Property Management Experience

A family attends a resident event at English Village in Longmont

Since 1989, Thistle has been providing stewardship of our affordable rental portfolio through quality property management. Thistle’s rental program addresses the ongoing need for affordable rental homes in Boulder County where the median price for a single-family home has increased to $912,800 in the City of Boulder, which is out of reach for working families. (IRES MLS stats for June 2017)  We are committed to families and individuals who earn low incomes in Boulder County and who want to live and work and contribute to their communities.

Thistle’s property management team is highly regarded by local real estate professionals. Our reputation for timely lease-up of new construction projects, empathetic property management and reporting competence has allowed us to offer third-party management services to other affordable housing providers, including Element Properties and Trinity Church. We offer housing to the clients of human services providers such as Attention Homes, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Bridge House.

•  We are one of the few landlords in Boulder County which accepts Section 8 vouchers and supports this vulnerable and extremely low-income population. Section 8 vouchers are utilized by the elderly, disabled and low-income households.

Sunflower Mural
Mural at Fairways Apartments funded by Open Studios, Boulder County Arts grant and Matt Cohn

•  Our focus on resident relations allows us to get to know many of our residents personally.
•  Of Thistle households, 67% of families have at least one employed adult.
•  In 2016, the average income for a Thistle household was $26,146 or 34% percent of AMI for a household of two persons. (A Thistle household averages 2 members.)
•  In 2016 Thistle’s 651 apartments housed over 1,100 people who earn up to 60% AMI or $51,240 for three.

The City of Boulder has invested over $15M in Thistle-owned assets since 1989. In the words of City of Boulder Deputy Director of Housing Kurt Firnhaber, “Thistle is a valued partner of the City and is dedicated to the mission of affordable housing in Boulder.” Thistle maintains all compliance and reporting obligations to funders and local, state and federal government agencies which have invested in our properties.

Crime Free Multi Housing logo represents a national program proven to reduce crime and improve neighborhood safety.

One critical aspect of successful property management operations is a professional and competent maintenance team. Thistle team members are hired for not only their technical skills, but also for their ability to relate to our tenant population, and the culture of the team is one of our highest priorities.


Our maintenance team has benchmarked their performance to conform with industry standards and frequently receives compliments from residents on timeliness, friendliness and professionalism. One resident commented, “Thistle takes care of their properties…I appreciate how quickly maintenance takes care of issues. I am grateful this option [Thistle] exists for my daughter and me to be able to live each month without putting every dime towards rent!”

Maintenance turn times average 10 days. The team generally responds to non-emergency maintenance requests in 24-48 hours using a real-time work order assignment system. We have specialists in plumbing, electrical, HVAC and appliance diagnosis and repair.

Property management staff has current certifications in Fair Housing, Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Compliance. Our staff is trained in empathetic management skills. We host resident events at our properties to foster a sense of community between Thistle and our residents.

Researcher Shae Frydenlund, right,  interviewing residents at Kimbark Apartments in Longmont

In December, 2015, an independent research team from the University of Colorado Geography Department surveyed Thistle residents about their views and experiences living in affordable housing in Boulder. Here is a quote from the Boulder Affordable Housing Research Initiative 2016 Report by Jennifer Fluri, Ph.D. and Shae Frydenlund, Ph.D. candidate: “Residents had an overwhelmingly positive view of Thistle Communities, citing the friendliness and timely response of management, as well as the compassion and helpfulness of staff members.  Interview data also revealed a spectrum of resident attitudes toward Thistle, all of which were positive.” Read the entire survey report here.

The average Thistle Boulder household saved approximately $5,220 per year by renting from Thistle as compared to a market rate rental; a Longmont household saved $7,308 The savings per month means that renters are better able to afford basic necessities, insurance, education and savings as well as contribute economically to their local community. Our 274 Longmont apartment homes have been certified in the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, thus improving resident safety and retention.

Thistle continues to seek out new strategies and opportunities to increase the supply of affordable housing in Boulder County.