We need to address a problem that has been going on for waaaay too long. I’m talking about; slamming cabinets, thumping bass, crying babies, hysterical laughing, thunderous footsteps, barking dogs, smoking, stinky trash, you name the noise, smell or disruption and residents are sure to have a complaint to accompany it. This will make anyone’s hair stand up on the back of their necks, but will especially do that to the residents and property managers that deal with these situations on a constant basis.
Apartments and other shared living spaces across the world deal with these scenarios all too often and without resolve. So why are we still relying on old school, sometimes even ridiculous tactics to resolve neighbor disturbances? That is the exact question my husband Luis and I had when we were living in various apartments through the years, and we were tired of it! So tired in fact that we took matters into our own hands to stop the madness and developed Apt. App. But before I get to how we resolve these common disturbances with our technology, let’s explore the ways residents and property managers have been trying to resolve their differences for so many exhaustive years and why these may not be the best tactics.
I was actually lucky enough to sit in on a conversation with various apartment managers across the nation to understand their approach to resolve common resident complaints with their neighbors. It was apparent from the start, that this is a true bonding topic among property managers as they all can relate and share their pain as to how tiring it is to manage their resident’s differences. It is especially hard for them to keep the peace as complaints typically occur after normal business hours when the property manager is no longer available as a witness to the events. So they have to get very creative in how they are assisting their residents in handling disruptive or noise sensitive neighbors.
First Tactic: Confront Your Neighbor
It seems innocent enough to ask residents to resolve their differences in a calm, diplomatic manner by simply calling, texting or going to their neighbors door to ask them to stop whatever they were doing to be a disruption to their neighbors peaceful living environment. It would be nice if we all lived in a land of butterflies and rainbows, but this is simply just not the case. I can speak first hand as a resident about how awkward and sometimes even scary it is to confront a neighbor and most other residents share my sentiment. In fact our research shows that 9 out of 10 residents are too scared to confront their neighbor!
Today, it is also unfortunately rare that residents actually know what their neighbor looks like, let alone have their contact information to get a hold of them. But say they are a superstar resident and have their neighbors contact information. It is still one of the most uncomfortable things to do, to ask that neighbor you built a good relationship with to quiet down. You never know how that neighbor will take the information and it makes for a very awkward elevator ride or run in down the hall with that neighbor later.
On the contrary, some apartment communities are educating residents to NOT confront their neighbor because it can put them in an unsafe situation. For example, a resident who goes to confront their neighbor about a common disturbance could be confronting someone who is under the influence or just quick to lose their cool putting that resident into harms way. Overall, people do not want to feel uncomfortable in their living environment, so often times they will sit and stew on the disruption and if they are brave, they will handle their frustration with passive tactics such as hitting the ceiling with a broom or banging the wall to the neighbor causing the disruption. These are not very effective tactics and the property manager typically ends up spending far too long hearing each resident’s point of view on the situation. With out the evidence of the events that occurred there is typically no resolve with the property manager’s involvement, and both residents involved feel frustrated. So frustrated that often times these residents will write a nasty review about the property or even move.
Second Tactic: Record the Noise
Because most property managers are not available to act as a key witness to resident noise complaints they are going to extreme measures to record the noise. They are asking residents to record the noises from their neighbor on their phone to submit for the property manager’s unbiased review. Or some property managers even go as far as appointing a staff member to be a “super listener” so they can go to the point of the noise complaint and listen to give a formal assessment of the noise. Is it just me, or do these measures seem outrageous? Both measures are very subjective and have multiple variables at play. Let alone they cost everyone an inordinate amount of time leaving everyone aggravated.
Third Tactic: It’s regular living noise. Deal with it!
Property managers are just as exhausted from disruptive and sensitive neighbors as the residents are. They typically have to hear one resident’s story versus another time and time again in their typical workday and after a while they become numb to resident complaints. They try their hardest to remain unbiased and understand everyone’s point of view but sometimes they feel like residents just need to suck it up and deal with the noise, such as their neighbor’s footsteps, slamming cabinets, running laundry, etc. But again speaking from the resident’s point of view, because I have lived in many apartments with walls and floors as thin as paper.
A better tactic might be to work with the resident on finding measures to help rather than just saying, “deal with it”. If you tell a resident to “deal with it” I promise they will be quick on the defense and will work to make it known they will not stand for the noise. So utilize tactics such as installing soft close cabinets and toilets, maybe not on all resident’s units because that can be costly, but on the “noisy units”. Another option is to have the resident dealing with the noise look into noise canceling machines and apps or affordable sound curtains from Commercial Acoustics. This will allow for the residents to feel their voice is heard and the property managers can rest easy in knowing they did everything they could to help alleviate the noise for their residents.
These are just some of the approaches property managers are utilizing to handle the old age problem of disruptive residents. But all of these tactics are old an ineffective. There are still millions of residents that feel like their voice isn’t heard, as a result properties are receiving poor online reviews, there is high resident turn over and vacancy rates are high. The tactics also allow for a great amount of lost time and revenue to these properties. It seems that everyone has given up and disruptive neighbors will always accompany shared living spaces. But it doesn’t have to be that way any longer.
After so many years of living in frustration with no resolve and trying tactics such as the ones listed above, my husband and I decided to create technology that will forever change the way neighbors communicate with new technology called Apt. App. One of our most popular features available on the mobile application is a neighbor notification tool where residents are able to completely anonymously notify their neighbor of a common disturbance with preset notifications such as “Please quiet TV/Music”, “Please Quiet Footsteps”, and “Please Take Out Trash” to name a few. They are able to select where the neighbor is that they would like to notify from an easy to use map, or manually input the apartment number and send. In three easy steps the resident never has to lift more than a finger to anonymously notify their neighbor of a common disturbance. That receiving neighbor can then respond to the request with a preset notification, either “Sorry not me.” or “Resolved”, so there is a real time response to the issue and peace of mind for both residents as both residents remain anonymous.
The information also copies to property management without keeping the details anonymous so when they return to work in the morning, because these issues typically happen outside of normal business hours, they can quickly see what notifications where between neighbors so they can take a proactive approach to troublesome residents rather than a reactive time consuming approach with no evidence. This tool allow for residents to feel their voice is heard, they can safely and confidentially notify their neighbor with quick resolve, there is actual evidence of the events that occurred and both the property manager and residents can find the peace and quiet they deserve. Finally we work with properties wanting to implement the neighbor notification tool to ensure all residents download and use Apt. App. Because what good would it be if a resident wanted to notify their neighbor but that neighbor doesn’t have the app or they deactivated it?
What are you waiting for? Based on the Neighbor notification tool alone, the benefits are worth joining us:
- Quality Residents Choose Apt. App: Properties are able to attract quality residents who demand a tool to help them enjoy the peace and quiet they deserve.
- Peace of Mind: Residents are able to quickly, respectfully and safely resolve neighbor disturbances at any time of day without the direct involvement of property staff.
- Track Trouble Residents: Trouble residents can be more easily written up for violations as actual evidence of events can be tracked and logged by both the resident and property management.
- Reduce Resident Turn Over: Currently 68% of residents move due to poor communication with their neighbors and property staff. Apt. App offers direct communication, fast solutions and evidence of events to give residents the power to speak up and feel their voice is heard empowering them to love where they live.
- Reduce Lost Time: Residents are able to resolve common disturbances quickly, efficiently and respectfully at any time of day while the information copies to property management giving them the evidence of events for recourse if needed rather than relying on each side of the story with no evidence as many properties still waste time doing today.
- An email from Apt. App will send to property management if one particular resident receives or sends three or more notifications in a 24 hour period so the staff doesn’t have to waste time adding up notifications from the log.
- Improved Time Management: Allow staff to spend more time engaging with residents and filling vacancies.
- Save Money: By attracting and retaining quality residents, reducing turn over, cutting down on lost time, and allowing property management to spend more time building a strong living community.
Stop living in the past and contact us so we can get your property started with our revolutionary technology!