DIY landlords looking to compete with the latest trends should consider implementing amenities for the bicyclist community. Understanding the changing cycles of the urban communities can play a strong role in your marketing and appeal to new residents. These past few years we have seen more bicycle amenity trends popping up in urban markets such as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. These trends reflect the growing desires of renters using bicycles for exercise, pleasure and alternate transportation.
Ideas for Small DIY Landlords:
- Garage space for indoor bike storage
- Install outdoor bike racks
- Install or allocate lockers for bike accessories storage
- Allocate space for bike repairs
- Information on local bike repair stores.
- Build a list of nearby neighbors and parking garages for space.
- Contact your local bike sharing system to get an updated list of locations (DIVY – Chicago)
In the past bikes were considered a nuisance to traffic and prohibited from loading on public transportation buses and trains. Now many large and small cities have come to recognize and appreciate the sustainability of this as a lifestyle choice for transportation.
One only has to read the Chicago 2020 Bike plan to see proposals for a 645-mile bicycle system that will run throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods. The overall system consists of three smaller systems: a Neighborhood Bike Routes that utilize residential streets, a Crosstown Bike Routes that use collector and arterial roadways, and Spoke Routes that connect all corners of the City to Downtown. Once the network is complete, all Chicagoans will be within 1⁄2 mile of a bicycle facility.
Chicago 2020 Bike plan’s network was developed using three key principles:
- to provide a bicycle accommodation within half-mile of every Chicagoan;
- to provide more bikeways where more people live; and
- to build more infrastructure where ridership is high, while establishing a strong backbone of infrastructure where ridership is currently lower.
Chicago has also completed a number of successful education, encouragement, and enforcement programs for bicyclists. These investments, along with social, economic and environmental factors, have led to a tremendous increase in bicycling throughout Chicago over the past decade. Chicago is now one of the top cities for bicycling in the United States. Nationwide large rental complexes hold bike workshops and providing classes and areas where residents can tune up their bikes as well as adding bike racks and sheltered storage areas with a designated area where people can fix their bikes.
The bike revolution has also swept multifamily. Shared services such as Lfyt and Uber are handling residents’ attraction to reduced auto use, and building owners are providing bicycle stations for parking, storage, and even parts and repairs. The quality and number of amenities that a multifamily building offers can often determine its rentability.
Small DIY landlords are smart to keep up and capitalize on this growing trend when marketing their vacancies.
Landlords near business districts may work with their local chamber or existing community group to submit requests to their DOT (Department of transportation) for funding on adding bike racks in the neighborhoods. If you are near a business district reach out to the planning department of your municipality. In the larger cities, the DOT prioritizes bulk rack requests (anywhere from 10 – 100+) from these groups. Start by researching the request process and help ensure your requests get noticed by teaming up with an established business association. Search your local meetup and use a variety of social media tools to pull together your own crew of like-minded bicyclists. It is always helpful to inform your local community board and reach out to nearby property or business owners to obtain a signed statement of support.
As small landlords, you can help reduce dependence on automobiles for short trips. Bicycling is often faster than driving in urban areas, and residents can cover a lot more territory than walking.
Linda Liberatore is the founder and president of My Landlord Helper—Secure Pay One, a unique virtual assistant solution for DIY real estate investors. You can read more of Linda’s work on this and other topics at www.mylandlordhelper.com.