The Meter is Running
The Habitat Article Archive includes the full text of all of our
magazine articles dating back to 2002. You can view 3 articles per
month for free. (Repeat views of the same article don’t count
against your monthly limit.)
To read more, purchase a print subscription or a daily or yearly All-Access Pass
and get unlimited access to the Archive. Prices start at 1.95.
You've reached your free article limit for this month.
To read this article and gain unlimited access to the Habitat Article
Archive, which includes the full text of all our magazine articles
dating back to 2002, purchase an All-Access Pass.
Taking an active role in solving resident disputes can keep problems out of court.
AUTHORJoan Konow, Key Real Estate Associates
PAGE #p. 50
Hoarding can be a difficult problem, but a considerate response can maintain peace.
We had received several complaints of a foul odor emanating from an apartment on a lower-level floor of the 65-unit co-op we manage on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We attempted to reach the resident and sent correspondence to the sponsor who owns the unit, and he, in turn, sent legal paperwork to his tenant, a woman in her 80s. We learned that the senior citizen occupying the apartment had serious hoarding issues, which was having an effect on her neighbors across the hall who were trying to sell their apartment. In addition, several nearby units reported mice and fly problems. As legal bills loomed greater, so too did the smells and the anger of her neighbors.
We took an active role in trying to bring harmony back to the building. Our office and the board president met with the tenant directly, and we offered assistance. The super volunteered his time to help her clean the unit. The board president, after talking with the board, offered to have her apartment painted and the floor refinished. Once the debris was removed, the odors were completely alleviated. The resident was so pleased with her “new” living space that she talked about planning a dance party in her apartment. While the party never materialized, neighbors on the floor now say “hello” to each other, which they hadn’t been doing before this happened.
Sometimes, legal action shouldn’t be the first action. It isn’t always as effective as direct contact. Sometimes, the community can have a big impact on a bad situation by focusing on the human side of things and extending a helping hand to be good neighbors.