As a landlord, you want to ensure that you have happy tenants that become long term renters. And, while this is the goal, not all tenants will be happy all of the time. Indeed, many of your best renters will be happy in your properties, paying rent and contacting you only when the house or apartment visibly needs essential maintenance or a minor repair. However, some renters, though, will complain on a semi-regular basis. Some of these tenant complaints will be viable while others are just complaints for the sake of complaining. So, lets dive into what the most typical tenant complaints are that you will encounter as a property owner and the best way to handle them.
General Tenant Complaint Resolution Strategies
Let’s go through some of the fundamental methods you’ll need to employ when dealing with tenant complaints.
Document, Document, Document
It’s always best to document everything when it comes to tenant communication. If you have a tenant that takes you to court or you have to evict them you will be prepared with the necessary proof to demonstrate that you did everything possible to resolve your renters issues.
Have a Discussion
You can often resolve a tenant issue with a simple conversation. You may ask questions and listen carefully to understand the topic thoroughly, and you can give a counterpoint or opposing perspective when necessary. You may also be able to come to an agreement if you can find an acceptable solution for both parties. In any case, most of your tenants will appreciate the you taking the time to talk with them in person.
Send a Written Notification
Even if you’ve discussed the issue, send the renter a written notification about your proposed resolution. You’ll have a documented interaction to which you may refer in the future if you need it.
Deal with Issues Quickly
Tenant concerns generally go away if you can resolve the root problem. Addressing anything you can handle as soon as feasible is a good approach. For example, you may make your renter happy and potentially eliminate the complaint if you can do a repair quickly or spend a few minutes talking to a neighbor about his loud habits. Maintain a pleasant yet forceful demeanor. If the situation worsens, you should stay courteous but firm. Your renter might be requesting something unreasonable or continuing to complain about an issue you’ve already fixed. Don’t give in to every whim, but also, don’t be nasty or condescending in your replies.
Common Complaints from Tenants
As a landlord, you will likely have some of the following types of tenant complaints:
The Rent is Too High
Rents are increasing across the country. Even in areas where prices remain affordable, rent is one of the highest costs for most Americans. So it’s no surprise that some of your renters may complain that their rent is too high – especially if you have just raised it. If you’re earning a good profit and your renter has been paying on time consistently, you may consider renegotiating their rent or giving them a break. Otherwise, use comparable homes with comparable rentals to demonstrate that you’re giving them a good bargain.
There’s an Infestation Going On
If your renter notices signs of unwelcome critters in the residence, such as mice in the kitchen or ants in the pantry, they may contact you about an infestation. This could be a significant health risk for your tenant. Therefore it’s essential to investigate and resolve such concerns as quickly as possible. Visit the property to examine the evidence for yourself, and if the situation looks to justify it, engage an exterminator or fix it yourself.
The House Needs Repairs
Tenants who live in a home for an extended period may ultimately experience a maintenance or repair issue that you must address. You should see this less as a tenant complaint and more as a notification. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may need to respond immediately – or you may want to arrange repair in the future. In any case, it is usually worthwhile to investigate and address your tenants concerns and resolve issues in a reasonable timeframe.
There’s Too Much Noise
Noisy neighbors or noise, in general, can make it difficult to focus and almost impossible to sleep. Unfortunately, you will most likely not have direct control over every source of noise that causes complaints. If a renter is annoyed by a neighbor who is excessively loud or noisy at inappropriate times, you should try to resolve the issue with the noisemaker. In addition, you may need to change the tenant’s expectations if they complain about traffic noise or other environmental factors that are out of your control.
Tenants have a right to privacy, and they may be concerned that someone or something is invading their privacy. These objections may be justified at times, but not always. For example, if you need access to the property to make repairs, give the tenant(s) sufficient notice. Then, if they object to your admission and the repair is urgent, or you have other vital business at the property, you may still be allowed to enter. However, before addressing this sort of tenant complaint, speak with a lawyer.
The Lease Agreement Has Been Violated
If you violated the lease agreement, your renter most likely complain or demand a settlement. Details will make or break this situation. Make sure you thoroughly review the agreement and compare your activities to see whether you may have violated it in any way. As the landlord, you don’t want your tenants to violate the lease, and it is just as important that you do not violate it either.
Nothing irritates a tenant more than a lack of communication. Nobody wants to deal with property manager or a landlord who is constantly unavailable, never returns phone calls, and never responds to emails. Perhaps you did not respond to an initial email because you believed the issue was incorrect or that it was not your obligation to handle it. However, your lack of response in communicating with the tenant shows an unwillingness to listen to his concerns. Good tenants are difficult to come by. However, you will lose them to another landlord that values and respects them if you do not answer their complaints in a timely and efficient manner.
The Security Deposit Was Kept
There are several valid reasons to withhold a tenant’s security deposit, such as needing to pay for property damage. However, the majority of renters will struggle to recover their security deposit. If you’re sure about withholding the deposit, stick to your guns and express your reasoning clearly and assertively. Additionally, be sure to show the tenant, based on the rental agreement, why the security deposit was not returned.
Stress Free Property Management
Hiring a property management company is one of the best ways to ensure your tenant issues are being handled proactively. You’ll never have to engage with renters personally if you have the correct management staff on your side. At Real Property Management Consultants, we make property ownership stress free. From filling vacancies, collecting rent, and handling tenant complaints on your behalf, we’re here to help. For more information on our services, contact us today!
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