Why is building community good business for landlords?
Community contributes to mental health and happiness
During COVID, the world felt the effects of social isolation acutely. Fear of loneliness, isolation, and fear of missing out (FOMO) interlink with low-self esteem and low self-compassion. Community is connected to our health and happiness and is critical to our overall wellbeing and mental health.
Communities provide a sense of purpose, belonging, camaraderie and connectedness. Group members feel higher trust, safety, support, and a stronger sense of value. According to the Society for Neuroscience, people make more compassionate decisions about others when connected to a community.
Community benefits landlords
There are benefits for landlords too. Building strong ties that bind residents together has been proven to reduce crime, improve the neighbourhood, reduce rental turnover, lessen complaints, contribute to overall building maintenance, and diminish a landlord’s workload. In one instance, an apartment community even saved a life.
Just as you get a feel for a workplace from walking into the lobby, you can feel a sense of community from entering an apartment complex. The qualities of the leader radiate through the work/residential environment.
Before you begin building your community, ask yourself – what would you like to see in yourself and others? A spirit of friendliness, helpfulness, support?
What landlords can do
Introduce yourself to your neighbour
As a landlord, you can become a community leader by educating new residents about how to treat their building as a community. You can start the process by being friendly, making introductions, encouraging them to get to know their neighbours, and letting you know about any maintenance issues. Contributing to the overall building maintenance creates a common interest, starts the dialogue, and builds ties.
Organize a welcome wagon for new neighbors. It can be something as simple as providing a listing of services, schools, and businesses in the area. Or providing tips for surviving the winter for newcomers. Even a small gift for new residents and a token of appreciation for the welcome wagon members goes a long way.
Social media networking page
Although people have become accustomed to connecting with digital networks rather than getting to know their next-door neighbour, you can use this trend to set up an online social networking page or a skill-sharing database. Social media can be an ideal way for shy residents with a low-risk way to introduce themselves or contribute.
Monthly or bi-monthly building-oriented events such as tenant meetings to discuss keeping balconies safe or building policy updates can be used as mix and mingle events. These meetings can encourage tenant interaction when served up with refreshments and a door prize draw following the meeting.
Outdoor courtyard area or community garden
Courtyard or garden areas are a time-tested way to promote interaction and share fresh vegetables. Spring clean-up parties where you provide flowers for tenants to plant encourage tenant socializing and collaboration.
Host monthly gatherings
Events like bowling nights, softball, a book club, or a monthly soup social that don’t involve a commitment or forethought encourage easygoing gatherings.
Neighbourhood yard sale
Garage sales and yard sales are a great way to clear out clutter while getting to know your neighbours.
Sponsor a Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Canada Day with face painting for the kids, or Heritage Day event.
Advertise volunteer opportunities
Let people know about volunteer opportunities within the community’s schools, community centers, non-profit groups, or host a charity event. Volunteer opportunities create bonds between participating residents who plant strong roots within the community.
Bring in a person/organization to help the tenants organize a neighborhood watch program.
With all events, to promote participation, provide plenty of notice, use multiple communication methods, and send out reminders.
Every community is different; over time you’ll get to know what your community likes and wants. Building a community can be as simple as implementing a few small actions repeated consistently over time. You’ll find your activities and value create a ripple effect that nurture the spirit of community, decrease your turnover and maintenance, and create a safe, supportive environment.
Do you have community tips you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear about them, you can reach me at [email protected].
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