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How to Avoid Conflict with Tenants

How to Avoid Conflict with Tenants
From making repairs to making payments, there are a number of conflict sources in the tenant-landlord relationship. It can be a mutually beneficial and even wonderful thing when all is right, but when it no longer is, the relationship can take a hit. Conflict avoidance is the best approach, and we’ve put together the following five actions that any property management can employ. Communicate—The best way to avoid conflict is to be clear, thorough, and consistent in all communications from the very beginning. This means having a lease that is well defined, ongoing conversations and reminders with tenants about their responsibilities, and ease of access to digital or print versions of property policies and guidelines. You also want to keep in mind that it’s always best to deal with any issues in writing – either via email or print – so there is a written record for everyone. Listen actively—It’s easy to only halfway listen to someone who has a differing view from your own (or not at all). But, it’s imperative to not only listen, but do so actively. Listen not only for words, but for what’s behind the words, including body language. Repeat back what is said to you so the other person can confirm understanding. This not only demonstrates caring and sensitivity (important to most), but may help you see things in a different way as well. Be open—Every interaction needs to be approached with an open, teachable spirit. You may feel very abused or taken advantage of when it comes to ten......
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Five Steps to Handling Resident Complaints

Five Steps to Handling Resident Complaints
Have you ever heard the statement, “Customer service would be easy if it weren’t for those customers?” Sometimes that is just too true, isn’t it?   After all we know that sometimes residents:   Don’t read their leases Don’t think their leases actually apply to them Cause the problem then get mad at you for the problem Can be unreasonable Can be dishonest And on and on and on and on   The challenge that you face is even if a complaining resident is all of the above, you still have to deal with the situation don’t you? In other words, the fact that a resident may be all of the above doesn’t mean that you can just “DQ” their complaints and brush them off. Well you could try but then you still have ‘Harold’ standing in the middle of the leasing office wondering why he can’t “speak to the manager!”   So what can you do...or what can you encourage your teams to do to manage these situations? After being in contact with thousands of people during my career, both onsite and at corporate, I have isolated five effective things that people can do when someone complains.   Help the customer feel important:   The most important “people-skill” that I believe all of us should learn is how to make other people feel important. If you are able to make an unhappy resident feel important, you will go a long way towards resolving any issues, even before you get to resolving the issue.   I ......
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Dollars and Rents | Part One

Dollars and Rents | Part One
As property management professionals, the current rental climate is what you’ve been waiting for isn’t it? Rents are trending up across the nation as the demand for rental housing continues to increase. However, just because the business climate supports the changes, it doesn’t mean that your customers will. Many of your residents who have become used to concessions, generous move-in and renewal specials and other discounts, are now quite angry, frustrated, concerned, insulted, and even scared about the changes in the rental climate. So how can you and your team handle the conversations with residents in a way that recognizes the customer’s point of view and the realities of today’s rental market? Before the renewal letters go out… Before you send your renewal letters out, there is a lot that you can do to help yourselves with your customers. A little “P.R.” can really go a long way; so take the time to smile, meet, greet, wave, remember and use people’s names, respond to calls, letters and emails quickly and be genuinely friendly with your residents. I instructed my team members that my goal was to have everyone who walked into our office feel valued and cared for, whatever the circumstances that brought them into the office. I knew that we wouldn’t always be able to solve their problems, or give them what they wanted, but I knew we could always make our residents and clients feel important . . . even the ones we really didn’t like! I know that our “relationship bui......
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Dealing With the Bully at Work

The last time my mother hit me was when I was ten years old. Her favorite weapon of choice was anything within reach she could slap my face or head with, didn’t really matter. I remember one day, that moment before she was to take me to school. I needed money for some school activity and was reminding her that I needed to turn it in that day. In a moment of out-of-body-awareness, I saw her expression change and that distinct “look” take over and I started to back away.   The first blow struck with such force I fell down. But I got back up. I looked at her and for the first time ever, I had a voice instead of tears. I put my forearm up and blocked the next blow and stated very quietly, “Don’t. Ever. Hit. Me. Again.”   My forearm still carries a small, permanent indentation from that last blow. Without it, I am not sure I would believe it happened or that it was real. That is what bullying is like. The person on the receiving end many times wonders if it is really happening and they may think that maybe it is their fault or not really that “bad.”   Flash forward to the adult world. I once had the misfortune to work with a Regional who actually yelled at me at a company-wide meeting in front of ten managers I had never met before and the CEO that I was coming to the......
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Make Your Performance Review Work For You

Are you your community’s best asset? How do you know you are or you aren’t? And how are you making your determination? We are now entering the midpoint of the third quarter and I suspect most working adults aren’t even thinking about this. If you are a parent, you are probably thinking about getting your children ready for the start of a new school year: buying new clothes or uniforms, picking out new lunch boxes, getting those school supplies. Not to mention making sure they have had their check-ups and the required immunizations. Heck, just getting them to the dentist for teeth cleanings is often scheduled for this time of year. But this time of year is also a perfect time to make sure you are putting your own ducks in a row.   Performance Reviews are often conducted in the last quarter of the year, supposedly a kind of end-of-the-year Report Card for grown ups. If I were in charge of the world, this would not be the case. As someone who sometimes has to conduct these Reviews, I can tell you it is not usually any fun for the employee or for me. They cause stress for most people and even if you feel like you’ve done your best and have done a good job, there is still someone sitting in Judgment over you.   I think this is an archaic way of communicating with our teammates. If, at this Evaluation Ceremony, this is the first time an employee......
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Mediation or Litigation

If you have never had a dispute or found yourself in conflict with someone else, you are the only one.  It’s safe to say that literally everyone eventually finds themselves in a dispute of some sort.   Dispute is found in every form of human contact.  Our courts are jammed with divorces.  The work place is a hotbed of conflict.  Anyone who has ever been in or transacted a business deal usually finds some area of the transaction that hits rough water.    The reasons for dispute are as varied as the personalities involved.  You can call it insecurity, fear, envy, ignorance, stupidity, greed, politics, religion, the economy, education, or just about any other upsetting situation, but the fact remains that dispute, for what ever the reason, will be with us until the end of time.   Dispute is not all bad. Without dispute, we are seldom challenged to find solutions and or broaden the field of possibilities.  When we endeavor to solve problems, we also draw on our creative juices to potentially encompass areas yet undetected.  For an example, NASA, in its quest to solve engineering problems, made it possible to develop products and services never realized when the projects were initiated.   While it’s true that these where engineering challenges that spurred growth in  product development, we can see the same kind of field broadening if we look at the reason for unionization of employees, civil rights and the antiwar movement of the 60’s.  Each had an impact on......
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