Neighbor Complaints: How to Manage & How We Can Help
I can safely say that most of us don't move into an apartment community wanting to be a bad neighbor. I'd actually go so far as to say that nobody does. Then, on the other hand, I feel confident in saying that nobody moves into an apartment wanting to file neighbor complaints either. But, alas, it can and does happen. When you have that many people co-existing in one building, it is invevitable. One of the most hilarious videos I have ever seen is this parody video about upstairs neighbors vs. downstairs neighbors. While it is a parody, there is truth behind the perception verses reality. Stacked living can be super tricky. You've got the potential of neighbors beside, behind, on top and below you and the potential of thousands of neighbors depending upon how your community is set up. But that is where we come in - your Camden leasing office team. We are here to field and mediate any complaints that come in - no matter on which side you may fall.
I have come to know three different types of residents - the highly tolerant (letting it all just roll of their back and never report anything), the moderate (only report it once it has gotten super bad and/or creates a safety concern), and, finally, the highly conscious (report everything). There is absolutely nothing wrong with falling into any of these categories. Our differences are what make the world go 'round, and honestly, your leasing team is there for you. This is your home, and should you have a concern, we want to know about it. I've been in property management eleven years this month and I have listened to a lot of those concerns over those years. Below is a list of the ten most common complaints that we receive in the leasing office. I have provided a breakdown of how to handle it if you identify as this person, how to address it if you are the complainant and then, finally, what we can do about it in the leasing office.
The Heavy Walkers + The Runners - Someone who just walks a bit on the loud side or those that have little runners in their home.
If this is you: We do not expect anyone to walk on eggshells while living in their home and we know that some people are just born with lead feet. We also understand that families live in apartments and that there may be little tykes that like to run around at times in the home. What we do say is to be mindful. Just mindful that you do possibly have downstairs neighbors and that what you hear on your end is only amplified.
If this is your neighbor: Try and come from a place of understanding that they are more than likely not doing this to be malicious and that children sometimes get downright energetic and that the parent is most likely doing whatever they can to prevent the disturbance below. If it gets unbearable and you find it to be constant issue, you should definitely reach out to management.
What we can do: For heavy-walkers, we, unfortunately, cannot change the way a person walks. However, we can certainly send a reminder about them living in a stacked community to see if that helps. For the runners, if a reminder letter about quiet hours and stacked living does not seem to work, this can be a situation well-suited for mediation. A meditation is a meeting at the office with both parties and a member of the office present who acts as a mediator. A lot of the times when someone hears that it is not being done purposefully, it changes the tone and everyone can move forward amicably, even exchanging phone numbers for direct contact in the event the noise returns.
The Music Lover - They loooooove music. Like, really love it. Every song is their jam, they own musical instruments, a sub-woofer and they play these things loudly.
If this is you: We love music, too! Just remember music is for your enjoyment and not your neighbors (the same goes for your TV volume). If you own a sub-woofer, make sure it is not on the floor or any shared wall. For musical instruments, it is a good idea to make sure you are not actively playing/practicing during your community quiet hours. It may even be a good idea to let your neighbors know you have them and to be pro-active by exchanging numbers and letting them know they can reach out to you if they feel it has reached a level where they are being disturbed. It is also worthwhile to point out that even if it is not the community quiet hours, that does not mean you can play as loudly as you wish.
If this is your neighbor: If it gets to the point where you feel the need to contact the office, that is OK. It is also OK if you do not feel comfortable talking to your neighbor directly. Not everyone does.
What we can do: If it happens during business hours, we can call the resident directly and speak with them. If this is something that is happening after hours, we can either call them or send them a friendly reminder about stacked living and quiet hours. Unless you know the person, we do not recommend going to speak to them at night unless, of course, you are comfortable doing so. If it continues, lease violations can be issued, and we can also look into doing mediation sessions.
The Zookeeper - They have multiple four-legged pets - and they bark and run at times.
If this is you: Many pet-friendly communities have stipulations regarding multiple pets as well as weight limits on upper floors. Check with them about this when leasing as well as after leasing, just to make sure you won't be in default of any lease agreements. Do your best to make sure your dog(s) do not run and play in the household if living on upper floors. Finding communities with bark parks or within close proximity to dog run areas may be very beneficial. Definitely keep in mind that what you may hear upstairs, is probably twice as loud to your downstairs neighbor. As for barking, we know that a dog will bark at times, but if you have a dog that barks on a consistent basis due to anxiety or other factors, there are a lot of sites out there geared to help you. Rover has great tips such as 4 Surefire Ways to Stop Dog Barking.
If this is your neighbor: Is the noise happening in sporadic bits or is it happening more constantly? Sometimes dogs just get super happy when their owners get home and have that hyper burst for a few minutes and then it is over. You should be able to tell the difference between that sort of thing and then when someone is actually playing ball or fetch inside their home or if they are running constantly to get energy out. The same goes for barking. Is it happening in short bursts or is it continual? Getting those answers first is very helpful for the office. When you live at a pet-friendly community, dogs can bark from time to time and will run for a bit in the home.
What we can do: First, we need to determine the severity. We completely understand that a barking dog may be a nuisance, but we really need to try and figure out if it is a constant or a short-lived incident, like when a person walks by and then it's over type of thing. We will reach out to the resident to see what may be going on and come up with some solutions on our end.
The Social Butterfly - Those who like late-night parties and frequent get-togethers that end up on your balcony.
If this is you: Have your social life! We don't want a butterfly to become a wallflower simply because they live in an apartment community. What you should still be is courteous and respectful of your neighbors - meaning no loud parties on the balconies until the wee hours of the morning - ya know, that sort of thing.
If this is your neighbor: If you are not comfortable going to your neighbor because you do not know them, definitely reach out to the leasing office.
What we can do: Your leasing office can send a reminder to the resident and we will, most likely, inform you that you can call a non-emergency police line to report after hours noise ordinance complaints if this sort of thing happens. They will come out and assess the situation at that time so you do not have to deal with the noise for a long period of time. This is done completely anonymously by them so you should not have any concerns with addressing it. If we send a reminder and that does not work, we will begin issuing lease violations. If it gets to a point where nothing is working, we can ask someone to move.
The Cigarette Butt Thrower - This is someone who throws their cigarette butts on the ground down to someone else's patio or balcony or around the community in general.
If this is you: It is understood that some people smoke. What you would need to make sure you do is smoke responsibly. This would be things such as disposing of your cigarettes in an ashtray or even a sand bucket, making sure they are 100% extinguished before moving on, and making sure any ashtray or anything of that nature is covered so that it does not blow if it gets windy.
If this is your neighbor: Simply inform the office.
What we can do: We will definitely start by having it cleaned up. If we are not sure of who is doing it, we will send out a building reminder not only about the disrespectful factor but about the safety and sanitary factors as well.
The Fergie - They be up in the gym just workin' on their fitness...psych. They are actually doing it in their apartment.
If this is you: We are jealous. We wish we had that kind of fitness enthusiasm and commitment. Keep in mind that heavy fitness tasks such as jumping jacks, running man, jump squats, etc can cause quite the disturbance to those below. There are wonderful sites out there dedicated to informing you how to work out in an apartment living situation.
If this is your neighbor: Don't be discouraged. You can either contact the leasing office or, if you know your neighbor, you can contact them directly. Sometimes people honestly don't know what it can sound like to people who live beneath them.
What we can do: A couple of things: Firstly, we can see if one of two compromises can be reached. Camden communities pack some serious punch in the fitness center department, so we can remind them of our gym facilities and that they are there for them. Or we can offer a mediation session. For example, I had a situation just like this some years ago. The issue was not that the person was working out so much as the room that they were working out in when they worked out. We were able to find this out during the session and, lo and behold, they themselves, came up with the solution of the "Fergie" in this situation, simply working out in another room. Simple and amicable solution.
The Night Owl/Graveyard Shifter - Maybe an insomniac, maybe someone who is most productive when the moon is high so therefore are done at night like vacuuming, laundry, etc.
If this is you: It's ok! No one is expecting you to get another job during daylight hours or change a lifestyle. Just simply thinking about what types of activities you do at night and cause noise - like the vacuuming or laundry - and finding a way to minimize that or work around doing it when others may be in deep sleep is a good starting point.
If this is your neighbor: We understand that you may be hearing day-to-day activities at night so you are more than welcome to reach out the office if you are not comfortable talking with your neighbor because you do not know them.
What we can do: We can reach out to the resident and remind them of community quiet hours. Many times this will resolve the issue but, if it does not, we can offer a mediation session. A mediation in this particular scenario typically results in the residents arriving at a mutual agreement on what time works best for both parties for certain activities.
The Trash Violator - Trash is left out during undesignated times and/or trash is not in container.
If this is you: Don't let this be you. Please read your communities rules and regulations regarding trash pick-up. The vendor who services the community typically has a flier that is distributed upon move-in or you can ask the leasing staff for this. Leaving trash out during non-pickup hours or loose is very disrespectful to not only your community but to your neighbors as well. Trash can attract bugs, leak everywhere and is just generally unsightly.
If this is your neighbor: Please let the office know so that we may address the issue immediately.
What we can do: Communities as well as the vendors do building audits when they are able. From there, or through direct complaints, we can issue a warning, subsequently followed by lease violations and fines if there are repeat occurrences. Some communities may even revoke the service if the rules are not followed.
The Pet Waste Leaver - Someone who does not pick up after their pet.
If this is you: Please think about your community and your neighbors. This is not only home to many people, but this is also a community that many people work hard to keep beautiful. Not picking up after your pet is disrespectful as well as irresponsible and unsanitary.
If this is your neighbor: You can report a neighbor to the office. Many times there is a lease violation/fine that will accompany something of this nature. Some apartment communities even participate in a "Doggy D.N.A." which can pinpoint exactly who the resident is due to identifying the dog.
What we can do: We will always do our best to combat this issue pro-actively. Many communities have services that pick up on a daily or weekly basis to stay ahead of it. We can also issue warnings, lease violations and fines to those who do not pick up after their pets. Community and building reminders are also an option.
The Inconsiderate Parker- This can be someone who parks over the lines, parks in a handicap spot without the proper tags, or parks their car at the front of the building and does not move it for a long period of time.
If this is you: Park considerately and respectfully. Please realize that the parking lot is used by all residents and their guests, not just yourself.
If this is your neighbor: You can report the vehicle to the office. Please note that we highly suggest refraining from leaving nasty notes as this does not accomplish anything.
What we can do: Since we keep license plates on file, chances are we can contact the person directly if the issue is happening during business hours. If it is after hours, we just need as much info as possible so that we can send a reminder, and then lease violations if the need arises due to a continuation of the offense. The vehicle can also be towed, if necessary, but I would say that is a last ditch approach for sure.
The resolutions above are good starting points and, because each situation is different, it may require more tailoring in its resolve. We never want anyone to feel like they cannot live within their home whether you are being complained against or the one filing a complaint. Many times a middle ground can be reached and that is why your leasing office is here. We are your in-between, your go-to person. If you do ever have to place a complaint against a neighbor, know that we do go about it from an anonymous standpoint. We are not going to announce to anyone who filed the complaint. Also, if you are the one being complained against, please do not feel like we are singling you out. When we get a complaint, it is our duty to address it. We always do our best to make sure what we present is accurate and informed, but if you feel like the complaint was in the wrong, please let us know. We cannot make anything better if we are not made aware. Communication is crucial.
Living at a Camden community means you already have one of the best tools around for anything you may need - the awesome leasing team in the office. Just remember...we are here for you.
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