Dealing with complaints from your tenants is something everyone who manages a property will have to do at some point – landlords included. So, it’s best to prepare yourself for the inevitable.
To solidify your tenant retention strategy, you need to have a sound and efficient plan to resolve tenant complaints. Keep in mind that the more you dismiss tenant complaints, the more likely it is that they’ll leave and find a rental where their concerns are given attention.
Fortunately, many common complaints can be simple to address! A lot of tenant complaints fall under the following categories:
- Pest infestation
- Property maintenance
- Noisy neighbors or co-tenants
- Pet issues
This article will delve deeper into each of these complaint categories and offer resolutions. Prior to discussing each, however, it’s best to review the following tips to prevent tenant complaints!
Best Tips to Prevent Tenant Complaints
Tenants often become very frustrated when they can’t get ahold of their landlord. To keep your tenants happy, make sure you’re available during regular office hours and can be reached via phone or message platform.
Strive to respond to a message or return a call within a reasonable time – you might be busy but you should make time to reply to messages and offer a scheduled time to address the renter’s complaint.
Improve your listening skills. Try to understand where your tenant is coming from no matter how small the issue seems. If tenants have brought something to your attention, it matters to them. Avoid dismissive responses and take time to hear their issues.
Regardless of what complaints have been made by your tenants, it’s best to keep a copy of their concerns in writing. All associated receipts should also be stored. This offers you protection in case a lawsuit is filed by a tenant. It’s hard to defend yourself when evidence is missing.
How to Solve Tenant Complaints
Even when you take all the steps to prevent tenant complaints, some things are out of your control. Below are several tips that will help you handle common tenant concerns!
Dealing with Pest Infestations
Nothing can distress tenants more than catching sight of bed bugs, cockroaches, termite nests or other pests. If you’re aware of this issue then deal with it right away. Looking for new renters is more time-consuming and financially costly than investing in pest extermination services!
When a tenant reaches out and complains about pest issues, it’s your duty to reassure them. Schedule an extermination to eradicate pest problems. It’s beneficial to seek dependable exterminators that offer reasonable fees and use their services regularly.
If you own a multi-family property, it’s best to schedule exterminations in the other rental units as a preventive measure. Send notices to your tenants detailing the extermination schedule in case they plan to be in their unit on that date.
Handling Property Maintenance Issues
One of the most common tenant complaints you’ll encounter as a landlord is property maintenance issues. When a rental space is occupied, it is subject to normal wear and damage.
When a tenant complains about property damage, it’s best to face it head-on. Investigate the matter right away. Find the core issue and root cause of the problem. You can also bring along professional contractors to resolve and manage any repairs.
Be sure to update the tenants on any actions you've taken. Otherwise, they may be filled with anxiety while waiting for their complaints to be resolved. When repairs are ongoing, send status reports. Once the maintenance is completed, you can reach out to the tenant and ask for feedback to ensure the issue is closed.
Managing Noisy Neighbors or Noise Disturbances from other Tenants
If the noise problem is localized, that is, the source of noise is coming from your other renters then you can address the issue easily. Remind your tenants of the leasing agreement terms related to keeping noise at a minimum.
If the noise continues then you can send a notice for eviction after the proper verbal and written warnings have been issued.
If the noise problem originates from a neighbor, you can advise your tenant to settle the situation directly with the neighbor in a peaceful manner. If the noise persists, you can then involve law enforcement to rectify the situation.
Different people have different noise sensitivity. It’s a good practice to set up soundproof walls and seal the doors and windows in your rental to lessen noise interference from outside. This especially applies when your rental is located in the heart of a city where street noise is expected.
Addressing Pet Issues
If your property accommodates tenants with pets then you’re bound to come across pet complaints. These complaints can include aggressive pet behavior, pet noise and hygiene concerns. Even if you earn extra income by offering a pet-friendly rental, it’s still best to offer quiet enjoyment to your existing renters.
Send notices and warnings to pet owners should they neglect to clean up after their pets. Remind them of any leasing conditions specific to pet owners. If the problem continues, eviction can be a last resort.
Avoid delaying actions related to complaints of aggressive pets. Dealing with injured tenants can be stressful, especially when insurance coverage is limited! It’s important to protect your tenants from suffering from painful pet attacks.
If the pet’s aggressive nature is not remedied right away, it’s best to ask the pet owner to remove the pet from the premises or contact city officials to control the aggressive animal.
Tenant complaints are not something landlords should fear. In fact, taking care of tenant concerns can even become a gateway for a better landlord-tenant relationship! Just remember to always listen to your tenants, be readily available and document tenant complaints.
To keep your tenants for the long-term, practice implementing contingency plans for common complaints. If you don’t have adequate time to deal with tenant issues, you can also decide to hire a property management company.
The team at SGI Property Management is committed to taking care of both your tenants and your rental property!