You may have noticed during the recent holiday season that the community population swelled considerably in numbers, problems, and complaints. These continuing issues seem to be less about the increase in the number of people visiting, and more about the lack of understanding of the community’s rules and regulations by owners and tenants. The resident’s complaints vary from unauthorized street parking (odd or even) to the hours guests and minors are allowed in the pool and fitness center, to whether, or not, the pool bather is adequately diapered (infant or senior). The resident (owner or tenant) is responsible for communicating the rules and regulations to their guests; however, it typically falls to the management staff after a rule has been violated! Is this familiar to anyone? Anyone?
I suggest you do yourself a favor and create a new resident guide, guest orientation sheet, or full-blown welcome packet containing everything a new resident needs to know. Include information on policies and procedures, how to connect to the local cable company, water and electric company, days for trash pick-up, and rules for guests visiting the community. The local Chamber of Commerce will be happy to share their informational maps, guides and books for you to give to new residents. If you do not have time, assign it to a member of your staff, or ask a peer manager if they will share their documents with you to tailor to your association. Begin with a check list of items you wish to cover, and don’t forget to ask the resident to acknowledge receipt of the association rules and regulations in writing. You will be able to refer to their acknowledgement when a future compliance issue arises! Another good idea is to print a half-page “rules for guests” on card stock with the most frequently violated rules, and have them handy when the inevitable complaint occurs. Grab the form, and when you investigate the complaint you can hand them a “rule card” as a reminder to both the owner and their guest for future reference (feel free to ignore the “deer-in-the- headlights” look from the resident). These suggestions may make it a little easier to stay sane during peak population and activity periods.
Endeavor to persevere.
Tanoa Lynne Poirier is the Managing Principal at Poirier Enterprises Inc., specializing in the management of community associations, commercial and investment properties, and individual residences in South Florida.
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