A.k.a. Come On, Feel the Noize.
The click-clack of high heels. The rhythmic thud-thud of dancing. Uptown funk with bass. Lots of bass! It’s a party! And it’s 2 a.m. in your apartment community.
It’s one of the biggest challenges of managing an apartment community: neighbors bothering neighbors. While community teams would like residents to do the “neighborly” thing and try and resolve the issue amicably, residents most often expect management to address and handle the problem.
According to the 2016 SatisFacts Index, when asked why residents weren’t “Very Likely” to renew, “Neighbors” was in the top 5 reasons. And when asked what could be done to improve the community, “Better Residents” ranked in the top ten. Let’s face it, residents are not welcoming each other to the community with goodie baskets and borrowing cups of sugar – the “love” is just not there.
While the community team can’t be responsible for every action or lack of action of each and every resident or resolve every grievance, there are some steps that can be taken to demonstrate to the residents what is expected of each person in the community and the consequences of not adhering to those expectations.
Rules, regulations or guidelines do no good if they are monitored sporadically or ignored completely. Each resident over the age of 18 signed the lease that you provided. A contract was born. Ensure you and your team is holding up your end of the deal, which means enforcement. If some rules will allow for one warning before consequences, ensure the one warning is defined and administered consistently. Word spreads quickly when one person receives a warning on a first offence but another person got a fine or notice on their first
2. Prepare the Team
Enforcing rules is difficult, and sometimes just plain unpleasant. It is the rare case when you confront a resident with a violation and they smile and say, “I’m so sorry! Thank you so much for reminding me!” Do your team a favor and educate each one on what your team approach is for researching the complaint or violation, how the message is delivered to a resident, and how to respond to an angry or defensive resident. This is a case when role-playing can really prepare the team to feel more confident in these types of situations.
3. Communicate Success
If you’ve renewed enforcement on major issues like noise complaints or parking nightmares and you begin to see results, let your residents know. Most likely, they have noticed, but they might not be connecting the dots that the improvement is a direct result of the team’s efforts. Send a letter reminding them how the team has been stepping up enforcement on guests parking in assigned spaces and in the past 30 days complaints have dropped by 30%. Then let them know you will continue to focus on parking so that every resident’s right to their assigned parking space is protected.
Managing neighbor disputes will always be a part of the multifamily housing business. But by addressing the issues head on in a consistent manner, rather than turning a blind eye or providing a blanket response of, “You just need to talk to your neighbor about their 3 a.m. parties,” you’ll not only improve the overall quality of living in your community, you’ll reduce the number of residents who are leaving for the reason: “Neighbors.”