This is about a 25 unit building in Elizabeth, NJ. The building has been managed by my parents for 30 years, and I have recently moved in to assist with management.
We have a problem with tenant loitering in the back of our building which exits to the parking lot and is a frequently used entrance/exit for most tenants. It has become rather frequent over the summer. They play loud music, use alcohol and other substances, are generally loud and sometimes even have cookouts. They have placed their own chairs outside the entrance ways and it looks terrible. There are cigarette butts everywhere. We never liked this but have not said anything yet.
Other tenants have been complaining and we know we need to do something about this. What has sent me over the edge is that we have an apartment for rent and I was looking forward to filling it from a referral from an existing good tenant. She recently told me that her friend passed by the building one day and saw people out back hanging out, drinking and smoking recreational drugs. Needless to say that person is not interested. Therefore I am highly motivated to resolve this issue ASAP.
I recognize that we should have taken action sooner. That being said, I would like advice on how to proceed from this point forward. We would like there to be no loitering outside at all.
We are considering writing a letter to distribute to all tenants that states that there is to be no loitering outside the building. Is this the best way to proceed? Is it legal for us to prohibit loitering? Where can I find a sample letter?
I will have lots of further questions, but I wanted to post this now to get a discussion going to help me write a letter and/or take some action later but soon. I am at work right now and don't have time to write more.
The letter would have to include a few bullets, for example:
In order to provide a safe and comfortable environment for all tenants, the following rules will be enforced:
• Loitering outside the building is not permitted.
• Personal items cannot be kept in common areas including front and back porch, parking lot, laundry room, halls and stairways. Items found in these locations will be promptly discarded
• There is a recycle bin in the laundry room. Please place only laundry refuse in these containers. Remember – We have cameras.
Thank you for your cooperation
A letter to all tenants would be a good way to go. If there is a paragraph in the standard lease agreement that addresses it, you could include that as well.
Most likely, the loitering tenants just want to be outside for some "fresh air." This could be a good thing because I doubt you want them smoking recreational drugs in your unit and being spread through the building through your ventilation system. Perhaps an easy solution would be to set up a small picnic area out of the public line of sight. This would satisfy the needs of all of your tenants and you will come out looking like a great property manager.
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