Most common tenant complaints and how to manage them

Being a landlord can be extremely busy and stressful, and despite your efforts to keep on top of things, receiving complaints from your tenants at some point in your landlord career is inevitable. But what do you do when you get a complaint from your tenants and how can you avoid them? Dependable are here to help, with our handy tips on what the most common complaints against landlords are and how you can manage them.

What are the five most common tenant complaints?

Some landlords will rent properties out for years before they get a complaint from their tenants, whereas others will receive grumbles about tenant problems in their first ever rented property. In order to help you prepare for and hopefully avoid them, we’ve narrowed down the five most common tenant complaints. Let’s dive in!

#1 Maintenance issues

Coming in strong at number one is complaints about maintenance problems. Every home has something go wrong at some point, whether it be a broken boiler or a clogged sink, so it is important to know how to deal with them. 

Make sure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities at the beginning of the tenancy. For example, electrical or plumbing issues are down to the landlord to fix, whereas replacing a lightbulb or swapping the batteries in a fire alarm are likely to be a tenant’s responsibility. By ensuring that responsibilities are agreed to early on, you reduce the likelihood of being called to fix an issue that isn’t yours to fix.

As well as this, make sure you have a written trail. If a tenant complains over the phone, follow up with an email or text message, clearly noting what the problem is and what your response to fix it is. This means that there will be written evidence of what went wrong and what your plan to fix it was, should the worst ever happen.

#2 Pest problems

Another common complaint received by landlords is about pests. No one wants their home infested with insects or rodents, so urgent action is vital. Not only is it gross, but it can also pose a serious health hazard.

Call an exterminator as soon as possible, and arrange follow up inspections with the tenant to ensure that the property is being properly cleaned and looked after.

#3 Noisy neighbours

Although noisy neighbours aren’t the direct responsibility of the landlord, especially if the neighbours aren’t also tenants of that landlord, it is still a common complaint.

There’s not really much that can be done if you’re not the landlord of the noisy neighbours. You can offer to increase insulation or install soundproofing, but the best option is really to encourage the tenants to try and resolve the situation on their own.

#4 Lack of communication

Another common complaint against landlords is a lack of communication from them. It is incredibly frustrating for tenants to have their calls, texts and emails repeatedly unanswered, so it is important to ensure you respond to any questions or issues as quickly as possible – even if you believe they aren’t your responsibility.

A lack of communication can stop your tenants from wanting to renew their rental contract. Ensuring that you respond as quickly as possible to their questions or complaints can increase the possibility that they will rent from you again.

#5 Privacy violations and unannounced visits 

From one extreme to the other. Just as tenants don’t want their landlord to completely ghost them, they also don’t want them appearing without notice to ‘check in’. Just because you own the property doesn’t mean you can show up whenever you want, and it can actually be considered a criminal offence to show up unannounced or repeatedly ask to enter the property.

From time to time, checks will need to be completed. However, unless there is an emergency, you are legally required to give 24 hours notice when you need to visit the property. Again, ensuring there is good communication between tenant and landlord will reduce these types of complaints.

How to deal with complaints from your tenants 

While we’ve given you a few tips on how to deal with each individual complaint, there are a number of successful ways to make sure that the issue is sorted as quickly and efficiently as possible.

#1 Never ignore complaints

Make sure that you respond to any complaints as quickly as possible, even if you don’t have an answer yet. By informing your tenant that you have listened and understand their problem and that you will work to resolve it as soon as possible, you will reduce any anxiety felt by your tenants and make them feel heard.

#2 Put yourself in their shoes

It’s likely that your tenant doesn’t want to make this complaint. By having empathy and putting yourself in your tenants shoes, it can help you come to a conclusion that your tenant will be happy with.

#3 Ask questions

Find out as much information as you can about the issue, so that you are equipped with all the facts you need to come up with an appropriate solution.

#4 Explain your process of fixing the problem

Make sure to keep your tenant in the loop about how their issues are being addressed. Make sure you inform them of any maintenance personnel that are coming over, and make sure to give a realistic timeframe to avoid over-promising and under-delivering.

#5 Make sure to avoid repeating the behaviour that caused the complaint

Where possible, make sure to avoid the same complaints arising again. This could be through keeping a closer eye on maintenance, scheduling regular checks to avoid pest infestations or responding to communications faster.

How Dependable can help

If you’re finding it difficult to keep on top of everything with your properties, getting the right support can be the best way to help both yourself and your tenants.

At Dependable, we offer complete facilities management services, from property management to block and grounds maintenance. We have 20 years experience in all things facilities management, so will be happy to help.

Get in touch with us today to discover how we can help you.