Using Neuro Linguistic Programming in Property Conflict Management

Ronald Reagon once said: “Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the ability to handle conflict by a peaceful means.” Conflict between people living together is as old as man itself. Not even Adam & Eve could live peacefully with the snake, so how do we expect to live in a shared property environment without any hint of conflict? The question should rather be how to manage conflict between all the parties in a shared property space.

The Origins of Conflict in a Shared Property Environment

A shared property environment could be anything from tenants living together in a block of flats, townhouse owners in a Sectional Title Complex, or families in a Home Owners Association. If you are renting, the fights are normally between the owner and the tenants, with the property management agent somewhere in between the situation. With Sectional Title and Home Owners Associations, the biggest gripes start with owners having the perception that management is taking them for a ride, not listening to their gripes with no love going around by any means. Or at least that is the perception.

Enter Neuro Linguistic Programming

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a pseudoscientific approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy that aims to understand and change human behavior by analyzing the connection between neurological processes, language, and acquired behavioral patterns.

NLP is based on the idea that people experience the world subjectively, creating internal representations of their experiences through the five senses and language. In the most simplest terms, NLP is all about how we communicate to ourselves and to others. By making changes in how we communicate through sighthearingtouchsmell, and taste can make a massive difference in the perceptions of those around us, and it most definitely includes our fellow inhabitants of the property we live in or with the people who are managing the property.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) offers several techniques that can be useful for conflict management in private property management:

Matching & Mirroring

Building rapport through matching and mirroring the other person’s communication style is an NLP technique that can defuse tensions. Matching tone, body language, and speech patterns helps the other person feel understood and open to resolution. A property manager could match a frustrated tenant’s intensity to show empathy before shifting to a calmer state to guide the conversation.

In essence, people like people who are like themselves. If the tenants or owners of a property have the perception that you as the manager or owner of the property are high-and-mighty and not one of them, you are in line for a serious conflict.


Chunking is a key NLP technique for conflict resolution. It involves “chunking up” to find higher-level agreements and common ground, or “chunking down” to address specific issues. For example, in a dispute between a landlord and tenant, chunking up could reveal that they both want a well-maintained property and a positive relationship. Chunking down could identify the specific problem to resolve, like a repair issue.


Reframing involves changing the meaning or context of a situation to alter its emotional impact. In a conflict, reframing can help shift perspectives. For instance, a landlord could reframe a tenant’s late rent payment as a communication breakdown rather than an intentional slight. This opens the door to a more constructive discussion.

Outcome Framing

NLP emphasizes defining clear, positive outcomes. In a conflict, this means focusing on the desired resolution rather than the problem. A property manager could ask the tenant, “What would you like to see happen to resolve this?” to shift the discussion in a constructive direction.

The Realities of Conflict Management in Property Management

I have been in the Property Management world pretty much all my life and the reality is that tensions flare up faster than Blitz at a Manne-Braai. The most chilled guy in the office can turn into a monster in his complex. People can get seriously worked up if you dare to destroy the sanctuary of their personal space. And yes, taking a moment to breathe and assess the situation before you respond does not come naturally. You have to work on your conflict management skills harder than a Comrades Marathon training for this epic race.

A skill like Matching & Mirroring will not only work magic in property conflict management but will have massive benefits at your work, in your relationship, or wherever you have to communicate. It is well worth it to invest time and energy into improving your NLP skills.

By applying NLP techniques like chunking, reframing, rapport building, and outcome framing, property managers can navigate conflicts more effectively. The key is understanding the other person’s perspective, building trust, and guiding the interaction toward a mutually agreeable solution.

In the end is not about ‘may the best man win’, but finding mutually beneficial solutions for the peaceful management of your property.

And that is what we aim for at Camalb Properties. Give us a call today.

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