Online buying clogs apartment buildings with parcels

Miami /
Nov.November 01, 2015 10:00 AM

Online shopping and apartment living are popular trends on a collision course as packages pile up in management offices at rental properties.

One major landlord has stopped accepting deliveries rather than provide temporary storage while contacting tenants to pick up their packages.

Houston-based Camden Property Trust, the nation’s 14th largest landlord by number of units, has stopped taking delivery of parcels at all of its 169 properties nationwide, including eight in South Florida.

According to its website, Camden has apartment buildings in Aventura, Boca Raton, the Brickell area of Miami, Doral, Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas area, Plantation and Pembroke Pines.

Camden introduced the no-deliveries policy earlier this year and put fully implemented it in summer.

The company last year accepted delivery of almost a million packages, and the number has been increasing by 50 percent a year. Camden has about 59,000 rental units in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

Camden’s management estimated that handling deliveries for apartment tenants was costing the company about $3.3 million a year in lost productivity.

Forrester Research expects U.S. retail sales online to increase to $334 billion this year, compared with $263 billion in 2013, and to hit $480 billion in 2019.

The number of renter households in the United States has increased annually since 2004 by an average of 770,000, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

AvalonBay Communities, the 10th largest U.S. apartment operator, tried installing electronic lockers at about 12 properties. Delivery workers leave parcels in a locker and tenants receive a code to open the locker.

Equity Residential, the largest publicly traded apartment operator, has limited the height and weight of delivered packages to make handling them easier. Equity Residential, which has 108,000 apartments, expects to receive three million packages this year.

Dave Santee, chief operating officer of Equity Residential, told the Wall Street Journal the company set the package limits after “I went to a property and saw a wooden crate that had about a five-foot statue in it and weighed about 500 pounds. We kind of said 50 pounds is about as much as we will go.” [Wall Street Journal] — Mike Seemuth


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