It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time renter or an experienced one; one of best pieces of advice we can give to our residents is to be considerate of your neighbors (you know … the people who live upstairs, downstairs, next door, three doors down, etc.).
Living with multiple neighbors is a big adjustment for those who are new to apartment living; but it’s a good policy to be on good terms with all or most of the residents in your apartment community. Think of it as an insurance policy. The peace of mind that comes with knowing people are there for you is priceless.
A strong network of neighbors will help make your apartment more secure by actively watching out for each other while you or your neighbors are away. Neighbors are great for watering the plants, checking the mail, removing flyers or packages left at the door that could otherwise alert people that you aren’t home.
Good neighbors can come to the rescue when you are in a bind, whether for something small like lending you an iron or a cup of milk for a recipe; or something major like providing assistance in the unfortunate case of an emergency.
The stress and tension that results from bad neighbor relationships can create an unhappy apartment living experience for everyone. No one enjoys receiving dirty looks, snide comments or enduring other passive-aggressive and immature behavior (like blasting loud music intentionally).
Be friendly towards others. You don’t necessarily need to know them well, which can be difficult given today’s busy schedules; but a simple hello or greeting goes a long way. It’s easier to know names, faces and parking spaces. Creating friendly relationships also makes it easier to interact in the future if anyone has questions or concerns.
• Be certain to keep a contact list of our community management team in case you need a maintenance fix or for emergency purposes.
• Participate in your apartment’s discussion board or resident portal. Letting other people know who you are is the first step towards a more rewarding relationship and apartment living experience.
Be soft-spoken when entering and exiting. Walking from the parking lot to the front door takes on a new level of consideration when you’re sharing a living space with others. Avoid making undue amounts of noise, such as stomping on stairwells, especially when leaving before sunrise or coming back late at night. Remember, not all residents work a “9-to-5” job and may be trying to sleep during “regular” daylight hours. Keep the noise at whisper-level in hallways as a courtesy to others. Do your best to keep loud laughter and conversations in check; close doors behind you with ease; and don’t let doors slam shut by themselves.
Be considerate of the noise level inside the apartment. This is one of the most common complaints reported to our managers. More noise etiquette is needed if you live above or are connected to another apartment. Try not to walk around apartments with adjoining floors in your shoes (put them on just prior to leaving your apartment and remove upon entering your apartment). Soft footwear makes less noise than heavy boots or high heels. It’s not necessary to thump your feet around the kitchen in the middle of the night. If a neighbor requests for you to keep the noise level down, consider that you’d want them to do the same for you and compromise readily. In the same spirit of compromise:
• Try to vacuum or use exercise machines on the weekends or when you know people are at work. Noise and vibrations can pass through floors and adjoining walls.
• Practice “quiet time” rules with children. Allow them to jump and run around during the day, but ask that they wind down when the sun sets. Spend quality time outside at the pool or in a play area. You can create more neighbor-friendly indoor play spaces by adding extra carpeting to insulate against floor noise.
• Turn the volume down. For wall-to-wall neighbors, you may want to move your stereos, speakers and televisions away from shared walls. Be considerate of the time when playing anything that makes noise, including video games.
Know the rules for different kinds of apartment parking. Respect parking spaces and don’t double park. Stay inside the lines. Know where the guest parking is located and make certain your guests are aware of the locations. Residents have the right to report parking violations to our community management team, which could lead to inquiries or even towing. Just because a neighbor rarely or never uses their parking space(s), (for example he/she doesn’t drive), it is never okay to assume that you can use it.
Be a helpful neighbor. Make this your rule for all neighbors, but especially seniors. If you see someone who can clearly use a hand, offer to help, whether it’s carrying groceries, holding open a door or closing a car trunk. If you see their mail piling up or you don’t notice their lights on at night for an unusual length of time, knock on their door and see if they’re doing okay.
Make a good first impression by introducing yourself! A friendly introduction can be as easy as “Hi, I’m Becky I live just down the hall from you.”
• Ask some basic questions, learn a little about them and share a little about yourself.
• Acknowledge your neighbor with a smile and a quick “hello” when passing by.
• Let your neighbor(s) know you are there should they need help with something.
• Exchange contact information (if you are comfortable doing so).
• Make an effort to be polite and respectful.
• Show common courtesy.
• Willingly repay a neighbor who does you a favor with a small thank-you gift or note. Let them know you appreciate them.
• Be tolerant. Try not to take your neighbor’s actions or comments personally. Chances are they were not directed at you, anyway.
• Watch your noise levels. You are probably being too loud if neighbors can hear your conversation or music inside their homes.
• Clean up after using amenities, including wiping down exercise equipment and picking up debris left around community common areas.
• Ask for assistance when you need it. Great neighbor relationships are built on give and take and mutual trust.
• Calmly and politely discuss concerns with your neighbors as soon as they arise and before they escalate into larger ones.
• Return borrowed items quickly and with gratitude (including a thank-you note or a small gift is a nice touch).
Know your apartment community’s smoking policy. Even if smoking is allowed inside the apartment, make sure that the area is completely ventilated with the windows and vents open. Properly discard fully-extinguished cigarette butts in your own trash and not out a window or in common areas. Obey all applicable rules for smoking and non-smoking apartments, alike.
Trash with class. Dumpsters/trash shoots are located around the community for everyone’s convenience. Know your community’s trash removal schedule. If you’re moving in with a lot of boxes that you’ll need to discard; check with the community management team for help with proper disposal. An empty dumpster doesn’t necessary mean that it is “fair game” for everything. Realize that your neighbors need enough room to dispose their garbage, as well. Always fold up or smash boxes to help compact trash, especially as things start to pile up throughout the week. Close garbage bags securely to help contain loose items and unpleasant smells. Close bin sides and chutes behind you when you’re done discarding.
Be cautious with guests. Be aware that reckless behavior or disputes between your guest(s) and neighbors are the lease holder’s responsibility. It’s a smart policy to not allow guests or any person not under the lease to be left alone in the apartment.
• If you’re hosting a party, warn neighbors in advance or think about inviting them. They’ll be less likely to be annoyed by noise if you’ve let them know in advance or have invited them to take part.
• Avoid having big parties or loud get-togethers on weeknights.
• Turn down party music by 10:00 pm.
• Live the golden rule. Treat others as you’d like to be treated. Put yourself in their shoes when it comes to noise levels, parking after a hard day at work and other lifestyle considerations.
• Be aware that some noises are going to occur inadvertently. Neighbors with special needs may not be in full control of the amount of noise that they make; so try to be understanding. Many noise complaints are negotiable or at least understandable; so if your neighbor is making what seems to be an undue amount of noise, ask them why before you resort to a dispute.
• Domestic arguments are one of the biggest causes of after-hours noise complaints, right up there with music and stomping on stairs. Do all that you can to defuse disagreements before they become loud enough for your neighbors to hear.
• If kitchen aromas are noticeable, open or close any nearby windows. Don’t let the odors travel towards others.
• Use a dustpan to sweep your porch rather than sweeping dust and debris onto your neighbors’ balconies and patios below.
• Help out a sick neighbor: offer to walk their dog, collect their mail and groceries, get medical assistance, etc. They’ll appreciate it and will likely look out for you, too, when you’re not well.
Feel like you have to be a social butterfly (in fact, being too friendly can come across as being a busybody, which will turn some people off).
• Ignore your neighbors when they say “hello” or wish you a good day.
• Host a large party without inviting or at least talking to your neighbors.
• Drop by every day unannounced. Having a good neighbor in your building can be great, but it doesn’t mean you have to be best friends. Unless they really are your best friend, use good judgment and respect their space and privacy.
• Park in your neighbor’s parking space.
• Allow your friends or visitors to park in your neighbor’s parking space.
• Park on the sidewalk, on the grass or other landscaped areas.
• Assume they won’t have a problem with your loud music or conversations.
If you are having difficulty resolving a conflict with a neighbor, our apartment management team is happy to help mediate. We’re experts in conflict resolution and can help open a discussion between you and your neighbors with the hope of furthering understanding and finding a mutually agreed-upon solution.
Remember: Be the apartment neighbor you’d love to have and your neighbors will be most likely to return that favor to YOU!