7 Things Property Managers and Maintenance Workers Wish Their Residents Would Do

If only residents would cooperate! Managing a property is hard work! There’s always something that needs repair, or a resident who is breaking the rules. We’ve compiled a list of seven ways residents could help out and make things easier. Do you agree?

toilet rescue

Let residents know you want to fix it right the first time, so you need to know as much as possible about what happened

1. Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

Your resident ran the garbage disposer with a spoon down the drain, again! Another resident, or more accurately your resident’s children, flushed LEGOs down the toilet. When you ask them what happened, they say, “I don’t know,” but the evidence is incriminating.

You need their cooperation so you can fix what’s wrong in a timely manner and move on. You may need to do some reassuring that you’re not there to pass judgment on them. You just need their help to figure out what actually happened. How do you get to the true route of the problem? Avoid condemning language like, “What did you do to it?” and “How did you break it?”

Instead, let residents know you want to fix it right the first time, so you need to know as much as possible about what happened.

2. Leave a Message After the Beep

Your call log shows dozens of missed calls. Someone is obviously trying to get a hold of you, but they don’t leave a message. You’re probably elbow-deep in someone’s drain and can’t answer the phone. You wonder why they just don’t leave a message so you can call back.

Whatever their avoidance is, don’t give them the reason to think that no one is checking the voicemail. Be sure your outgoing message has your name and that you encourage residents to leave a message.

Sometimes you have to be very specific and say, “I am on duty and checking messages regularly. If you leave me a message, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.” This will reassure residents that someone is there.

Also, consider that a growing number of renters are millennials, and they feel more comfortable texting rather than talking on the phone. If possible, allow them to text you their issue. And send a quick reply that you received their message and you’re on the case.

3. Respect Neighbors

Apartment living is close quarters, and because not everyone has the same habits, conflicts can and often do arise. TV/music volumes, sleeping hours, pungent cooking, and noisy pets can all be irritants to residents.

Many residents will claim ignorance of the rules, that no one ever told them quiet hours begin at 10 PM. The rules are in the rental agreement, but over time people forget. Frequent reeducation of community rules and why it’s important to follow them will always be needed.

Post the rules in highly visible areas such as entryways, elevators, and on community billboards. And mail the rules periodically to residents as a reminder.

If proactive education won’t work, you may have to enforce the rules head on with some residents and tell them the repercussions for not respecting fellow residents.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get residents to solve their differences between themselves? There will always be residents who either don’t want to or feel it’s not their responsibility to confront neighbors who are not following community rules, but you can try to foster a sense of community and encourage residents get to know each other and not be afraid to address their concerns.

Resident Gathering

Encourage residents to come together and socialize over refreshments.

Consider holding regular happy hours and gatherings for residents to get to know each other. Encourage them to come and socialize over refreshments. Try some icebreaker events or games to get the ball rolling. A hosted casino night is a great way to get residents to socialize. Instead of betting money, winners can get raffle ticket entries!

You may have to entice shy residents out of their apartments with prizes and giveaways for being present and participating.

Ultimately, if you can get residents to see each other as people, they will be more likely to respect one another.

4. Stay Out of the Pool When It’s Closed 

Some residents see a locked pool as a challenge rather than a warning to stay out. Even though your pool’s hour may be posted, residents will go to great lengths, such as scaling fences or breaking the locks to get in.

Tow Away Zone Sign

Parking can be a issued in multifamily communities.

Residents are likely not thinking that a locked pool area may mean it is currently unhealthy to swim in the water or that the pool is closed for maintenance.

Try thinking like a resident whose focus is only on getting in the pool. Is your current signage prominent enough? You may need to add additional or more prominent signage warning them they are risking their safety by swimming during off hours. When all else fails, video cameras and security guards may help.

5. Park in Their Assigned Spaces 

If every resident has their own assigned parking space, then everyone should park in their own space, right? Wrong.

Why residents can’t park in their own parking spot is a mystery that ranks with how the Egyptians build the pyramids.

You may be able to reduce the issue by labeling and/or numbering which parking spaces are reserved and which spaces are for visitors. Has your parking signage or painted pavements faded? It may be time for a refresh.

Residents who double-park their car can be equally frustrating. They may think they’ll only be a minute, but often a minute turns into a half hour or more. Soon you have residents fuming mad because they can’t move their cars.

If this happens frequently at your property, you may want to think about adding a loading zone and properly marking it with signs or place towing signs as a warning.

6. Pick Up After Their Pets 

It’s a dirty job, and someone has to do it. Why does it always have to be you?

It doesn’t have to be as long as you don’t give your residents any opportunity to say they didn’t know the policy or they didn’t have a pet waste bag handy.

Put plenty of pet waste stations around your property and keep them well stocked with bags. And be sure to keep plenty of trashcans around for residents to deposit the bags. Otherwise, they may be likely to set it down and leave it for you to find because there was nowhere to throw it away.

7. Call Before Things Get Out of Hand! 

Today a drip, two months from now a flood. An air conditioner rattle that is allowed to go on until it sputters and dies.

If only they had called sooner, the catastrophe may have been avoided.

Perhaps residents think they’re saving you time by waiting until it’s something serious. Or maybe they think they can make better use of your time by presenting you with a list of things to fix all at once.

Residents may even fear their rent will be increased every time something needs repair, so they lay low hoping their rent won’t go up.

Whatever the reason, always remind residents whenever they have an issue, be sure to call management right away. Remind residents that making repairs when they’re small keeps maintenance costs down, which keeps rents lower. What other things do you wish your tenants would do?

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