Being a landlord is likely to keep you busy, therefore no matter how hard you work to keep on top of everything, sometimes issues can still occur. Ensuring you deal with any renter complaints in the correct manner will go a long way in alleviating your tenants’ concerns, upping retention rates and helping you establish your reputation as a person who cares about the well-being and safety of their tenants.
Read on to find out more about some of the most common tenant complaints and how you can deal with them.
Common tenant complaints
1. Lack of repairs or concerning maintenance issues
Complaints about maintenance or necessary repairs are common with rental properties as there isn’t always an easy fix that a tenant can carry out themselves.
Ensure at the start of a tenancy that both parties are aware of what their responsibilities are. Issues such as damp, mould, problems with electrics, plumbing and safety aspects such as locks on windows and doors are likely a landlord’s responsibility, whereas a blown light bulb or a beeping fire alarm can be dealt with by the tenant.
If a repair has been reported to you by the individual renting your property, it is always good practice to let them know you are aware of their issue and you are working to find a solution as quickly as possible.
2. Poor communication with the landlord
For tenants, one of the most common annoyances is a landlord who is not reliable or who is never available. Landlords may feel like they don’t have to reply to all communications – as maybe they feel a complaint isn’t valid or is not their responsibility – but this lack of response can be seen as an unwillingness to listen to concerns.
A landlord should work to make sure the balance of communication between both parties is correct. They should provide tenants with as much information as they need, but respect their privacy too.
3. Unannounced presence of landlord at the property
All landlords should be aware that turning up unannounced to a property, or being seen to be harassing a tenant by asking to access the property too frequently, can be seen as a criminal offence. Unless there is an emergency, a landlord should always give their tenant at least 24 hours’ written notice that they will need to enter the property and this access should always be during ‘reasonable’ hours.
Again, good communication is essential between landlord and tenant and both parties should be respectful of the needs of each other to ensure a successful tenancy. Even though the property belongs to the landlord, while there is someone renting it, it’s their home.
4. Noisy neighbours
While the problem of noisy neighbours isn’t directly the responsibility of the landlord – especially if the neighbours are not additionally tenants of the landlord – it can still be something tenants expect a landlord to do something about.
If it might prove helpful, a landlord could offer to increase insulation or install soundproofing, however, it is best to encourage a tenant to try to resolve the situation on their own. If this does not work, a landlord may consider addressing the issue with the owner of the other property themselves.
5. Unwanted pests
No one wants to have their home invaded by bugs or rodents, therefore if a tenant has complained about this issue, a landlord should take immediate action. A landlord should call an exterminator promptly, and then schedule a check-in with their tenant after a week or so to ensure the problem is completely resolved. In a bid to prevent pest issues occurring in the first place, best practice would involve a landlord inspecting and treating a property periodically.
Dealing with renter complaints
There are many successful ways to deal with your renters’ complaints to make sure the issue in question is tackled in a prompt and competent manner. Nevertheless, by following the below points you can ensure both yourself and your tenants are happy no matter what may happen.
1. Never ignore complaints
When you receive a complaint, tell your tenant that you’ve listened, that you understand and that you’ll act on it accordingly – never ignore it and assume they will find a solution themselves.
2. Ask lots of questions
Find out as much as you can about the problem your tenant has, so that you have all the information you need to come up with a solution.
3. Have empathy
Imagine yourself in your tenant’s shoes – how would you feel if you were the one with the complaint and how would you like someone to fix the issue for you?
4. Explain what you’re going to do to solve the problem
Always keep your tenants in the loop about what is happening with any issues they have. To assist in an efficient solution, you should always give a realistic time frame and should never promise something you cannot deliver.
5. Avoid repeating behaviour that has caused previous complaints
Whenever possible, ensure your tenants that you understand what happened and that issues of similar nature will not happen again – whether that involves you keeping a closer eye on maintenance or simply being quicker to respond to communications.
Get the support you need to manage your property
Getting the right support to help you manage your rental property can often be the best way to help your tenants as well as yourself.
Our Property Management service means you can be free to enjoy the benefits of being a landlord with none of the hassles. Having dealt with the needs of landlords over many years, you can be reassured that your property is being managed by our highly experienced team.
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