What to Do When Multifamily Employees Date

A lot of couples meet at work. But what about when "work" is an apartment building?

By Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

jfiur thumbnailHappy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

For those of you who are paired up, how did you meet your special someone?

My husband and I have a super romantic story.

We met at a bar.

I guess it’s not that romantic.

Anyway, there are tons of ways to meet someone. On dating apps, through friends, “other.” According to a survey on Mic.com, the third-most popular place people meet is at work. (And shockingly not by meeting at a party and having a misunderstanding and one thinks the other is arrogant and the other is a ditz but then realizing you love each other just as you are, or by researching how to get guys to dump you for a magazine article you’re writing and falling for the guy who is secretly trying to trick you into falling in love with him but actually does love you as well, or by being a hooker with a heart of gold. I’ll have what she’s having!) It makes sense—this is where most people spend their time and have a lot of their social interactions.

So, property managers, there are lots of employees at a community. What do you do when some inevitably start dating or seeing each other casually? It’s awkward to talk about, but it’s important to have some rules and guidelines in place. Here are some suggestions.

Lawyer up. Before you do anything, read up on your corporate policy, or talk to a lawyer if necessary. Find out if employees need to sign a form saying they’re dating, what the guidelines are if it’s a boss with a direct report, etc. Don’t worry. There’s nothing sexier than paperwork.

Have “The Talk.” Talk to all your employees, in private, and tell them what’s expected of them in these situations. Explain to everyone the rules (for example, two grown ups dating, who are in different departments and who don’t interact at the apartment, is probably fine. But using an empty, staged apartment as a love den would probably be frowned upon).

Discourage PDA. It can make other employees a little uncomfortable. And it can make the residents really uncomfortable. And it’s gross. Get a room. (Although, don’t, as we just heartsmentioned.)

Have strict rules about employees dating residents. I don’t know the legalities here. Maybe consenting adults dating is completely fine. But it does seem…icky. Other residents might think they’re getting special treatment, like faster responses to maintenance requests or greater leniency if rent is late, whether true or not. And if they break up, the resident might feel uncomfortable living there. Whatever you (and your lawyers) decide, make sure to have a strict policy on this, and be sure to enforce it.

Don’t tolerate harassment. Your employees should feel safe at work. Make sure they do.

But have fun. Once you have yourself covered, if dating or “fraternizing” is allowed, maybe have happy hours or other fun ways for employees to meet. Because, seriously, work is a great place to meet people. Even if there are no love connections, it will be a great bonding experience. And, anyway, as the great bard Taylor Swift says, “Players gonna play, play, play, play, play.” It’s going to happen anyway. Might as well embrace it.

Do you have any policies at your communities concerning employees dating? Have you ever dated anyone at work, and how did it work out? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur.

Hope you have a nice Valentine’s Day!