Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
We had two couples who lived on our property, one directly above the other. They’d moved into their respective homes within just a few days of each other. Having leased to both couples, who were about the same age, I figured they’d wind up being great neighbors and perhaps even friends. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Almost immediately we started receiving complaints that began with Upstairs Couples’ dog urinating on the balcony. It was dripping down onto the patio below. Upstairs Couple would leave their dog on the patio while they were at work all day and in addition to the pet waste problem, the dog would bark and whine, disturbing Downstairs Boyfriend who worked from home.
Trash, Music, and Butts
The dog issue was just the tip of the iceberg. The couples also argued over cigarette butts, loud music, trash, heavy footsteps—the list went on forever! Hardly a day went by without one or the other of them calling in to report a complaint.
One afternoon, Downstairs Girlfriend came storming into our leasing office screaming at me because of something Upstairs Girlfriend said to her. She went on a long rant about how if we didn’t do something, she was going to have to take matters into her own hands.
I calmed her down and after some deliberation, decided that the situation had gone on long enough. I was going to call in both couples for a meeting and see if we could finally resolve their problems. The four of them agreed to come to the office the next day. The tension in the air was so thick, you could have cut it with a knife. At one point they were all shouting and cursing each other.
I finally stood up and demanded silence. “Okay,” I said, “We’re obviously not getting anywhere here but I think I have a solution. We don’t normally do this but we’re going to allow one couple to move to another apartment on the other side of the community. There’s an upstairs, vacant unit that is the same floor plan as the one you both have now.”
Downstairs Boyfriend shook his head. “We ain’t movin’!” he snarled and pointed at the other couple. “We were here first and it’s these a#*holes who’ve made our lives a living hell since they moved in with their stupid, #@*!ing dog. They’re gonna have to move!”
Here's How It’s Going to Go Down
His stubborn, hateful remark sparked an all-out war of words that might have quickly ended up becoming physical if I hadn’t had the foresight to include our onsite police officer in the meeting. I breathed a sigh of relief as he quickly stepped in and ordered my residents to shut up and sit back down.
Thankfully the couples complied and took their seats again.
“Here’s the way this is going to go down,” said the officer. “All four of you have been an ongoing headache for this poor woman and her staff for months.”
He nodded in my direction, giving me a kind smile then continued. “She has tried time and again to resolve your issues, but you all continue to act like children instead of adults. I happen to know there’ve been a couple of times when she would have been well within her rights under the leases you signed to evict you. But here you are carrying on like idiots again. She’s giving you an opportunity to make your living situations better and none of you are willing to make a change. I tell you, it’s a real shame.”
After a couple of beats, Upstairs Boyfriend stood and said, “Okay, we’ll move but I want to do it right away. I don’t want to live next to these people any longer than we have to, and I don’t want them around when we’re moving our stuff. They’ll just find something else to gripe about.”
I watched as he grabbed Upstairs Girlfriend by the hand, and they stormed out of my office.
Downstairs Couple assured the officer and me they would make themselves scarce on move-out day then quietly left.
I’d love to say this story has a happy ending, but it turned out that when Upstairs Couple moved into their new apartment, we started receiving complaints almost immediately from the long-time residents below them. We’d never heard a peep from them before this, so we knew who was causing the trouble.
Apparently, Upstairs Couple just couldn’t “play nicely” with others. They ended up skipping out in the night before we could officially evict them.
Monica E. Simmons, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JDC Enterprises, LLC, has worked in the multi-family industry in several different capacities since 1987. She is a published author whose books include; I Have A Complex, But I’m Managing It!, It Happened in The Hill Country, 30-Love and it's sequel, Match Point.
Contact her at: Monica@TheVendorGuide.com