Controlling Garbage on Property

It’s not a glamorous part of property management, but trash management is critically important to the job. Without properly enforced rules about trash, recycling and large item pickups, your property will be looking like the junkyard in no time. While it’s true that most responsible adults like to live in – and therefore keep – their communities clean and safe, not all your tenants will be so motivated.
A litter filled community is something to avoid at all costs. Not only does it drive down your curb appeal, it makes more work for your maintenance team. While sweeping the parking lots once or twice a week is to be expected, picking up after tenants’s mess on a daily basis may be too much for some employees. Of course, tenants who aren’t contributing to the mess will be annoyed and complain to your office, too. You risk alienating responsible renters if you chose not to act.
So how does a great property manager handle an out of control trash situation on their property? Consider the root issue of why people litter: laziness. If your communal dumpster is overflowing, invest in another one you can place on the opposite side of the property for the tenants there. Another idea is to invest in trash concierge services. This kind of service allows tenants to place their garbage at their door for daily pickup. Though it can be pricey, you can pass some of the cost on to tenants and benefit from a cleaner property.
Another idea to combat lazy litterers is to invest in cameras to watch over the communal dumpster. You’ll be able to spot patterns among your tenants and see who is frequently to blame for the trash that doesn’t quite make it into the dumpster. For a slightly more aggressive solution, post signs reminding renters that 95 percent of people living in the community do not litter. This kind of peer pressure seems juvenile, but you’ll be surprised at how effective it can be says Cal Bay Property Management’s Scott Safadi.
Prevention can also help prevent this situation in an unlikely way. Carefully screened tenant applications (and calls to references) can help you root out the sloppy tenants from the mature ones.
No matter how you choose to handle an unruly garbage situation, do so quickly! Nothing drives away new tenants (or forces out responsible ones) like a trash-laden community.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management
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