A.G. from New Hampshire writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
As a condo board member, I need to schedule Association paid services without residents complaining about the date or time. Recently, the dryer vents for our 18 units were scheduled to be cleaned. I sent out a first notice about a week ago and a second reminder went out just before the cleaning. I quickly received 4 emails saying: they are not available on the date, the time is not convenient, they don’t want to give a key to a neighbor. I try very hard to be accommodating and I understand that sometimes conflicts arise but no matter what day I might select for the service (actually, the company selected the date this time), I know I will receive special requests and complaints. Is there a “magical” way to diplomatically tell our residents there will be no accommodation for individual schedules? For 3 residents, I politely told them today that if they miss the cleaning, they will be billed for the service as well as charged for a separate service call. Is there a better way to get everyone’s cooperation? Thanks very much!
Mister Condo replies:
A.G., the short answer is “no”. There is never going to be a “magic” time that works for all association members. The unwillingness to give a neighbor a key is unfortunate because that would likely solve the problem. You have a policy in place that allows for folks to not allow the cleaning (at their expense) that satisfies the requirement of having the vent cleaning done while providing the owner the ability to schedule the cleaning at their own time. In the future, you might want to try a different negotiating tactic with the vendor, allowing multiple dates and times. This will cost more but might keep residents happier. In other words, allow owners to contact the vendor directly to schedule their cleaning on one of two pre-negotiated dates, say a Tuesday and a Saturday. You won’t get as good a price but you might just happier homeowners and that can be priceless. Good luck!