Tenant Relations Do Pan Out
As property managers how we interact with our tenants can sometimes make the difference between them staying at the property or going. One of our tenants, Ramona, stayed in an apartment with us for over five years. She had made her apartment home and was happy there.
When Ramona applied for an apartment she didn’t meet our qualifications and ended up needing a cosigner. We were happy to work with her to get a cosigner. However, she was a woman in her 60’s; she did not have living parents, a spouse, children or any family nearby. She ended up talking her boss into cosigning for her.
Over the five years she rented from us she always paid on time and was tidy. She called the office a lot and made requests and shared several personal health concerns. Over the years the relationship grew into more of a friendship. Although we always try to maintain a professional distance, Ramona’s need for an ear and a shoulder was something we were more than willing to provide. She was lonesome and as her property managers, and as humans, we did our best to help her, hear her out, and be there for her.
One day we received a very unfortunate call from Ramona’s boss. Ramona had suddenly passed away at her workplace that day. We were devastated by the news. She was ailing when we met her and struggled with various physical issues but we were still shocked and saddened. We didn’t know who to contact or who would take care of Ramona’s house full of furniture, decorations, memories and her life left behind. In speaking with her boss, we found out Ramona had a niece and the boss found the niece’s number in Ramona’s cellphone.
We called the niece to deliver the sad news and see if there was a will in place. The niece was Ramona’s only living relative and was not close in proximity or personally to her aunt. But she was the only one mentioned in Ramona’s will and felt obligated to collect the inheritance. With the property owner’s permission, we were able to hold Ramona’s apartment exactly how she left it until her niece could arrive. Ramona’s niece eventually came to Ramona’s apartment and was able to remove most of the items. Once the niece finished, we went into Ramona’s apartment to finish clearing it out. Ramona’s apartment was emptied out of everything else, with the exception of a set of pans. We took them home as our little reminder of Ramona.
To this day, those pans cook meals for Ramona’s family: Her property management family. Sometimes, having tenant relations means more than collecting rent or answering a maintenance concern. It’s about building relationships and being someone who will notice you aren’t here, who misses having chats with you about your latest doctor’s visit, and someone who remembers you while making meals in those pans.