In a perfect world, your apartment community's common spaces would be neat, clean and welcoming spaces where your tenants mingle, socialize and relax. At the very least, common areas like corridors, hallways and stairways would, ideally, be neat and tidy at all times. In reality, though, these spaces are often underutilized at best and treated poorly at best. Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi recognizes how frustrating it is to handle maintenance and clean up for tenants who might seem unappreciative. In fact, many property managers become apathetic and ignore the spaces altogether. In California, though, landlords and their representatives are indeed in charge of keeping up the common spaces for tenants. Still, it can feel like an uphill battle sometimes.
The Tragedy of the Commons
This term refers to an environmental concept that describes the tendency for communal areas to become neglected. When your mom nagged you as a kid about cleaning up, it was for good reason: humans often buy into the idea that someone else will come along behind them and clean up. This applies to wetlands and national parks as well as patios and corridors. By reminding your tenants that the common space should be respected, you may find yourself with less to tidy up each week.
The Bottom Line
Most people are unobservant, not rude. The reality is that many of your tenants may not even recognize that their common area needs attending to, or that someone is cleaning up after them. While it may be your obligation to tidy up, you can recruit your tenants to respect common places a little more by sprucing up the place. Properties like this Sunnyvale apartment community have opted for light themes around the common areas to get people excited about their living space. After all, these common areas are not just walkways to and from the parking lot. These places are an extension of your rental and of the entire tenant experience.
If you're hoping to motivate folks to keep common spaces nice, practice what you preach. Hang art of the walls, invest in patio furniture and go beyond mere maintenance of the space. As with many things in life, you get out what you put in. You, your tenants and your property will be better for your elbow grease.
- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management
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