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‘Silence is golden’ when dealing with angry tenants

17 November 2014 Elyse Perrau

Angry and emotional tenants can be frustrating and upsetting for a property manager. Drawing a line under personal attacks and avoiding emails can lessen the fallout of a heated confrontation, say leading PMs.

Realmark corporate director of property management Sara Young said she has seen many property managers hide behind emails, which often escalates the problem. 

“Emails can be misinterpreted and they can go back and forth, prolonging the issue,” she told Residential Property Manager.

“I encourage the team to get on the phone, or face to face, and talk - five minutes talking can often stop a days worth of stress.“

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Ms Young said one of the hardest things in property management can be staying cool when a situation becomes heated. 

“Silence is golden - listen, stay calm and don't bite back if a conversation becomes personal,” she said.

“Let the tenant get it all out. It is important to remember you are the 'middle man' and working on behalf of the owner, and you must follow the owner's instructions.”

Also speaking to Residential Property Manager, M Residential head of property management and director Laura Levisohn said she has suffered from a personal attack before when dealing with an over-emotional tenant.

“I sat back and listened and let the tenant ‘vent’ - once they stopped I then advised them that I won’t be able to assist them in resolving the issue unless they are able to speak to me in a calm manner and speak to me respectfully,” she said. 

“If they are unable to speak calmly to me now, I’m happy that we end the call and they take the time to calm down and gather their thoughts and then call me back when they are ready. 

“If you fuel their anger by arguing back, communication lines fail and you will both get nowhere closer to a result, not to mention the stress placed on the PM who may not be confident or have the office support in conflict resolution,” she added.

LJ Hooker Cessnock general manager Mellissa Gibson said personal attacks happen regularly to property managers.

“This is truly the lowest form of attack for some, it’s generally tenants who are not getting their own way or who don't like the reality of the situation,” she told Residential Property Manager.

“To be put simply, this behaviour is not acceptable in my office."

Ms Gibson said with upset tenants you should never take the “monkey off their back” and burden yourself with their problems.

“Be mindful of the language used, for example never say ‘I will help you solve this situation’- I recommend you say ‘I will do my best to help you with your situation but you need to help me’," she said.

“It keeps the monkey off your back and you don’t need to have their issues or drama on your shoulders.

“After all, we are not therapists - we are property managers,” she added. 

‘Silence is golden’ when dealing with angry tenants
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