The newsLINK Group - How to Handle Resident Problems
Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Resident Problems Title: How to Handle Resident Problems and Problem Residents Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: When you manage an apartment community, you can be sure that you will be dealing with people on a constant basis. Combine that with the expectations, opinions, and passion most people feel when it comes to their own home, and you already know that success requires you to have strong people skills and a good sense for how to solve problems effectively, and as positively, as possible. Editorial: How to Handle Resident Problems and Problem Residents 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 When you manage an apartment community, you can be sure that you will be dealing with people on a constant basis. Combine that with the expectations, opinions, and passion most people feel when it comes to their own home, and you already know that success requires you to have strong people skills and a good sense for how to solve problems as effectively, and as positively, as possible. It starts with understanding the difference between resident problems and problem residents. They usually aren’t the same thing. How can you tell which are which? Problem residents fall into three categories: Those who either don’t pay, or are late paying, their rent. Tenants who make trouble with their neighbors. Anyone who damages the property. It should be obvious what you need to do if you have a problem resident, and it probably involves that person moving. Everybody else is a resident with a problem, and should be handled accordingly. When you are dealing with residents who have a problem, it is important to remember that they expect a high level of service that matches the high rent they are paying you in order to live in the apartment community you manage. They expect great service, no hassles, and a peaceful environment. Anything that falls short of that expectation is likely to upset them. What are some of the problems tenants might have? There’s a wide range of possibilities, of course, but in general the problem is going to be one of the following: Service that is slow or incomplete. Conflicts with members of your onsite staff. Inconvenience. For example, problems with parking availability or access to laundry services might well present an inconvenience. Neighbors who are noisy or who ignore rules. Crime. What is the best way to deal with such problems? Rick Ellis, the president of Ellis Consulting Group, has managed and operated apartment communities and residential rental real estate since 1980 and now works as a consultant or a speaker about these sorts of issues. Mr. Ellis has had as many as 6,000 units in four separate markets, all large. He offers the following suggestions: Courtesy Professional distance A focus on solutions Following through Courtesy Rick Ellis recommends being friendly, enthusiastic, and professional (FEP). That’s always the starting point, no matter what kind of resident you are facing. The advantage to putting the FEP strategy to work is that it minimizes conflict. The second a situation escalates, the chance for a peaceful resolution is diminished. FEP can help you soothe heated emotions so that you actually can find a workable solution for everyone involved. Apartment communities are homes, but managing that community is a business. Your job is to make money for the owner by increasing the value of the property through good management. That means working as hard as you can not to give residents good reason to be angry because of a mistake made by management. Correcting someone when you don’t have the full story, or feeling angry because someone is angry about something that has happened, won’t increase property value. You want to be as kind and patient as you can in any encounter with a tenant. That means you should continue to be courteous no matter what: it’s free, it works, and it calms people down.
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