How Not to Communicate to Your Building Residents

I was surprised (to say the least) to see this communication today from the manager at my apartment building. I thought I’d share as a lesson in how NOT to communicate.


Good Afternoon!

Unfortunately, my previous correspondence has gone largely ignored, which I find unacceptable.  I do not expect to repeat myself again.

I have a few things that require the attention and immediate action of all community members at Stencil Apartments.

As a brand new community with a beautiful aesthetic, it disappoints me greatly that I have to address these issues AGAIN, as everyone who has signed a lease within this community is a legal adult.  Unfortunately, there are some who have not presented themselves as such.  If you are part of the problem regarding what you are about to read, I need you to come see me immediately.

First, while I am one of the most pet friendly managers you will encounter, I am also a stickler for holding pet owners responsible for their pets’ actions.

I have given everyone the opportunity to prove they are responsible pet owners and allowed dogs to be on the rooftop deck of the community up until now, however there are several who have now repeatedly grossly abused this tested privilege.  As of 7/12/2016 no pets have been allowed on the rooftop and all dogs must be on leashes at all times when not inside their respective apartments.  I would like to say that it is sad for one person to ruin things for everyone, however it is quite clear there is more than one person committing this breach.

Second, aggressive dogs who lunge at and terrify other residents and their pets are to be removed from the premises immediately.  While we do not have specific breed restrictions, all pets must be docile and properly socialized.  If there are any further reports to this nature, management will exercise the legal right to have that pet removed for safety reasons.

Third, there has been an unbelievable disregard for the community’s barbecue grill and its care.  When you are done using the grill, you must clean it! We have already provided 3 sets of utensils for this purpose, all of which have disappeared. We will no longer provide them for this reason. If you are in possession of any of the bbq kits provided, please return them to the rooftop immediately. Not only is the act of disregarding this community responsibility unsanitary, it’s disrespectful to the management, maintenance and our contracted cleaning staff.  These amazing people work very hard to maintain a nice community for everyone.  To treat them so disrespectfully is not only despicable but also a material and substantial violation of the lease contract:

  1. Use and Care of Premises: a) Resident shall keep all areas of the premises clean, sanitary and free from the accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish and garbage, and to dispose of the same in a proper manner.

Fourth, a more serious breach of lease is being committed that I cannot put enough weight behind due to the catastrophic consequences of the action.  THIS IS A NON-SMOKING COMMUNITY.  Period. It’s even the only rule on the Rules and Regulations page that is printed in bold, as not to be missed:

  1. Smoking is not permitted in any of the apartments, corridors, storage areas or other common areas or within 25 feet of any building. Tenants and their guests shall not litter cigarette butts anywhere on the premises and shall dispose of cigarette butts in a proper receptacle.

I have a little story for you, which I am now repeating for the 3RD TIME:  Once upon a time (17 months ago) in Queen Anne, someone decided to breach a material and substantial clause in their lease agreement by having a cigarette on their rooftop deck of their non-smoking building.  After thinking they put the cigarette out completely, they flicked the butt aside and went back to their apartment.  Approximately 7-10 minutes later, the entire 125-unit community was being evacuated as smoke billowed from the rooftop of the community and filled the stairwells and hallways of the 2 floors below. 9 community members were displaced, and many of their belongings were destroyed by smoke and water damage.  2 beloved pets suffered smoke inhalation, but luckily survived due to the swift actions of the Seattle Fire Department.  They were lucky.

It took 7 months to finalize repairs, and living through the taped-off, plastic covered construction zone was very upsetting and disheartening for the neighbors who were most affected.  It was terrifying, horrible, depressing and exhausting.

Within those 7 months, before repairs were even finished and life got back to normal, a resident who thought the lives and safety of their fellow community members was less important than their habit, decided to have a cigarette on the rooftop deck even after everything the community had already suffered.  While on a tour to lease an available apartment, the property manager and the future resident came upon this individual and caught them red-handed.  That property manager (I think you can all guess it was me), immediately moved for eviction on the clearly established basis of reckless endangerment of the entire community, and that person no longer lives there.  On top of the eviction, they were held financially responsible for the remainder of their lease term and now have an eviction on their record making in nearly impossible to rent anywhere else.   I will do the same at any non-smoking building I am charged with overseeing; be very clear on that.

If that sounds like fun to anyone, by all means please keep smoking on my rooftop.

I’m not asking for the world, here, dear community members.  I’m asking for civility, respect, the practice of common sense and common courtesy, and that everyone abide by the terms of their lease contracts.

To those of you who are following the terms of your lease contracts, being neighborly and following the golden rule like I’m certain we were all raised to do, I thank you FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

For those of you who find you cannot commit to what was agreed upon when you signed your lease, please see me and we’ll revisit your contract and discuss your options. Those found in violation will require us to move forward with any and all appropriate action we are afforded, swiftly.

Thank you,

DJ Bell-Fair, Show Director | Property manager

Stencil Apartments

2407 East Union St. Seattle, WA 98122

d 206.328.7074 • e


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