Dealing with good property managers is often easy and requires very little on the part of tenants to get their needs met. Sometimes, problems arise and property managers are either slow to respond or seem unavailable. You may find they disagree with what you feel is important, but if you have a situation, especially one that presents potential danger to yourself and other residents, writing a simple petition is one way to address the problem.
Draft the petition outline. List key factors or concerns about the property and specifics that you feel need the attention of the property manager. Then, compose a cover letter and include legal statutes, housing authority requirements or other details that indicate where compliance is needed.
Open the petition by writing a clear header at the top and designate what it is for. Example: Petition to Replace Leaky Plumbing and Broken Garage Entry Doors. Give an introduction, comprising a few sentences, that a) explains who is composing the petition and b) lists the undersigned residents who are in agreement with all points.
Itemize the list of concerns by priority. Make notes of anticipated time lines and possible costs. The more documentation you have, the more clout the petition will likely carry. If the walkways around five apartment buildings are all broken or the gate to the pool will not lock so unsupervised children could potentially get in, and you have taken photographs of these problems, mention that you have the photos on file and will be available, as needed.
Add your expectations for resolution by the property manager. Note any efforts that have previously been made. Example: After 6 months of attempting to have these needs resolved, we feel it is imperative that the property manager take appropriate and immediate action. Avoid threatening words, but ask what you want in no uncertain terms.
Revise the petition by editing out unnecessary words, reordering item priorities and content and checking spelling. If you have data, check that they are 100% accurate and that you have the references to support this information. Ask someone else to review the document to ensure that the petition reads clearly, that the points are clearly defined, and that all is in good order.
Leave room at the bottom for blank lines where people can sign and date, once you either take around or email the petition to other residents. If possible, leave space to note apartment, office or unit numbers. If you are the sole party filing a petition, leave enough room for your signature. Complete your final draft, date it, back it up on disc or handle in your usual manner. Keep copies of the blank original as well as copies of other documents you submit.
Collect the appropriate signatures, along with additional supportive materials. Make copies of all signed petitions and submit the final petition to the property manager.
Consider getting legal assistance if the property manager has been unresponsive and is taking too long to meet basic tenant rights. This is especially important if dangerous situations have arisen.
Avoid confrontation as in angry mobs. This will get you nowhere. A more constructive approach is to request a meeting subsequent to filing the petition or to hand it directly to the property manager at a meeting wherein residents have joined to share their thoughts and concerns.
- Consider getting legal assistance if the property manager has been unresponsive and is taking too long to meet basic tenant rights. This is especially important if dangerous situations have arisen.
- Avoid confrontation as in angry mobs. This will get you nowhere. A more constructive approach is to request a meeting subsequent to filing the petition or to hand it directly to the property manager at a meeting wherein residents have joined to share their thoughts and concerns.
Debra J. Rigas, a professional writing coach, has been a writer and editor since 1975. She is the author of the nonfiction book "Everyone's A Guru" and has edited novels ("The Woman Pope") and worked in arts and sciences as a filmmaker, boat captain, landscaper, counselor, theater administrator and licensed midwife.