Property Management and Dealing with Resident Harassment and Bullying
It can be tempting to ignore bad behavior by residents towards others. Some property owners might even prefer that tenants handle disagreements between themselves. However, professional property managers understand that ignoring the problem isn’t an option. Property managers have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe and happy. Besides that, some government agencies such as HUD require landlords to mediate problems between tenants. Letting resident harassment or bullying go unchecked can get a rental property owner in legal trouble.
When an issue arises between tenants or among residents and visitors, there are some questions that property managers can ask themselves to help determine when or if they need to get involved. These questions are:
- Does the resident’s behavior pose a risk or the possibility of endangering another?
- Did the violation or behavior threaten another’s safety?
- What does the lease or addendum say about the behavior?
- Is there a policy against tenant discrimination, harassment, or bullying?
Professional property managers like Martin Feinberg understand that they cannot ignore complaints that one resident is harassing or bullying another. Complaints of harassment and bullying must be objectively investigated. This is especially true if a resident is displaying discriminatory behavior or making intolerant remarks.
Should it become necessary for a property manager to get involved, they must be prepared to offer legitimate solutions to the problem. Some solutions may include offering relocation options, letting one or both parties out of their leases without penalty, or providing information on free mediation services.
If the harassment is severe enough property mangers should require the complainant to contact local authorities. If the police or courts get involved, property managers need to be prepared to offer options that will honor protection orders, change locks, and bifurcation of the lease to remove someone convicted of domestic violence.
Hopefully most property managers will not have to deal with harassment and bullying among tenants very often. Having a no discrimination policy, leases that cover harassment and bullying behavior, and being prepared to quickly handle situations if they arise, will help ensure that it is handled correctly if it does occur.