Top 6 Most Common Tenant Complaints and How to Handle Them
June 3, 2022
Many property management issues have to be dealt with, and tenant complaints are one of the most important. Property management complaints can wind up eating up a lot of a property manager's time, and they're almost always interruptions to other responsibilities.
Fortunately, the most common tenant complaints account for the majority of what you'll face. Knowing the top six most common complaints in advance can help you anticipate and even prevent these situations from happening.
1. Maintenance Issues
Common apartment maintenance problems wind up turning into tenant maintenance requests. As the property manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that the property is kept in good working and livable condition. That starts with having a process in place for responding to maintenance requests.
The most important thing is responding to maintenance requests as quickly as possible. This is crucial to resident satisfaction and can help increase your retention rates at renewal time. However, it also prevents multiple maintenance requests from bogging down your operations when only one was needed. If a tenant thinks their maintenance request got lost or ignored, they'll file more.
It's also important to create a written system to keep records. Ask tenants to put maintenance requests in writing. You'll have some that still choose to call with them, but you should record those requests on your own in writing or via email so there is a trail to follow.
2. Lack of Communication
Tenant communications are a very common complaint. It's also an issue you can prevent with the right habits and systems in place.
First of all, be available to tenants who need to communicate with you. If you have an office, keep your posted hours. Answer the phone when it rings. Respond to emails promptly.
Keyrenter Houston sure that a tenant newsletter is a great idea if you have multiple tenants you are managing on the same property. Give them away to voice their concerns, and answer any questions they have as thoroughly as you can.
Tenants who feel they are ignored will find other property investors to give their money to.
3. Noise Disturbance
Knowing how to handle noise complaints from tenants is a skill you will need to develop. Everyone has different definitions or standards in terms of what might be acceptable levels of noise. They might also have various ideas about what hours of noise are acceptable or not within a community.
When you get noise complaints from tenants, the first thing you will need to do is ascertain who is responsible for the noise. If it's not one of your tenants but a neighbor in a property you don't own or manage, then you might want to gently suggest that your tenant try and deal with them on their own. However, you might be able to engage an HOA if that applies.
If the offending noise source is another tenant of yours, then you do have options. You can send out notices reminding everyone of noise protocols in their leases. You can also engage those tenants directly and ask them to be more courteous and quiet in how they accord themselves. If they don't comply, then you can start taking steps to evict them over these complaints.
The idea of evicting a paying tenant over something like noise might be something you find distasteful. However, getting rid of one problem tenant will help you win over everyone else.
4. Lack of Privacy
Tenant privacy rights usually mean you should provide a minimum of 24-hour notice before entering a residence. As a general rule of thumb, you can only enter without warning in the event of maintenance, direct emergencies, or the property somehow being jeopardized (also in certain cases where you are showing the property to a potential new renter).
However, put yourself in your tenants' shoes. Would you want your property manager to come into the residence too frequently? It might be necessary for maintenance calls, but there should be plenty of warning and written records about those intrusions. Trackable methods in all cases are good for protecting yourself from claims of you invading tenant privacy without it being necessary.
5. Pest Problems
If you have a tenant complain about pests, you need to take it seriously and deal with it quickly. You face two problems here. First, the pest infestation can get worse the longer it isn't dealt with. Second, pest issues deteriorate the quality of life for tenants who might start withholding rent and even moving somewhere else. Unsafe property conditions might let them break their lease early and legally.
Send out a pest control notice to tenants to make them aware of the problem, because it might be happening in other units and you need to know how widespread the problem is. Your tenants need to know that you're working on the problem.
If you have professional pest control come out to deal with the problem, give your residents 24-hour notice at a minimum before entering their properties. Whatever you do, communicate all steps along the way so tenants know what's going on.
6. Unreturned Funds
Tenants can easily get confused about their deposits and deductions from their accounts. You need to be very transparent in terms of what you charge them for. That's not just on their regular rent, either. They need to understand every fee and charge that they wind up facing.
Constant and clear communication is crucial here, and a tenant newsletter can go a long way toward keeping things from being misunderstood. Try to warn them of anything that you might have to charge for so they know about it and can prevent it from happening. A new resident cheat sheet is helpful to tenants just signing their lease, and you should also go through the rental agreement with them before they put their name on it.
Also, be communicative with tenants ending their lease and about to move out. Help them understand what they're responsible for and what they can do to get their deposits back, if at all.
General Strategies for Handling Tenant Complaints
Regardless of the specific issue, there are steps you should take when dealing with the most common tenant complaints.
Documenting everything helps you in the event a tenant tries to legally come after you about something, and it's also crucial if you need to evict them. If they stop paying rent because they think you didn't respond to something, you'll have the evidence that you did all you could.
Have Some Conversation
It often only takes a good conversation to resolve any issues. Trying to see where someone is coming from and seeing their point of view can help you find out what the real issue is most of the time, or you might discover they are misunderstanding something and you can then clear it up for them. Noisy neighbors might not know how loud they've been and will react politely when asked nicely to keep things down.
Send Written Notices
Even if you just talked with a tenant about something, send them a written notice about your proposed resolution. This will keep the conversation fresh in their mind and give you a paper trail to fall back on in the event of a more serious dispute later down the road.
Address Anything Reasonable
Any request that only takes a few minutes or doesn't cost much to address is something that you should respond to quickly and effectively. Doing this most of the time will make tenants very happy.
Be Polite While Staying Firm
You can't cater to every whim or request your tenants might make, but you also can't be condescending or rude when responding to them. Remain calm in situations that escalate, especially when tenants continue to press on something unreasonable or that you've already responded to but not to their satisfaction.
Get Ahead of Things
Knowing the most common tenant complaints means you can take steps to either prevent them or at least have protocols in place to deal with them when they happen. Alternatively, you can hire property management professionals Keyrenter Houston to deal with this. If you have any questions, please contact us!