I don’t care what your policy says.

Almost every morning, after I check my email and take care of anything that’s pressing, I open up Facebook.  It’s kind of like my morning newspaper – with the stories I actually care about.  Yesterday’s top story: A dear friend from college, whom I’ve not spoken to in a while, is suffering abject misery at the hands of his apartment community management.

Now, call me a crusader if you will, but this stuck in my craw.  I shot him a message and asked if I could help in any way and he gave me a call back.  It seems that his cats are under attack.  He had one when he moved in, and when he was thinking about adopting a second pet, he went to the office and asked them if he needed to pay a second pet deposit, or if they needed any paperwork on his second cat.  At that time, they told him, no, they didn’t need anything else.

Jump ahead 8 months.  He goes in to ask them about transferring to a new home and if his pet deposit will transfer.  When they mention that it will depend on how much damage there is, he tells them that there isn’t much because both of his cats are de-clawed.  They clarify that he has multiple cats, grab his file and then tell him that there’s no record of a second cat.  He reminds them of the interchange 8 months prior and they reply with, “Well, no one in THIS office would have ever said that to you.  Get rid of the cat.”

Kitty

Now, maybe behind that leasing desk or management desk, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, because we’re just following policy.  But on the other side, in the resident’s shoes, this is a VERY big problem.  You’ve got a resident who has bonded with this animal, and they remember that your office told them this was okay.  Even if you win this one because “It’s what our policy says,” you still lose.

When a resident remembers talking to someone in your office about something specific, you’re pretty stupid to dismiss them with a statement about how no one in the office would say that.  In my experience, someone did.  And what’s worse, the resident can’t prove it… but neither can you – odds are, a person who gave them the wrong information about your pet policy isn’t exactly on the ball about recording resident interaction in your resident logs.  And just because you, “don’t need to prove it – the lease stands firm,” doesn’t make you look like any less of a horrible management/landlord when word of mouth starts to circulate about you being a total jerk over a misunderstanding that REALLY, in the large scheme of things, doesn’t make a huge amount of difference to people who don’t work in the industry and don’t care about your stupid policy.

They are our renters.  Our customers.  When you, or someone in your office drops the ball – or it’s a likely probability that they DID, even if you or the resident can’t prove it – take the hit to your ego and move forward, finding a solution for both of you that works.  Otherwise, within three seconds of leaving your office, the tale of what a horrible person and what a terrible place to live you are will be hitting Apartment Ratings and Facebook.  The fact of the matter is that I don’t care what your policy says.  And neither does your renter.  Do right by them, and they will do right by you.  Why is this such a hard concept to understand?