In the spring of 2020, as the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down the state, thousands of Alaskans lost their jobs, sending shock waves through the rental market. Almost overnight, many Alaskans couldn’t pay their rent. And, in some cases, their landlords found themselves unsure of how to work with programs designed to keep Alaskans in safe housing.
While there were funds available to pay up to 12 months’ rent, many landlords did not know how to help their tenants qualify for the funds or how to deal with the moratorium on evictions. For these and others, The Landlord’s Almanac — Alaska became an online lifeline. It became a place where landlords could go and say: “Hey I need advice; how can I get help?”
The Landlord’s Almanac Alaska is a virtual community that started with a small group of real estate investors and landlords sitting around a kitchen table. As the community grew, we turned to Facebook to help accommodate the increasing number of people interested in joining. Since its inception in 2016, the Facebook group now numbers 1,300 landlord and real estate professionals.
The online platform allows landlords from all backgrounds to come together to participate in a friendly and helpful forum with the goal of educating each other on best practices, regulations, and general advice. The idea is to provide landlords with the tools to create really good, quality, affordable housing for the public.
According to the American Community Survey, there were an estimated 90,266 renter-occupied units in Alaska in 2021 and many of the people who own those properties don’t necessarily have a background in real estate management or with being a landlord — and many of them have another job. The Landlord’s Almanac Alaska provides a safe and accessible forum for landlords to ask questions, seek advice, and help others.
Many of those who engage in discussions on the Facebook page are seasoned mentors like Michele Raven. She’s been a landlord in Alaska for more than 20 years, and she’s considered a “group expert” on The Landlord’s Almanac Facebook page.
Raven, who lives in McCarthy, said she sees helping her peers as an important step in building better communities.
“The idea is to lift people up and help them be quality landlords,” said Raven.
Raven said she tries to approach her job as a landlord with empathy and excellent communication, and she shares that wisdom with others.
“If you treat your renters well and establish a compassionate relationship with your renters, they’ll care about you and the rental,” said Raven.
Realtor and landlord Matt Miller is also a frequent contributor to the group — in fact, his participation goes back as far as the original gathering at the kitchen table.
“I love helping out new landlords like people helped me,” said Miller.
Miller said he sees strength in numbers; the online group allows Alaska’s landlord community to bounce ideas off each other — and to help each other avoid making expensive mistakes. They stop short of offering legal advice, focusing instead on shared experiences and lessons learned.
The topics they discuss are varied. During one recent week, they ranged from questions about a gas bill to how to qualify new renters to how to get a reluctant renter out of a unit with mold issues.
The Landlord’s Almanac is a safe place for landlords to have a conversation and obtain resources to become a better manager for their investments. But the ultimate goal is to help raise the bar on service and knowledge around the topic of Property Management so we can all enjoy a great investment. We believe education is power and the key to improving property management in our state.
If you are a landlord in Alaska, you can join the conversation by visiting The Landlord’s Almanac. There are no fees and the rules for admission are simple: No promotions or spam, be kind and courteous, and no promotion of breaking laws or being a slumlord.
Kassandra Taggert and Eric Bolton own Real Property Management Services in Anchorage, Alaska. She is the founder and group administrator for the Facebook page, The Landlord Almanac – Alaska.