How Your Residents are Like Family (And How to React to Them)

An apartment community is like a big family, and, ...

An apartment community is like a big family, and, like a family, residents often play certain roles. And, just like how, growing up, I knew that during long car trips if I slapped my own leg and yelled “Ow!” I could get my younger brother yelled at, if you know which roles your residents are playing, you’ll know how to react to them and keep them happy in the community.

The Baby—This resident needs to be coddled. He’ll call you to change a light bulb. Or to put up a painting. Or if he’s missing a sock from the laundry. So what should you do? If his request falls under something in your job description (or sometimes, if it doesn’t), even if it’s menial and could probably be done by the resident himself, go up there and take care of it. He’s not trying to annoy you; he just doesn’t know any better! If it’s really something that he should be doing on his own, help him with the request, while showing him how to do it and explaining why in the future it might be something he can take care of himself. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

The Middle Child—Tattletale! This resident will call to tell you that her upstairs neighbor sound like they’re listening to dubstep while double-dutch jumping rope wearing the Iron Man costume. And every day will be something different about another neighbor. So what should you do? When you get the complaint, tell her you’ll look into it. And then look into it. If there’s a problem, let the offending neighbor know and that they need to stop. But, if you find the complains are baseless, listen sympathetically anyway, even if there’s nothing you can do. Just the fact that you’re listening will make this resident feel better.

The Teenager—This is the resident whom the “middle child” has a problem with—throwing parties, having different people coming in and out of the apartment all the time, blasting really bad music at all hours that you just wouldn’t understand because no one else has ever felt this way before in the history of the world. So what should you do? If things are going on that are against house rules, you’re going to have to lay down the law. Make a point to talk to this resident about what was done wrong, and why they shouldn’t do itit is irritating their neighbors, it could create an unsafe environment, and Mumford & Sons are lame. But, tell them that this doesn’t make them a bad resident, they’ve just made some bad choices.

The Shady UncleOnly pays his rent in cash. And you’re pretty sure he got the money through some unsavory means. So what should you do? Keep an eye on him. If you smell a chemical smell coming from the apartment, or have any other indication that he’s breaking the law while on your property, it might be time to show some tough love. And, before you even lease the apartment, make sure you’re doing some resident screening to make sure there were no past instances of bad behavior at other communities.

The Yenta Grandmother—This busybody knows what time 2H leaves his apartment for work. She knows that 3B just had some chicken soup delivered (she must be getting sick). And she just wishes that nice boy in 5F would meet someone already (don’t worry, The Yenta Grandmother has a beautiful granddaughter about his age. Did she mention the granddaughter is single?). In short, she knows every other resident’s business. So what should you do? Unless she is getting really intrusive (think looking through a pair of binoculars out her window to see what the neighbors are up to like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window), or people are starting to complain about her general buttinsky-ness, just let her be. We’ve all got to get our entertainment somewhere. Plus she could be a great source of information for you—did you know Johnny up there is thinking of moving out at the end of his lease? Maybe start showing that apartment around.

The Prodigal Son—This guy is great. OK, so he doesn’t always pay his rent on time. But then he does. And he helps you set up a recycling program in the community, or writes you a really nice review on an apartment rating website. And then all is forgiven. So what should you do? As long as he does pay his rent, and you’re willing to forgive a little lateness, the good of this resident might outweigh the bad. It’s really your call.

Are there any other “family” roles your residents play in your community? Oh, and just because, here’s some Sister Sledge singing “We Are Family.” You’re welcome.

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Monkey Business Images