Managing Diverse Communities Living Under the Same Roof

 One of the most rewarding aspects of living in an urban area is the opportunity  for people from a broad array of ethnic and sociological backgrounds to get to  know each other as neighbors. That doesn't mean that managing a building or  association that’s home to different people from different backgrounds doesn't sometimes pose  distinct challenges, however. Sensitivity, good humor, and good communication  are key to navigating these challenges and celebrating the diversity of  residents and neighbors.  

 Friction Points

 For some managers, economic status seems to be the biggest hotbed of potential  conflict between residents. “Residents with larger budgets obviously have different concerns, desires and  needs,” says Scott Seger, president of the Forth Group, a management company in  Chicago. “This becomes very evident in properties that have a number of typical units and  then a few penthouse units that are many times the cost/assessments of the  other units.”  

 Usually, the disparity doesn't translate directly into conflict however. “Most people who buy into high-end units with less costly neighboring units are  typically not creating issues for the majority,” says Seger.  

 But sometimes that's not the case, according to Keith Hales, president of Hales  Property Management in Chicago. High-rolling owners with an over-inflated sense  of entitlement may find themselves butting heads with more modestly-funded  neighbors who are more accustomed to figuring things out on their own.  

 “Some wealthy owners are used to a higher level of service,” he says. “However, the association may not budget enough money to address those elevated  expectation levels, which usually translates into a direct issue for the  property manager.”  


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