A Property Manager’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult Residents
- Jan 09, 2020
In a perfect world, all residents at an apartment community would pay their rent on time, be quiet and thoughtful neighbors, write positive reviews of the building without prompting, attend events, bring you homemade cookies daily, volunteer to babysit your kids, offer to chauffeur you in their Maserati, set you up on a date with their cousin Chris Hemsworth…
But, it’s not a perfect world.
And, sometimes, despite screening them, some residents are, well, less than the ideal. Here’s how property managers should deal with difficult residents.
Listen. If you have a resident who’s constantly making complaints, don’t just write them off as a someone who likes to complain for the sake of it. Just because something might not be an issue for you doesn’t mean it’s not for someone else—especially if they’re living there. That upstairs neighbor might actually be juggling bowling balls. See if there’s sometime you can do about the problem. And, sometimes, people just want to be heard.
Follow through. Maybe the problem is…you? If you say you’re going to look into an issue, make sure you do. And if there’s no solution to the problem, or it’ll take a while to resolve, then…
Communicate. Let the residents know the status of their inquiry. Maybe you said the lobby margarita machine would be installed “soon.” For you, that could mean in six months. For them, it could mean by the next Taco Tuesday. If you tell them specifics, and keep them updated, they’re less likely to storm into your office every week, heartbroken, margaritaless and demanding answers.
Have comprehensive leases. And sometimes the problem is…them. It’s smart to have documentation to point to. Like, “rent must be paid the first of the month.” Or, “there is to be no subletting or renting using sites such as Airbnb.” Or, “if you know Chris Hemsworth, you must introduce us.” That way if the renter breaks one of the rules, you can point to the lease, and even evict the person if it comes to that.
Be nice. Look, we sometimes get pushed to the point where we want to tell someone to go back to their apartment with the horse they rode in on. But that is never constructive. Plus, you’d get in trouble, and is really worth getting in trouble over that resident? Be professional. Then, when you get home, you can scream whatever curses you want to the wall as you imagine their face. I’d go with a British one. Then you sound fancy. Or posh, as they would say. La di da!