Wednesday

How Can We Make this Right? When Residents Threaten to Leave

Sometimes issues will come up prior to lease renewal that need to be addressed.  But unfortunately, at some properties, apartment staff are slow about handling resident requests due to a number of things including having less than competent workers and worse, they are simply forgetful!

"I apologize Ms. Jane, I was meaning to get that done, thanks for calling and reminding me," the leasing consultant says.  Now our fictional resident Ms. Jane may be understanding now, but when it's time to renew her lease maybe not so much and that is when management will say, "How can we make this right?  What can we do to convince you to stay, Ms. Jane?"  So here is what I learned over the years and hopefully those of you who are property owners, community workers, and residents will take heed.

1.  Fix what is broken. 

2.  Replace what is problematic especially if you don't want a future lawsuit.

3.  Don't make excuses and definitely don't make anymore promises--make the disgruntled resident's issue priority!

4.  Offer to reduce the rent increase or better yet don't increase a resident's rent who has been very loyal for a decade or two.  Remember to talk this over with your boss first.

5.  If the problem isn't that major to you, but obviously a big deal for your resident for any number of reasons including a negative reaction from your co-workers about it, send a gift card after the work has been completed apologizing for the inconvenience.

6.  Reward those who have been good residents.  Give them an opportunity to choose from a group of specially selected gifts.

7.  Implement programs, groups, activities and more that make life easier for the resident.  From an instructor who comes to the property and teaches once a week to a business offering a product or service in the community room once a month, be proactive in meeting your resident retention goals.

These ideas will hopefully move your management to want to please the community.  Do ask to meet with those who can make a difference--both residents and staff. 

Remember when the residents are happy, so is everyone else!

Nicholl McGuire  

Tuesday

Preparing for Annual Inspection

For some properties, leasing consultants will view a residence at least once a year or more depending on the situation and when they do, it's best that the resident do the following to ensure a smooth inspection.

1.  Read the rental contract and be sure you are following the rules.

2.  Clean the environment including carpeting and walls. 

3.  Find a place to keep your pets so that they will not attack, preferably in a backyard or patio area.

4.  Make the residence nice to smell.

5.  Check along crevices, corners and other areas where insects might live.  If the residence has a problem, leave the dead bugs in view so that the rental staff can see.

6.  Move furniture and other items away from places that might be a potential fire hazard.

During an annual inspection, take the time to share any information related to your suite that makes you feel uncomfortable including bothersome neighbors, strange odors, broken appliances and fixtures, and leaks.

Check out other articles on this site if you need to prepare for a move-out inspection.

Nicholl McGuire

Sunday

7 Things Residents Do that Make Cable Installation a Challenge

You know how stressful moving can be. Well for the cable guy or gal, it can be equally frustrating when he or shows up to an apartment or home that screams, "We aren't ready for cable!"  So what might some renters be doing to make the cable guy or gal walk back out?

1.  The dwelling is just too unclean to perform duties.

Hoarding, odors, insects--you name it, the cable installer would love to make the customer happy, but don't expect him or her to work in a deplorable environment.

2.  Furniture and other items are blocking outlets.

For some customers, they expect the worker will move furniture and boxes on the day of installation.  There are policies in place to keep the installer from moving your belongings.  Plan to move them yourself before he or she arrives. 

3.  The recipient talks too much.

Long stories can be a disruption to the cable worker which will increase the likelihood that something may be overlooked or go wrong during installation.

4.  Illegal drug use and smoking are ongoing while the cable technician is trying to perform his or her job.

One never knows if a worker is more than just a technician so it would make sense not to participate in any illegal activities in his or her presence.  As for smoking, it is simply courtesy not to blow smoke while someone is trying to perform his or her job.

5.  Residents are arguing and harshly disciplining children in the worker's presence.

This is another distraction that slows progress and might potentially land residents in jail especially if violence is involved.

6.  Renters and owners ask for illegal favors in order to obtain cable.

From discounts to freebies, residents expect the cable technician to "hook" them up.  So he or she is suppose to risk his or her job for a person seeking to pay less or nothing at all?

7.  The customer attempts to turn on, install, or fix a cable line his or herself.

When one is attempting to work on property that he or she doesn't own, he or she puts his or herself at risk of having to pay unnecessary expenses to building owners and/or the cable company.  Avoid tampering with the cable, outlets, boxes, and other things related to the network.

With these seven tips, hopefully residents will have a good experience getting cable installed.

Nicholl McGuire
http://nichollmcguire.blogspot.com

A special thanks goes to all the cable technicians I had the pleasant experience talking to--I hope I didn't keep you too long!

Friday

How Does Your Apartment Rate?

Find out what people are saying online about your community.  Learn about others.  Post your own review of your community.  The following links will help.

Apartment Ratings

Renter's Voice

Rent.com

For Rent

Apartments.com

Also check out review sites like Yelp and post your concerns.

Friday

Pest Control: Tips to Help You Minimize Bug Sightings in Your Residence

You have seen your share of bugs in your dwelling and it makes you angry.  You start to think, "Is management doing his or her job?  Why do I keep seeing these bugs?  Where are they coming from?"  Community managers and renters must work together in order to maintain an apartment unit and this includes pest issues.  So what to do?

One.  Know what pests keep showing up and take photos.

By doing this, you can help pest control treat the problem when they arrive.  Leave photos at the leasing office or send to property owners.

Two.  Pinpoint where they might be coming from by removing furniture and appliances from walls and baseboards. 

Check for cracks, small holes, outlets, around piping, along the edges of carpets, and other places you suspect bugs might be coming from.  Seal cracks, holes etc. after those areas have been treated.

Three.  Communicate with management if problem continues.

Sometimes the issue may increase after the property has been sprayed, but does the pest problem begin to die down?  If not, keep in touch with your landlord and be sure you are on a schedule to have your household sprayed often.  If this can't be done on a regular basis from management, take matters in your own hands and search for treatments that will help you get the matter under control.  Save receipts, take photos before and after where bugs show up.  This way if there is an issue later, you will have documented what you had to do to ensure your comfort level in your dwelling.

Four.  Look for signs of bug or rodent feces in things like drawers, corners, cabinets, closets, etc. 

Don't ignore the black or brown crumbs that seem to keep showing up in your drawers, or the weird smell that keeps coming from your closet or a damp place in your home.  Chances are there are some insects or rodents at work leaving behind a trail for their friends to follow to a source of food and water.

Five.  Close your blinds and curtains at night to prevent light from attracting insects into your home.

The more lights you have shining from windows and places outside of your home, the more likely you will see bugs flying around.  When a door or window is open, insects will find their way in, so turn off lights nearby.  Spray an insect repellant before going outside.  Be sure to spray around windows and doorframes not only inside, but outside as well.  Spray in and around crevices.

Six.  Get in a habit of walking and treating your environment periodically.

Note days and times on calendar when you will check your unit and have it treated for bugs.

Seven.  Keep flooring, countertops, tables, and furniture clean.

An area that isn't typically wiped down with a household cleaner will in time attract all sorts of bugs from spiders to dust mites.  Schedule vacuming and dusting in your weekly activities. 

Eight.  Take trash out often.

Don't wait until the bag is filled up when there are food products lingering in it.  Bugs and rodents can detect odors.  Use trash cans and garbage bags that supress odors.  Separate food particles and place in small bags and take out immediately or use garbage disposal.  However, know what the disposal can handle before placing items down drain.  Treat your garbage bags with insect spray and cans.

Nine.  Use air tight containers for storing dry foods and other edibles.

Open bags and containers will attract bugs, so take some time out to separate items that will not be eaten often and place in plastic.

Ten.  Encourage your family to eat primarily in one area and throw food away in a common area.

The more places your family eats and leaves dirty dishware, the more potential issues your household will have with bugs. 

Lastly, you will want to observe the decor in and around your dwelling that might be attracting bugs and rodents as well.  Pine wood, wood chips, and fruit trees are magnets for all sorts of bugs and rodents.

When you are proactive in the upkeep of your household, you will have less insect issues.  Consider favorite pets will also attract insects, so stay up on treating your pet.  Use insect repellants on areas that you or your pet have experienced insect bites.  If you moved from a place that had a serious bug issue, there might be furniture, area carpets, and cardboard boxes that are keeping the problem going in your household, prepare yourself to part with them if after several treatments the insects don't go away.

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media