Nonviolent Property Management


Property Management can be a very challenging profession, in terms of communication. Most often, when the telephone rings, it is a problem. The tenant is unhappy because something needs to be repaired. The owner is unhappy because he’s not making as much money on the property as he thinks he should. The vendor is unhappy because he didn’t get paid the day he submitted his invoice. Property Managers must balance the needs and wants of all parties in landlord/tenant relationship, whether residential or commercial, while at the same time, setting appropriate boundaries, mediating disputes, and communicating difficult messages.


Because most property managers have little to no training in communication techniques, many of them burn out within the first year or two in business. The negativity is just too much for them to take. It is out of this awareness, “Nonviolent Property Management: Communication Skills for Property Managers” was developed.

It is common knowledge in the property management industry that 20% of our clients often take up 80% of our time. Why? Communication challenges are costly – in both time and money.


I’ve heard it said by property managers many times, “We’re just one lawsuit away from closing our doors.” Property management is the single highest-risk specialty in the real estate industry. Your Errors & Omissions Insurance carrier knows this is true. In a recent conversation with Cary Smith, President of Treaty Oak Insurance Partners, I learned that errors and omissions insurance premiums for property management companies are every bit as pricey as medical malpractice premiums for specialties such as dentistry, optometry, and chiropractic medicine!


It’s easy to see why property management is such a high-risk business. In real estate sales, the agent is basically only answering to the buyer-client or the seller-client. In property management, the manager is balancing the conflicting agendas of multiple parties, including the owner, the tenant, and the vendors. When we fail to communicate clearly with these parties, lawsuits get filed.  


So much of our communication in the property management industry falls into patterns of making someone “right” or “wrong” in areas of conflict. It’s all too easy for us to become defensive or aggressive when we feel “put on the spot” by our owners, tenants, and vendors.


In the course, “Nonviolent Property Management: Communication Skills for Property Managers,” we’ll explore the elements of Nonviolent Communication, as articulated by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. in his book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, and how those elements can be incorporated into every Property Manager’s daily communications.  The participants in this course will walk away with immediately-useful tools to help them communicate more clearly, and reach consensus much more easily in all their communications.


The first offering of this course will be March 20, 2012 in Reno, NV, as part of the first-ever RSAR “Property Management Symposium.” I hope to see many of you there!