How Property Managers Should Handle Resident Break-Ups

Breaking up is hard for all parties involved, especially when it involves a cohabitating couple. So, how can property managers make moving out easier on residents who are calling it quits? While you can’t mend broken hearts, you can make moving out less difficult with tact, compassion, and a bit of logistical help.

For starters, be certain that they’re actually breaking up

Unless your residents explicitly tell you that they’ve called it quits, don’t assume that the relationship has ended if one party is moving out. It could simply be the case that they took a job offer in another state, or that they’re temporarily moving back home to take care of a sick relative. To avoid awkwardness, let your residents tell you why they’re moving and react accordingly. If they don’t bring it up, and you don’t need to know the reason for the break-up to do your job, it’s best not to pry.

Go the extra mile

If only one resident is moving out, direct the resident that is staying put to stores where they can replace household items and furniture that their (ex) significant other may have taken with them. For example, if their partner took the TV when they moved out, direct them to electronics stores that have frequent sales (even better if you have partnerships with local retailers). If their partner took the dog, suggest animal shelters that have weekly adoption drives or “adopt-for-a-day” opportunities.

Mind your business

If your residents try to involve you in their drama, politely make it clear that your job is to help with the logistics of the move, not to take sides. Structure this conversation in a way that doesn’t imply that you don’t care, but rather that you don’t feel qualified to offer an opinion. Think: “I don’t know enough about your situation to fairly offer an opinion, but I can definitely help make this process smoother.

… But show that you’re sympathetic

If your residents seem distraught by the move, it’s okay to individually offer them condolences and remind them that you’re there to offer logistical support. Think: “It’s unfortunate that things didn’t work out, but I’m here to make this process easier for you.” As with all things, however, moderation is key. Too much sympathy can seem patronizing, and some residents may want you to be a completely objective party. Less is usually more, but gauge each resident individually.

Make move-out simple

Nobody likes moving under normal circumstances, but the emotional distress of breaking up makes moving that much more draining. Luckily, you can offer Updater to your residents to check off dreaded moving-related tasks like forwarding mail, signing up for new renters insurance, connecting utilities and home services, and much more. Your residents will thank you for making their lives simpler in a complicated situation.

At the end of the day, break-ups happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make things easier for your residents. With a bit of kindness and thoughtfulness, you can be there for your residents simply by making moving out less stressful.