Top 5 Tenant Complaints & How to Handle Them

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Property management is about balancing the needs of different stakeholders. Tenants are a member of this agreement, and as property managers, it is your responsibility to make sure their needs are met thoroughly and efficiently.

It can be difficult to keep up with tenant's needs, especially during busy seasons. The best way to deal with complaints is to avoid problems that can potentially lead to tenant dissatisfaction. Being aware of the top complaints tenants have can help you address potential issues proactively. When complaints do arise, it’s important to know how to handle them quickly and professionally.

1. Maintenance

Maintenance problems are one of the most common types of complaints from tenants. People become easily frustrated when interior and exterior structures need repair or utilities malfunction without receiving immediate attention. When essential items are not fixed in a timely fashion, tenants get impatient and it prevents them from enjoying their property to the fullest.

No matter how well you maintain your property, problems will arise unexpectedly. The first initiative property managers should do is to set-up an internal system to streamline maintenance issues and complaints. This will provide consistency and efficiency for both tenants and those in charge of repairs.

With the advancement of technology, many establishments have implemented online platforms and websites where tenants can place maintenance requests or find additional resources, such as information regarding emergency evacuations. This system maintains effective organization and tracking for any property manager. Regardless of the system you choose, ensure you have adequate staff to respond to requests promptly.

Lastly, to keep maintenance complaints to a minimum make sure you invest in regular building inspections. If you can identify any inherent problems beforehand, you'll be preventing future complaints from arising.

2. Communication

Tenants will become very impatient when their concerns are not being received and met with a response. Effective communication is essential to tenant and property management relationships. With any working relationship, the expectation is to be easily reachable and responsive to any questions or concerns. Ensure you respond to every message you receive from tenants. If you are overwhelmed with communication demands, consider hiring additional employees to help increase your response turnover. A good rule of thumb is to instil tenant inquiries online or in office during certain hours of the day. Regular “office hours” will assure that tenants know they can reach you in person, which will foster a better sense of community.

3. Pests

Pests are a serious problem. Insects and vermin such as bed bugs, cockroaches, and rodents not only invade and spread quickly but are a public health concern. If a tenant reports a pest issue you should respond immediately and conduct a thorough investigation. If pests are found hire an exterminator to eradicate the problem. Schedule a follow-up appointment to confirm the problem is solved.

4. Cleanliness

No one likes to live in a place they feel is dirty or unsanitary. Make sure you have frequent cleaning services on site to maintain the premises, elevators, hallways and common spaces. A poor appearance is a lasting first impression guest will notice. Additionally, when a tenant moves out of a unit hire a professional cleaning service to tidy up the vacant space. This will give new tenants a safe and welcoming impression when they move in.

5. Noise

Another common tenant complaint is noise. This complaint is more difficult to deal with because it often occurs out of your control as a property manager. A proactive measure you can take to handle an excessive noise complaint is to increase insulation or add soundproofing between apartments if possible.

If a neighbour is responsible for the noise, ask the tenants to speak to one and find a compromise. If they cannot come to a resolution you may have to step in to mediate the situation. We recommend including a noise clause in your lease so that if necessary you are justified to take appropriate actions including issuing a cure or quit notice.

With the right planning and processes in place, most of these issues can be addressed before they become problems. You'll be more engaged with your tenants, which will minimize complaints and facilitate your role as a property manager.