by Mary Girsch-Bock –
Property managers often refer to their properties as communities, and rightfully so. But have you ever thought about strengthening that community?One of the things that apartment dwellers typically cite about living in an apartment is a sense of isolation. Often, renters are new to the area, or even the state, and would like to meet their neighbors, but conflicting schedules can often preclude social activities. In order to build and strengthen your community, consider implementing a few of the suggestions below:
- Have a balcony decorating contest – but with a twist. Instead of a Christmas theme, why not hold the contest for Halloween or even Independence Day? Apartment dwellers often don’t have the ability to express their creativity, so hosting a balcony/decorating contest is a great way to allow your residents to decorate to their heart’s content, and be an active part of the community as well.
- Form a community watch program. While safety is a major concern for all property managers, providing residents with the ability to be proactive in keeping their homes safe gives them a sense of responsibility and a feeling of usefulness, while also helping to deter property crimes.
- Grow a community garden. While not practical for all properties, those with a little extra space may want to consider starting a community garden. Solicit volunteers to help with the planting and harvesting, then donate the produce to a local food bank or shelter.
- Plan events monthly. Almost all properties have one or two events a year, usually structured around the holidays. Consider holding monthly events such as a local author event, flea market or community garage sale, or even monthly movie night, with management supplying the popcorn.
- Hold a monthly drawing for a gift card or free gas. Enter everyone who pays their rent on a timely basis.
- If you don’t already have one, begin a monthly community newsletter. Include recipes, resident announcements, and a few coupons to local stores. If you already have a newsletter, make sure it goes out every month. If you start to include content that people want to read, your tenants will begin to look forward to each issue.
While many of the suggestions above require some additional time and effort from you and your staff, creating a sense of community is should be at the top of your list. By providing your tenants with a sense of home and belonging, you’ll create loyal group of tenants who are likely to remain happy renters for the long term.