendee Veronica Rodriguez, Cole Hardware Supplies Divison Manager, found success at the trade show for similar reasons. “SFAA members and vendors who attended the trade show benefit mutually. The connections bring new customer-vendor relationships and new opportunities.”

Face Time

One thing that almost everyone can agree on is the importance of a little face time. Today’s industry requires everyone to be on the go, most of our conversations happening over email or on the phone. “The main reason we attend the trade show to is meet SFAA members and readers of the magazine. It’s always nice—and a good time—to meet members in person,” says Allison Chapleau of Paragon Commercial Brokerage.

Clifford Fried of Fried & Williams, LLP says, “While the members might read my articles in the magazine or come to hear me speak, the tradeshow allows the members to chat with me face-to-face. My trade show booth allows me to personally say ‘thank you’ to the members who have allowed my firm to provide them with legal services over the years. I like letting them know that I am still there to help them.”

And this is music to the SFAA’s ears, according to Maria Shea, SFAA Member Services director: “We hope our members build their vendor list, but we also want them to take their time and just enjoy the people and the event.”

There’s a Class for That

Attendees also had the option to attend two free educational classes. SFAA chooses the topics of the classes based on what they think readers will benefit from the most, whether it’s a new hot-button issue or an older piece of legislation members may appreciate a refresher on. Their careful scrutiny when choosing class content shows—the turnout for both classes was robust. The rooms were at capacity and the speakers were all very well received.

Greg Miller of the San Francisco Rent Board gave an informative and very thorough talk that covered everything from seismic petitions, capital improvement passthroughs, roommates and subletting, and owner move-in evictions. His talk was followed by a lively Q&A and open discussion among attendees. According to Greg Miller, “I aways enjoy participating in the annual trade show, where I get to see familiar faces from all the relationships with the landlord community I’ve maintained from my time at SFAA. Now that I’m with the Rent Board, it’s special for me to present information to this community on the Rent Board’s processes and on current and updated rules and regulations.”

Next, Jo Biel and Frank Kim of Eviction Assistance gave an invaluable talk on accepting late payments and delivering “Three-Day Notices to Cure or Quit.” They emphasized the importance of not only following the strict procedures in place, but also understanding how they work to avoid making costly and time-consuming mistakes. Jo noted that while the SFAA has brilliant forms and resources available, the classes the SFAA offers are extremely valuable in what they offer members. She explained, “We can’t cover everything in our written instructions and forms. It’s important to have these open discussions and Q&As so we can address the unique circumstances that members face. As new issues come up, we can advise members accordingly and add to or change our forms as we go through them.”

A Job Well Done

The common theme among the attendees and the SFAA staff was that the trade show this year was a success. The SFAA’s hard work in putting it together paid off. Mike Kirk, head of sales and business development at Fast Water Heater, confirms this: “The SFAA trade show presented a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with the association’s members as well as property management firms. Our property management division is the fastest-growing segment of our business, and the SFAA has been a key contributor to our success.”

Clifford Fried has a similar sentiment for the SFAA: “I attend several apartment tradeshows throughout the year and SFAA puts on the best event for residential landlords.”

According to Maria Shea of the SFAA,  “We want our members to be informed and up-to-date with what is going on in San Francisco. The trade show allows
our members an opportunity to network with vendors and share information with other members.” 

Congratulations on a job well done!

Pam McElroy is the editor of SF Apartment Magazine.