Tenant complaints are an unavoidable situation.
Even tenants who live in the best managed properties in the country will have an issue or two.
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to promptly and efficiently solve these issues. The way you handle tenant complaints will determine your rate of tenant retention in the long run. When tenants feel that their complaints aren't handled in a timely manner, they tend to move to other rental spaces in the neighborhood.
In this article, the team from TE Johnson & Sons will go over some of the most common tenant complains, and offer solutions on how to solve them.
1. Property Maintenance and Repair Complaints
From our experience in the property industry, this tends to be the most common complaint.
We have come to note that tenants are quite picky on the condition of the property and will not hesitate to make a complaint if there is a maintenance issue.
The first step for any landlord is to do an inspection of the matter at hand. You probably won't be able to pin down the root cause of the property complaint from a phone call. So, pay your tenant a visit in-person. A physical examination is necessary.
Once the issue is identified, communicate with the tenant. Give them a possible timeline that they can expect the issue to be resolved.
For owners of a multi-rental property, it might be prudent for you to get in touch with your other tenants and inquire if they are facing the same issue. This is where having a common communication channel comes in handy.
As a side note, do you know what qualifies as property damage versus normal wear and tear? This might help you forego additional repair costs.
2. Noisy Neighbor Complaints
This complaint needs no introduction. The tenant above might be notorious for hosting rowdy groups on Friday nights or for playing their electric guitar too passionately at 3 a.m.
How do you resolve this?
To build better relations between your neighbors, ask your tenant to handle the matter themselves. They should be able to communicate their needs or requests to the neighbor at fault and have the matter resolved easily.
However, should that not be the case, you should be ready to step in and solve the issue. If the noisy neighbor resides on your property, refer to the terms of the lease agreement. There should be a clause on every tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of the rented premises.
If the noisy neighbor is not your tenant, the city's by-laws are the best solution.
3. Pest and Rodent Infestation Complaints
Bed bugs. Rodents. Cockroaches. Termites. These critters can be a menace to any tenant.
If you have complaints about a pest and rodent infestation, a fast and comprehensive response is required from you. If you don't have an experienced exterminator on speed dial, do your research and find one!
To avoid such problems, we recommend that you perform regular inspections of your property. Inspections allow you to detect signs of infestation early and will avoid a major problem.
4. Pet Complaints
With more and more tenants owning pets, landlords are expanding their pool of possible renters by including pet policies in their lease agreements. However, excessive barking in the middle of the night, feces, and sometimes aggressive behavior can cause problems with other tenants on the property.
To avoid renting to tenants with disruptive pets, you need to screen the pet. This is similar to how you would screen the tenant.
If the issue is that the pet is barking a lot, it can be solved in a similar manner to a noise complaint.
However, if the pet issue is unable to be solved, you may want to consider evicting the tenant. It's better to lose one tenant than a whole block of them.
No matter the tenant complaint, here are some things you should consider when dealing with complaints:
- Accessibility. How easily can a tenant reach you with their complaint? We recommend that your tenants know exactly when they can get in touch with you. For instance, this can be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Multiple communication channels. A tenant should be able to reach you via phone call and email. You can also set up a tenant group chat or possibly a tenant portal, where tenants can log in and file their complaints.
- Empathy. While an issue might look minor to you, the tenant might feel different about it. Listen to them before coming to a decision about their complaint or request.
- Maintain accurate records. Whether it's related to the condition of the property or a pest infestation problem, it has the potential of escalating to a legal matter. Accurate records and receipts of payments may save you extra costs.
- Well-detailed lease agreement. The lease agreement must contain clauses and terms that guide the tenant on how to report a complaint.
We hope this article about how to solve tenant complaints was helpful!
If you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, you're not alone. Most landlords are unable to handle tenant problems because they lack the time, experience and expertise.
But we can help! Call upon the leading property management company in Winston-Salem, TE Johnson & Sons. Serving Lexington, Greensboro, Lewisville, and more, TE Johnson & Sons can help you maximize your ROI.
Get in touch with us today.