Recently we have received feedback from some of our members that the multitude of categories in the Connect Forum are making the forum too complicated. We are responding to this feedback by refining the Connect Forum into three categories.
These categories will be “Best Practices and Residential Rental Laws”, “Repairs, Referrals, and Recommendations”, and “Open Discussion”. We anticipate that most questions will fall into the “Open Discussion” category, while specific questions regarding rental housing laws should be directed to the “Best Practices and Residential Rental Laws”. Lastly, if members would like to ask about recommendations for vendors or contractors those questions will fall under the “Repairs, Referrals, and Recommendations” page. This page can also be used if a member needs tips on how to maintain their property themselves. This update will streamline the Connect forum experience and we hope it will foster greater participation on the forum generally.
Since the implementation of these changes, we have seen an uptick in the number of members engaging on our Connect forum. However, we would like to encourage all our members to check in on the Connect forum regularly in order for our members to act as resources to each other. While RHAWA is consistently producing educational materials and engaging in the Support Center to help members resolve specific issues, the input of members regarding personal experiences is incredibly valuable to both RHAWA and our membership as a whole. The experience of every member is unique, which means there will be a variety of problems members will encounter and a variety of unique solutions to these problems as well. This is why it is so important for our members to engage with each other; the experience of members can inform the experiences and practices of all members. This concept is exemplified by the Best Practices and Residential Rental Laws section of the forum. Members can discuss rental laws and ask questions of whether or not they are in compliance with rental codes. This can also be a good place for members to vent to other members about their experiences dealing with the multitude of rental housing laws in Washington state. It is important to keep in mind that the recommendations and interpretations of other members is not legal advice and should always be taken with a grain of salt. We look forward to seeing our members discuss rental housing laws and our staff will occasionally engage with posts when necessary.
While sharing knowledge with other members is a crucial part of the connect forum, it is not the only aspect of the forum that can be helpful. The Repairs and Recommendations portion of the Connect Forum is a great way to get recommendations for specific vendors that have provided exceptional service to other members. Some members may be in need of niche services that could be difficult to find on other platforms, however, the connect forum will connect you directly with our vendor members on the forum who can offer their services or provide a recommendation. Moreover, many of our members take a more DIY approach to renovating and repairing their rental property. In these instances, the Connect Forum will provide a space where members can bounce ideas off each other in order to figure out what methods of repair have worked in the past. The repairs section of the forum will also be helpful to share thoughts on common methods of DIY repair that may have caused issues for members in the past.
The Connect forum is already an incredible resource for our members, but we are consistently working on improving the system. As mentioned earlier, the streamlining of the categories on the forum has increased engagement. There will also be a visual refresh of the forum which will be coming along with an overhaul of our website. Both of these changes are meant to make the forum more useful and usable for our members.
Ultimately, I want to encourage all of our members who haven’t yet checked out the Connect Forum to stop in and leave a few comments or make a post. The more members who engage on the forum, the more valuable the forum is for everyone. You will also see staff engaging on the forum in order to bolder discussion or add clarification, but remember, the Support Center is your resource if you want to specifically ask our staff a question.