Tip #46

Keep the Neighbors Happy

Written on December 16, 2014 by

Happy NeighborsKeeping neighbors happy is no small task. It takes a lot of compliments and a bit of finesse.

If your tenants upset the neighbors, you stand to lose out – big time! Tenants will come and go, but your neighbors will be there year after year.

If they aren’t happy, they may choose to take it out on your tenants, or even report issues to the local government.

Common Issues from Neighbors:

Parties:

Getting a phone call from a neighbor because they are concerned that your tenants are having a “raging” party (i.e. there are too many cars parked on the street).

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Grass:

Receiving a citation from your city because a rental property neighbor is unhappy with the length of your grass or quality of your snow removal.

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Trees:

Discovering that a neighbor has chopped down some of your trees or shrubbery because they didn’t like the leaves falling in their yard.

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Erratic behavior:

Catching a rental neighbor act in a rude manner with no reasonable explanation.

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If you own properties in residential neighborhoods, you can probably relate to one or all of these scenarios and are well aware how conflict with the neighbors can bring stress to your days and nights. You probably also know that appearances are everything, and neighbors will assume the worst.

Call me crazy, but I prefer to be the recipient of the neighbor’s home-baked holiday gifts than a nasty phone call.

So before you all head over to my house for the amazing butter brickle that I just received, here are some tips on how to stay on your neighbors’ Nice List.

The “Must Do’s” for Happy Neighbors:

  • Clearly define a “party.”
    Make sure you have a “no party” clause in your lease and that your tenants clearly understand what defines a “party.” This eliminates opportunities for nuisance complaints.
  • Know your neighbors.
    Make sure the neighbors know who you are, the landlord extraordinaire, and provide them with your contact information. This sets the tone for open communication.
  • Encourage communication.
    Encourage your tenants to introduce themselves to the neighbors as soon as they move in. This helps the neighbors see your tenants as people and not the new problem next door.
  • Maintain your property.
    You know the saying, “A photo is worth a thousand words.Well, guess what, your house is the picture that your neighbors see!

The Less Obvious Ways to Make Happy Neighbors:

  • Make maintenance visible.
    Make sure they see you around – maintaining the property. – This demonstrates that you care about their neighborhood.
  • Be Friendly
    If you see them, call them by their name and say, “Hi!” – Yes, this means you must learn their first name.
  • Always answer the phone.
    Ask them to call you anytime, because otherwise they will call the police. Not answering the phone will only make them more angry.

Leave a Positive Impression

My final tip is definitely going above and beyond the call of duty, and I honestly do not do it every year. It is, however, guaranteed to leave a lasting, positive impact:

Send the neighbors a thank you note or a token of appreciation for being good neighbors.

Letting them know that you appreciate their efforts in watching out for the house, keeping you updated on neighborhood events or anything else positive they have done will likely encourage repeat behavior.

This spring we received a starter plant gift with a note that said: “Thank you for sharing your neighborhood with us. Sincerely, XYZ Elementary School.”

And you know what, I will probably never forget that.

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via cc
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