Disagreements between neighbors living in close quarters, such as apartment complexes, are a common issue and should be handled with care by the landlord, homeowners association, or property management company.
While it is fairly natural for neighbors to have occasional conflicts over minor things like excessive noise at an inconvenient time, or parking spots during the snowy months, the main goal of those in charge of the complex or community should be to manage the issue before it becomes contentious enough to cause legal action.
Here are a few ways to help handle conflict resolution and create a more harmonious living community for you and your homeowners.
What Are the Most Common Issues?
When living in high density apartments, there are some issues that come up over and over again. Two of the most prevalent issues include noises and smells.
The issue with noises in apartment complexes could include stereos that are too loud, crying babies, loud footsteps in the apartments above, barking or active pets, or the occasional party. These issues are often solved by a friendly reminder about being courteous to neighbors or regarding the rules about quiet hours.
The second most common issue that landlords often receive complaints about are smells. These malodorous issues usually can be placed in two categories: cooking smells and smoking smells. Smells from a neighbor’s kitchen can sometimes be a welcome aroma during mealtime, or the excessive smell of garlic may turn other’s noses.
Then, there is the ongoing issue of smoking in areas where cigars, vapes, and cigarettes are prohibited. With state legislation determining where smoking can occur, many neighbors find themselves in a conflict over the presence of smoking odors.
Knowing the most common issues that can stir up conflict is one thing, but knowing how to handle the festering issue is an entirely different one.
There are several ways property managers can help de-escalate warring neighbors. One of the first things is to listen to each party’s version of the issue. Allowing each person to meet with you separately can give a much needed background to the situation.
Once each person’s version of the incident or situation is heard, it is a good idea to review the community rules that may make for an easy resolution. For example, if there is no smoking at the poolside, remind all residents of that rule and ask that these guidelines are followed.
If the situation can be simply solved with a review of the community bylaws or rules, that would be great, however, more often than not, both homeowners may need to meet to resolve lingering animosity. This step in the process comes with the thought that by bringing both parties together that they may be able to hear the rules together so there is no confusion as well as what the consequences are if the rules are not followed.
If Things Get Ugly
Avoiding escalation between neighbors is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, de-escalation is not always possible and a mediator (or the courts) may need to get involved. In cases like this it is best to let the legal teams handle the issue and remain an interested third party.
Drop us a note of how your apartment complex dispute was successfully resolved.