Dealing with tenant complaints is part of every property management business. It’s right there in the job description along with advertising rental properties, screening tenants, etc.
We’ll cut right to the chase:
The Most Common Tenant Complaints: Addressed
Here are the most common tenant complaints received when managing rental properties and how to deal with them.
If you’re handy and have the time, you can take care of maintenance yourself. But because of time (and skill) limitations, most property managers call contracting maintenance services. These are companies that provide specialized maintenance services and make a property manager’s job ten times easier. In the case of a leak, building defect, a bad paint job, a broken cabinet, etc., you can call the service company and they’ll send someone into the apartment. If the issue is grave, you can accompany the service provider to the rental property to ensure all goes well.
This falls under “interpersonal tenant complaints,” ones which you can’t necessarily solve by calling a contractor. They can also be tricky to solve because they involve more than one party. Say your tenants are complaining about the constant noise from their upstairs or next-door neighbors. While this isn’t an issue directly related to your work, tenants will still expect you to help them resolve it. The first thing you can do is ask the tenant to directly speak to their neighbors. If this doesn’t work, you may want to kindly speak with the noisy neighbors yourself, and explain that there have been complaints against them.
Related: How to Deal with Bad Tenants
This is where being timely is crucial. You shouldn’t exactly wait on a termite or rodent invasion. In the case of pests, call a terminator, and ask the tenants to temporarily evacuate the rental property if needed. If you have a vacant property, you can offer it up for your tenants. Make sure to follow up with the exterminator and the property to make sure the pests are 100% terminated.
Cleanliness is subjective, which is why you shouldn’t leave much room for interpretation. When you hand the rental property over to a new tenant, make sure it’s sparkling clean and problem-free. If a tenant complains that a property isn’t clean enough, consider hiring cleaning services (again) right before they move in.
Lack of good communication
Tenants do not like to deal with property managers who are rarely available or ones who take days to respond to their calls and emails. Bad communication could frustrate a tenant, and can also exasperate an existing issue. Lack of good communication could also refer to miscommunication, which can create further challenges for both tenants and property managers. To solve, or avoid issues arising from bad communication, make sure both you and the tenants are on the same page. Good communication is vital to establishing good relationships with tenants – which could additionally help other problems subside.
General Tips on How to Deal with Tenant Complaints
Here are a few tips to better handle tenants generally and to avoid legal issues.
It’s important that tenants know that you’re available to address any complaints they may have. Some may shy away because you’re a property manager, as opposed to a landlord they know. So make sure when you meet a tenant to establish rules and expectations that you let them know that they can easily reach you when needed. There will be tenants who may try to abuse the fact that you’re easily accessible, so make sure to set specific hours they can reach you, especially if their complaint isn’t urgent.
Be professional (it goes without saying)
It’s (almost) never personal between a tenant and a property manager. When tenants complain, it’s usually about a legitimate concern. So when you respond to a tenant complaint, show genuine concern, and assure them that you’ll resolve the issue at hand.
Sometimes, personal issues could arise between a tenant and a landlord or property manager. If this happens, address the tenant directly, and reassure them that your only concern is their satisfaction with the living arrangement. Be level headed when communicating with tenants and dealing with tenant complaints. And always resolve tenant complaints peacefully and with professionalism.
Consider using a tenant complaints form
Speaking of professionalism, using a complaint form can help set a procedure to get organized. It can be really useful to have tenants fill out a complaint form to address their grievances. Having the information at hand can help you keep track of tasks you need to do, especially if you’re managing several tenants at a time. Using a complaint form can also improve communication between you and your tenants. Finally, some people prefer to write out their concerns as opposed to face to face confrontation, so using a form, in this case, can be quite helpful.
Once you learn a tenant’s concern, directly deal with them, or as promptly as you can. One helpful tip is to prioritize tenant complaints from most important to least important. This way, you can cross out one at a time as you deal with them. This is especially important in case you need to deal with emergencies. Another tip is to keep a list of contractors for maintenance services on hand so you can call any of them to aid you when needed.
Final Words on Tenant Complaints…
Any good property manager will tell you it’s impossible to avoid renters’ complaints. If you own a property management company, you’re bound to at least have to deal with one of the above tenant issues. What you can do, is work on reducing the likelihood of the above events happening, and/or better handling tenant complaints. The key is to overall maintain good tenant relations and to be present and prepared for the job.
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