Keeping a rental property in proper running shape can be one of your biggest challenges as a landlord. Ultimately, renting property doesn’t just carry the chance that problems will pop up: they will without a doubt pop up, and it’s always going to be your responsibility to correct these issues. Many property owners can make mistakes and handle these issues poorly, costing them time, tenants and of course, money. If you want to get ahead of the curve, here’s a guide on how to avoid and resolve common tenant complaints.
Naturally, not all complaints can be solved in a simple manner, but with this you can cover your own responsibilities and get on better terms with your tenants. People all have unique situations and problems, and will complain about the strangest things. However, there’s a common pattern of typical issues that tenants will have. People typically complain about maintenance issues, but things like pest control, noisy neighbours and the cleanliness of the property are also common.
Communication is an area you have to force yourself to come through on, even if it’s not the strong suit of your personality. Any sort of phone call or email should always be responded to. Even if it seems strange or obtuse, simply communicating at all is what counts.
Tenants want to know you’ve heard them and that you care. Failing to do this much will be huge in losing you good tenants. Sometimes it can be hard to understand initially what a tenant wants, and correcting the issue may be beyond your power, but they want to feel listened to more than anything else.
When a tenant complains to you, always stay calm and respectfully listen to their complaint. They may be irate or exaggerating, but remaining calm and listening will only better the situation, and possibly help them to calm down and better articulate their issues.
Listening can also be important in a case where you think they’re complaining about a needed repair you already know about, but further explanation could enlighten you to a new and more serious problem. Ask questions and engage them, this will make them feel respected and give you as much info as possible as to their needs.
Pests can quickly invade an apartment and become a major issue for tenants. If your property were to become infested with rodents, roaches or other types of pesky insects, your tenants might bail before they do.
Take complaints about pest issues very seriously. If your tenants complain of pests, schedule professional treatment and extermination immediately. These sorts of problems can escalate rapidly and become a major headache for you if you wait until it’s too late.
To be on the safe side, a good landlord should schedule for regular pest control the prevent issues from cropping up at all. You’re tenants can get flighty at the sight of these things, so definitely avoid being stingy here.
Noisy neighbours are going to show up at some point as an issue from your tenants. However, unlike simple repairs, noisy neighbours can cause quite the predicament. The noise might not even be coming from your property, and in many situations your options will be limited.
Listen to the tenant’s complaint carefully and keep them informed so they know you’re taking steps to resolve the issue. Ask neighbours if they’re having similar issues to gather more information about the problem and make sure of it’s validity.
In the case the noise is coming from a tenant inside your property, contact them directly and politely to see if a peaceful solution can be achieved for all parties involved. You may be able to make arrangements to move the noisy tenant, or take action to remove them should they be in violation of the terms of the lease.
If the noise originates from another property, things will be a lot more difficult, and your options will be much more limited. Try contacting the owner of the other property to see if the noise can be alleviated. Should this not yield results, continue to communicate with the tenant who made the complaint and work together to see what can be done to resolve the issue.
Repairs and Maintenance
Repairs may seem simple, but can cause you nightmares in their logistics. The key is in having a well organized and established complaint resolution system, with instructions for maintenance requests included in the lease. Details like what to do in the case of an emergency, expected response time and more should be included.
Always respond to requests promptly and give your tenants specific time frames for when the repair should take place and be completed. Ask follow up questions upon completion to insure the issue was resolved and the tenants are comfortable. Communication will keep your tenants happy and feeling cared for.
Of course, if things go awry you might get taken to court over maintenance issues. In a likely case, it might not even be your fault, but it happens regardless. Record all tenant-landlord communications and keep your paperwork and receipts regarding maintenance work as it will be of crucial importance in a situation such as this.