As residents in Campus Apartments’ communities pack up to leave for the holiday, on-site staff prepare to do preventative maintenance while most units are empty. Miles Orth, executive vice president and chief operating officer with Campus Apartments, shares some of the company’s top priorities while many communities are virtually empty.
What are the top things you focus on as you head into winter break?
The focus for us is on the safety and security of our residents, their belongings and our property. In that order. Because we’re in the student housing space, many if not most of our students leave for the holiday break. In some locations, they’re gone for as long as a month.
So we’re looking to make sure that well in advance of them leaving, they prepare their units by securing their belongings or taking their valuables with them, or at least putting them in a safe place inside the apartment. We also ask them to make sure they lock their windows and bring down their blinds.
A lot of these things might seem obvious, but they’re finishing their finals, and they’ve got a lot of things going on. They’re there to succeed in school. So there’s a certain amount of expectation that things just happen for them. The reality is that thieves do prey on college students, so it’s a way for us to remind them to take the necessary precautions.
What else do you ask vacating students to do to their units?
We’re looking for them to leave their temperature setting at the right level and make sure to have at least one faucet in their apartment that’s dripping. Typically those things don’t get well managed, so we’ll go back into the apartment after they’ve left to make sure it’s been taken care of and then we’ll leave a note saying we were in your apartment, these are some things we’ve done, and we’ll also spend that time doing preventative maintenance work on the apartment building.
What does it look like over break? Are you operating on a skeleton crew?
We operate on a full crew, minus any holiday breaks or vacation time. And for those students who remain, whether they are international students or they have a job, we’ll have events in our clubhouse that might include food or an activity of some kind to provide them some outlet so they are engaging with each other, so we’re essentially facilitating opportunities for them to get together.
At holiday time, we’re doing necessary things from a preventative maintenance standpoint. We do quarterly inspections through the year, and go into every unit to make sure that we’re assessing damages, repairing things, but at the holidays, it’s really about securing the apartment unit.
Making sure that our property and their property are secured and that the temperature is at the right level, the faucet is dripping, etc.
We view the holidays as a time for our on-site management team to demonstrate how we look out for our residents. We try to show our residents we’re looking out for them by servicing their needs.