In multi-family residential complexes, interpersonal friction between owners and tenants isn’t uncommon. In 2019, people spent an average of 2.8 hours of their week in conflict with someone else. Whether they are minor disagreements, noise complaints, or neighborly spats, it’s important that property managers are able to minimize altercations as soon as possible by deescalating tensions.
Property managers should deliver negative news
If a property manager has received complaints about another owner in the community, the property manager should talk to that owner alone and do their best to leave the people who made the complaint out of the conversation in an effort to maintain a peaceful environment through anonymity.
When property managers are discussing conflicts with owners it helps to use strategic language to avoid isolating any particular person. For example, using sentences that start with “you,” can make someone feel defensive and increase tensions. Instead of saying “you” frequently, enhance the sense of a personal connection by using “I” statements and remind the owner you’re speaking with that they are valued in their community by integrating more use of the word “we.”
If a property manager notices that specific rules are being broken more frequently than others, it can be effective to send a notice to everyone outlining commonly broken rules are and explain explicitly how to adhere to those rules. Property managers can also use this opportunity to emphasize potential repercussions for violating owners.
Don’t opt out of telling owners the repercussions of further conflicts and refrain from making exceptions. Exceptions can run the risk of either upsetting another owner who is abiding by the rules or it may cause other owners to take the rules less seriously. To avoid this, make repercussions clear and follow a standard procedure. Issuing warnings without real penalties can give owners the impression that they can break rules scot-free.
Conflicts between owners can be a tense and overall negative experience. It’s important that property managers discuss conflicts with owners one on one. Meeting in person can create a positive experience by giving both parties the opportunity to pick up on each other’s body language. To ease tensions, meet in a neutral setting, instead of the property managers office or an owner’s unit. The perception of an even playing field encourages an open dialogue and helps avoid potential misunderstandings.
One better than mediating community conflict is avoiding conflict all together. No one can guarantee that everyone will get along harmoniously all of the time, but you can definitely increase the chances. Take a look at conflicts that have occurred in the past, keep a record of what happened, who was involved, and what it was regarding. A concise record enables you to monitor recurring problems and rules. This information can be used to strategize ways to avoid similar conflict in the future. Being able to curb potential problems can improve relationships in your community, and the community’s reputation.