One of the most time consuming challenges that exist in Property Management is managing the behavior and actions of neighbors. In fact, I have often thought of starting a book just to log the constant things we hear about neighbors and what we should do about it. Like, “They know I work graveyards, how dare they let their kids play above my room in the middle of the day”, “She vacuums every night at 10pm just to make me mad, maker her stop.” In reality, neighbors aren’t usually going about their daily life with the intention of making you mad, they are just going about their daily life, albeit oblivious. If you read my funny tweets blog, you’ve read about apartment dwellers online making crazy remarks about their neighbor’s behavior.
The reality of living in a complex where there are shared walls, floors or ceilings is that you will inevitably be disturbed at one time or another by your neighbor. And, at some time or another, you too will be the offender, whether you know it, admit it or not. Unfortunately, while a property manager can enforce “house rules” and quiet hours, we can’t make people stop being people by vacuuming, watching TV, playing, having get-together’s, doing laundry, or any other daily or nightly activity that may be bothersome.
Believe it or not, one of the best ways that we’ve found for neighbors to resolve these issues is to talk it out amongst themselves , the old fashioned way, by listening, understanding the issue and making an attempt on both sides to be less sensitive as well as respect the complaint and do what you can to fix it.
One other way I have found to deal with conflict is start out on an empathetic foot right when you move in, and be kind in casual encounters. Be aware of things that your neighbors may need help with or may be struggling with and randomly offer to help. That way, when your neighbors are annoyed by something you have done, you have built a mutual respect and they are more likely to talk to you first rather than the landlord. This doesn’t mean you have to be “besties”or “buddy, buddy” with your neighbors, just be cordial and helpful.
So, in honor of Random Act of Kindness Day, I thought it would be good Karma for everyone to step out of their comfort zone and do some random acts of kindness for our neighbors – who knows, YOU may actually get more benefit in the end than they do!