San Diego’s IREM Works to Boost Housing, Industry Jobs Q&A with Lucinda Lilley
IREM San Diego president-elect and vice president, FBS Property Management
Q: IREM’s mission includes a focus on the multifamily sector as well as other types of commercial facilities. What is your organization doing to alleviate California’s dire housing shortage? And do you foresee any relief on the horizon?
The Institute of Real Estate Management is legislatively active on the Federal, State, and Local levels, to advocate for the rights of real property owners. Our International President, Mr. Don Wilkerson, CPM®, was recently quoted in an article, “A Clear Vision for the ‘Swamp’,” discussing IREM’s grassroots effort as providing a valuable industry voice – as congressional members returned to their home states for the recent recess, IREM urged
members to visit their representatives for talks on the policy concerns of the industry.
Our San Diego Chapter partners with other Professional and Trade organizations to address issues like our housing shortage. Examples include: California Business Properties Association, The National Apartment Association, San Diego County Apartment Association, Building Owners and Managers Association, and HUD. There exists among groups closest to the shortages that we must build our way out of this crisis. In San Diego alone, the San Diego Housing Commission says the city would need to build on average as many as 22,000 housing units per year for the next decade. Sadly, in 2017, only 10,000 units were authorized countywide.
We know that the shortage of housing starts has much to do with the costs and delays involved in the development of new product. We urge State and Local government to reduce regulation and costs in an effort to stimulate the building of more dense housing to catch up and keep up with the demand. With continued focus on support to build
more housing, we are hopeful that this crisis will be overcome. It will take time, but we have to keep forging ahead.
Q: Does your IREM Chapter make an effort to influence local government decisions in the San Diego area? What are the results?
Our San Diego Chapter along with our industry partners address issues like our housing shortage. Each has a legislative committee and respective lobbyist who visit our local, state, and national legislators each year. We look to make our voices heard and add depth to our industry as a whole, shedding light on and sharing examples of what is happening in their districts. We are the experts that understand the daily challenges from both sides, and we look to not only have that voice but to also be a resource for our legislators when they are presented with bills that will affect our industry.
Q: Since your IREM Chapter is on the Mexican border, and therefore greatly impacted by immigration issues, what do your building owners and managers perceive as sensible immigration policies affecting people who work in your area?
IREM was founded in 1933 with our Code of Ethics as its Cornerstone. Article 10 of the Code states that “A member shall at all times conduct business and personal activities with knowledge of and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.” Article 11 requires that we provide equal employment and professional services to all persons. With that said, we believe that our legislators should be able to come up with some sensible action that allows law abiding people of any race or ethnicity the opportunities our Constitution guarantees.
Q: What is your IREM Chapter doing to grow?
IREM offers a variety of types of memberships in an effort to serve anyone interested in the business of Real Estate Management: Certified Property Manager, Accredited Residential Manager, Accredited Commercial Manager, Associate, Student, Academic, and for Real Estate Management Companies, The Accredited Management Organization Accreditation. We are able to offer everyone an opportunity to be involved with IREM at a cost that they can afford.
Our Student Outreach program introduces college students to property management through IYP – IREM Young Professionals. IYP provides education and social networking opportunities in a casual and fun environment. The events are specifically created to encourage students, young professionals and others interested in property management to learn more about the real estate management industry and IREM.
Additionally, we partner with other Trade and Professional Organizations to provide services to memberships other than ours.
Q: What is the biggest threat to your industry these days, and what can be done to alleviate it?
Looking beyond the immediate need of more housing, I think that there are two big threats to our industry: workforce and government regulation.
As other industries are looking to streamline their industries with robots and machines, we have a real opportunity to showcase the careers that are available within the real estate industry. We are a business based on fiduciary relationships. Robots will never be able to manage relationships and we will always need a strong workforce of bright and compassionate people. If we are not finding, sourcing and educating our next generation of leaders that understand the importance of relationships, our situation will continue to worsen.
On the other hand technologies to create real time communication between people and buildings is exploding.
Government regulations often serve to threaten the rights of owners of real estate – whether threats of rent control, repeal of Cost Hawkins in California, expansion of just cause eviction, threats to a property owner’s ability to remove their property from the rental market, threats to the funding and rules of Federally Assisted housing, inability to build – we have a responsibility to educate our legislators and voters to prevent government over reach.
Q: Is commercial real estate doing an effective job to recruit new people to the industry?
There are an increasing number of Colleges and Universities that are offering Real Property Management as a degree program. IREM has done an excellent job of outreach through participation in the Real Estate Societies and other on campus groups to introduce ourselves as a valuable choice in consideration of a successful career development vehicle. As stated earlier, it is important that we continue to develop strong relationships to provide quality management, leasing, and housing to all persons.
Our International Organization has just rebranded and is in the throws of a large scale marketing effort to showcase our organization to the next generation of managers— both as an educational resource and for career growth as well. IREM: For Those Who Manage to Make a Difference.