Maria Pietroforte Consulting
TOPIC: Struggling with tough residents? Tired of a toxic work environment? Consultant, coach, and trainer extraordinaire Maria Pietroforte sits in with Apartment Academy to discuss dealing with difficult tenants, managing stressful situations, and more. Do yourself a favor and listen now!
One of the unique things about being in property management is you’re dealing with a cross-section of humanity. You’re going to have all kinds represented in that cross-section. And we’re not talking about people that just have problems and they want you to solve their problem. Some people are difficult for a number of reasons, but we’re talking about people that are really adversarial in nature.
This is a minority of people that live at apartments, of course, but tough residents are a common source of demoralization in property management.
As a community manager, it’s your job to diffuse those situations. You have to work things out with a person like that. And hopefully, they leave feeling like they were heard and that their problem’s been addressed. But that isn’t easy.
Strategies for Tough Residents
There are different strategies you can use. First of all, be calm, take a deep breath, and get a pad out. Always have a pad and a pen, whether you’re on the telephone or you’re in person. This forces you to not say anything and to take notes.
The biggest mistake we make is trying to defend ourselves. We want to tell them that they’re wrong. Don’t do that. You just need to listen to what they have to say and take notes. Stay calm and take notes while they vent/ And when they’re finished venting, you should thank them for sharing their story and ask what they would like you to do. Then see what they say. That’s a fairly easy tip, with a fairly simple conclusion.
Also, many times we think we should get an angry resident behind a closed door where everybody doesn’t hear them. Instead, keep them public. That creates a bit more safety, and people don’t like being ugly when they’re in front of others. A public setting may naturally cause them to tone it down a little bit.
Another thing that you need to do when somebody is like that is slow your pace of talking. Talking slower and lower forces them to focus on listening to you, which can calm them down. Also, be at the same level. If they’re standing, you’re standing, if they’re sitting, you should be sitting too.
Another essential is to document the interaction for reference later. If you can add notes to a digital profile instead of a paper document that no one will see, even better.
Finally, remind yourself that we’re all human and that we don’t know what is going on in people’s lives. If you can do that and approach the situation with a solution-oriented mindset, you can create a happy ending.