Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Like A Good Neighbor...


Like a good neighbor...dah, dah, is there! Many of us recognize this popular slogan. So what defines a "good" neighbor exactly? They are many ways that owners choose to manage their relationships with neighboring units. Let's take a moment to look at the more successful ways these relationships have been managed.

New ownership is the best time for  owners to make a good first impression. Some immediately introduce themselves to neighboring homeowners by visiting their homes. While others, choose to write little courtesy notes with notifications about pending work that will likely prove messy and disruptive to nearby units or homes. These small acts of kindness go a long way with building a good rapport with new neighbors. There's a high probability in attached multi-family structures that  an owner may have to one day confront an owner about a leak, noise, smoke intrusion, or any of the other items that may come up. An initial good rapport will make these confrontations more pleasant and better managed if the neighbors are already starting from a position of mutual respect.

Owners who have passed the new neighbor period can still strive for good rapport with their neighbors. For example, if an owner is being disturbed by a neighboring unit’s noise, then they have a couple of choices. Most owners either contact management or they confront the noisy neighbor directly. We've seen more success with owners who choose to politely address their noisy neighbor versus asking management to step in and address/handle. People are often a bit offended when management is contacting them with a report from an incident that took place a couple days prior and they are even more frustrated that management is not permitted to disclose who the reporting party is. However, when an owner chooses to confront a neighbor with an issue, it's often best if they introduce themselves and begin by saying "you may not be aware of this but...." or “probably don’t know or realize it but….” The noisy neighbor will sometimes offer their cell phone so the impacted neighbor can call or text if they hear future disturbances. Again, small acts of kindness go a long way.

The age old adage do unto others as you would have them do unto you is very true. In communities, a strong rapport amongst the neighbors is very important. Management often has to coach people through this process. People have diverse backgrounds with varied upbringing. So banging on the ceiling to make a neighbor be quiet is totally fine to some, or smoking in the bathroom where smoke goes into a shared vent is no big deal, or allowing contractors to leave messy trails of construction dust in the hallway is ok because they think the janitorial team will clean it. The Governing Documents, the Rules and Regulations, and community newsletters are designed to establish these standards for everyone. So on-going education about these standards is crucial to having a successful, vibrant community!

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