Dear Maintenance Men

Last Updated: April 30, 2024By

Dear Maintenance Men:
I hear the term “Aging in Place” and wondered as an apartment owner, what I could do to market to this growing segment of our population? What should I do to make my property more “Aging in Place” friendly?

Dear Sanford:
Baby Boomers are 25 percent of the population and the first of the Boomers turned 65 in 2011 and the last will turn 65 in 2029. We heard on the radio the other day that 85 is now the new 75 and so on down the line. That is a large healthy aging group! They are not going to go quietly into a nursing home which means as apartment owners & managers; we need to prepare for this group. Aging in place means bigger showers with wider doors, taller toilets, grab bars and bath sinks that will accommodate wheelchairs. This does not mean turning our units into institutions; there are many stylish accommodations to fit a variety of needs. For example, a grab bar capable of supporting 250 pounds does not need to look like it came out of a hospital. Grab bars come in different colors and designs. Many will double as towel bars and be virtually invisible to their primary purpose unless needed. A larger shower stall will also look opulent and practical at the same time. Replace the standard faucets in the kitchen and bathroom with touch activated faucets. A touch faucet can be turned on or off with the touch of a finger, palm, back of the hand or forearm. Consider installing anti-skid flooring in the bathroom and tub/shower area. A few other items might be contrasting color edging for the counter tops along with rounded edge and corners. Replace all doorknobs with lever handles for ease of use. This is a small sample of the things you can do to stay competitive in a growing market while not making changes that younger generations would objectionable.

Dear Maintenance Men:

I have a large apartment complex that has become the nesting place for several groups of pigeons.  I have used owls, the high pitch sound, and sticky feet; of course the entire place is covered with metal spike strips.  The pigeons walk through them and build their nest on top of the bent down spikes.  I cannot buy poison corn anymore.  What can I do to get rid of the pigeons??


Dear Jill:

Looks like you have tried most of the common antidotes for getting rid of unwanted pigeons.   The key is to make them as uncomfortable as possible and not stop until they are gone.  The first thing to do is clean the area with bleach to remove any pigeon nesting smells and spray any stubborn pigeons with a water hose over and over.  If the area lends itself to be closed off, put up netting to keep the birds from entering the area.   If the spikes are broken, replace them with stronger ones. Check at your local farm supply or the internet for stronger better quality spike strips.   Getting rid of pigeons is a war of wills.   If you give up, they will return.  The area must be monitored constantly until the birds have found a new nesting area.

Dear Maintenance Men:

When the bathroom faucet was new, turning off the hot or cold-water knobs would cut the flow of water immediately. Two years later, upon turning them off, the faucet weeps a bit of water. Is this a sign the knob isn’t working? Can a clogged spout screen be fixed? With all these problems, do I need to buy an entirely new fixture?


Dear Paul:

Most types of faucets are repairable with standard tools and a rebuild kit. Note the brand and style of the faucet and find a corresponding repair kit at the local plumbing supply house or home improvement center. Repair kits often come with the specialized tool you may need to repair the faucet. The faucet screen can be cleaned and is housed in a removable assembly at the end of the spout. These can be spun off and the screens cleaned and replaced. Keep in mind the cost of repairs may rival the cost of replacement. If the cost of repair is more than fifty percent of the cost of replacement, we recommend the faucet be replaced with a new modern fixture.

WE NEED Maintenance Questions!!!    If you would like to see your maintenance question in the “Dear Maintenance Men:” column, please send in your questions to:

If you need maintenance work or consultation for your building or project, please feel free to contact us. We are available throughout Southern California. For an appointment, please call Buffalo Maintenance, Inc. at 714 956-8371 

Written by Frank Alvarez and Jerry L’Ecuyer, Buffalo Maintenance

Frank Alvarez is licensed contractor and the Operations Director and co-owner of Buffalo Maintenance, Inc. He has been involved with apartment maintenance & construction for over 30 years. Frankie is President of the Apartment Association of Orange County and a lecturer, educational instructor and Chair of the Education Committee of the AAOC.  He is also Chairman of the Product Service Counsel.  Frank can be reached at (714) 956-8371 For more info please go to:

Jerry L’Ecuyer is a real estate broker. He is currently a Director Emeritus and Past President of the Apartment Association of Orange County and past Chairman of the association’s Education Committee.  Jerry has been involved with apartments as a professional since 1988.



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