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How to Motivate Tenants to Comply with House Rules - Our Guide

House rules, policies, and procedures are valuable to those who are living in multi-family condos or co-op buildings in New York City. These are the keys to boosting the quality of life, promoting cooperation, and living harmoniously among tenants.

If you’re part of the board that owns a building, you may be required to create new or amend existing house rules, policies, and procedures that are sensible to serve the best interest of your residents.

To help you manage your property more effectively, here are five tips to make clear house rules:

1. Assess your goals

To keep your house rules reasonable, you’ll have to first determine what you’re trying to accomplish with your policies. Make sure that they resolve problems and are beneficial to everyone in the building.

For instance, penalties should be aligned with the policy that has been violated. Avoid over-penalizing minor offenses and provide a grace period if possible.

2. Be familiar with existing laws and regulations

Before making house rules or policies, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the state and city laws and ordinances to make sure that they don’t conflict with the existing regulations or contradict the terms and conditions of the governing documents. Knowing such information will help you avoid making unnecessary rules and confusing owners and residents.

To do this, you must check with your condo’s or co-op’s corporate counsel. Make sure to have your building’s attorney review your house rules as well first before implementing them.

3. Keep your rules easy to follow

Whether you need to enforce policies on letting visitors in, moving into and out of the building, keeping pets, or smoking, it’s essential to always keep your policies relevant, reasonable, and easy to understand. This way, your residents will be encouraged to comply with them.

Remember to never enforce regulations that are difficult or impossible to follow. This way, no one in the building will have an excuse to go against you in an attempt to show their disapproval.

4. Communicate clearly

Effective property management requires clear communication with residents at all times. You can’t expect tenants and owners to comply with the regulations if they don’t know them, which is why it’s vital that all your residents are aware of these policies before enforcement.

It is highly suggested that you use all proper means of communication to let people in the building know about the regulations, such as making announcements via emails, signage, newsletters, and social media. Be sure to also have a record of policies and offenses for easier tracking for residents.

5. Implement house rules consistently

Regulations must be implemented consistently so that your residents will be encouraged to follow them, and your board will receive the respect that it deserves.

Your house rules should be equally and fairly applied to everyone for these to be enforced properly. No one should be given special treatment.

In addition, your building should have a proper process of implementing the house rules. For example, first-time violators must receive a verbal warning. Second-time offenders should have written notice of their violation along with a detailed description of the penalties that they will receive for repeated offenses.


If you’re having a hard time creating and enforcing rules for your building, seek professional help from a property management company that can address your needs.

We’re a reputable property management company in New York that will help you handle your building and tenants more effectively. Get in touch with us to see how we can help.

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