Increase Your Credibility By Always Documenting

guest blog by Nila Ridings

A townhouse complex in San Jose, California had a fire and two pets were killed.  As sad as that is, it could have been far worse.  Why? Two fire hydrants were non-functioning.

Residents claim they have reported these broken fire hydrants to the departments responsible for maintaining them.  Yet, the spokesperson is saying this was the first they heard of it.

Folks…we now live in a society where every contact you make MUST BE DOCUMENTED.  

When you make a call, write down the name of the person you are speaking with, the number you dialed, and their job title.  Make note of the date and time.  Ask for their employee ID, phone extension, location or call center where they are located.  If you are transferred to another person, repeat the process.  Make detailed notes of the message you are conveying.  And make detailed notes of what action they agreed to take and when.  Any future communication or documents to or from anyone on this topic must be added to the original.

Should something like non-working fire hydrants happen you can pull your spiral notebook out and say, “I reported that on date, time to Mr. Hydrant the Head Engineer at 555-5555 x 515.”  Nobody should argue with you when your documentation is detailed.

Better yet, make your communication in writing via email or a typed or handwritten letter. Keep a copy of it.  And keep a copy of any written responses.

These efforts will pay off when you win battles with people who claim no knowledge of ever hearing about a problem.  Had the folks making their claim for reporting these fire hydrants documented those calls somebody would now be sitting in a hot seat.

We know from previous condo fires the outcome is never positive for the owners.  Perhaps this one will be an exception but I doubt it.

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About Ward Lucas

Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, “Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association,” is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation’s legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

3 thoughts on “Increase Your Credibility By Always Documenting

  1. Angela

    I ALWAYS email our property manager about everything so that I have a record of my email and his reply. I only phone if it is an emergency.

    Reply
  2. Nila Ridings

    If the phone call is made because it’s an emergency…record it. Verify that it’s legal to record the calls in your state.

    Reply
  3. Angela

    Not a bad idea. Personally, I hate phoning because the property management company is nearly always rude and constantly asks me if I’m one of their renters.

    Reply

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