Every community has unique traits that make it feel like home to the people who live there. One thing all communities have in common is that the people living there expect it to be a safe place. As the person responsible for the property that is ultimately someone else’s home, you want to make sure the space remains safe for everyone living there. From recognizing someone who might cause trouble to taking care of yourself, there are several things you can do to create a culture of safety for your residents.
Dealing with residents who might be battling a mental or emotional illness is challenging. It’s important to remember that you don’t always know someone’s full story, but you do have a duty to protect your tenants. Mental illness may manifest itself in excessive noise, threats, trespassing, physical violence, property damage, hoarding, or driving under the influence. Gather all the facts, refer to your community’s governing documents, and consult with a professional if necessary. Traditional injunctions or cease-and-desist orders may not be appropriate for a mentally ill resident who is causing trouble or harassing other tenants.
Generally, it’s a good idea to reach out to local mental health resources and seek to provide training for your landlords, property managers, and employees on how to recognize certain signs and symptoms. The best way to address an unsafe situation is to prevent it. As always, you should consult with an attorney before you pursue legal action against one of your residents.
Discrimination can lead to an unsafe feeling for many residents. Fair housing training should be offered to all your property managers and employees on a regular basis. Remind your tenants and community members that discriminatory activities based on race, religion, sex, gender, nationality, etc. are not tolerated.
When you’re dealing with any situation that is making your tenants feel unsafe, consider the following before you take action:
Finally, remember that kindness is free. Always treat your tenants and employees with respect and kindness. Make sure you are approachable and accessible for your community members. If an unsafe situation ever arises on your property, your tenants are more likely to report it immediately if they feel comfortable around the property manager. The best thing you can do for your residents is embody that feeling of home and safety in everything you do with and for them.