Multifamily communities offer a lot of perks: affordable housing, shared amenities and the chance to create a neighborhood. But for some tenants, the drawbacks of apartment living can jeopardize their willingness to fulfill or re-sign their lease. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management knows how critically important it is to nip conflicts between tenants in the bud. Here's his guide to common conflicts and how to settle them peacefully.
In most apartment community leases, policies state that tenants may not make noise that might disturb neighbors. Unfortunately, though, this is easier said than done. For apartments with hardwood floors and blank walls, there's not a lot to absorb sounds coming from a TV, the radio or even from conversation. What is a property manager to do?
The key lies in respectful negotiation. For the most part, people tend to be flexible about noise during daylight hours. If you can start a conversation between the warring neighbors about what is or isn't reasonable for them, you can begin working towards a compromise. Of course, the lease rules all. If you made a promise to prevent noisy neighbors from intruding into your tenant's daily life, you'll be the one to have to enforce the rules.
If you allow pets on your property, chances are good you've heard complaints about barking or about waste being left in the grass. While this is all to be expected, to some degree, more extreme conflicts between neighbors can upset the peace of your community. If you have a tenant accusing another of being negligent with their waste management or with the noise their pets make, have a conversation with the pet owner. Explain your concerns and work on a solution together. You'll find most pet owners love their dogs and cats enough to make changes necessary to keep them living on your property!
This is where neighbor disputes can get tricky, even for seasoned property managers. While no parent likes being told how to raise their kids, the reality is that some busy parents aren't always supervising their kids behavior as closely as they could. Children running and yelling around a property is not okay, so if a tenant complains, it's your place as property manager to step in.
Having community rules to point to can help. Consider enforcing rules regarding supervision, noise and property damage and place them in the lease. It'll make conversations with parents that much easier.
- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management
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