Every landlord has some complaints from tenants. In this article, we will go over the most common tenant complaints and how you can solve them.
All business owners know that if you want to stay in business, then you must take care of your customers.
Well, as a landlord, your customers are your tenants. So it’s important that they are happy with your rental property.
This will ensure you keep a good reputation and save you the cost of finding a new tenant if the old one moves out. Plus, an unhappy tenant has the power to do real damage to your property, and cost you thousands of dollars…
So, you should always strive to keep your tenants happy!
And the single best way of achieving that is by listening to their complaints.
So keep reading for the NINE most common tenant complaints and find out how to handle them best…
1) Poor Communication
Sadly, communication is something that many landlords, let’s say it, ‘suck at’, according to their renters.
While we agree that communication takes effort, it’s still one of the most important aspects of being a good landlord. After all – it is YOUR future revenue stream we’re talking about!
There is no excuse for poor communication – make sure you are available to your tenants.
It doesn’t have to be in person, but at least offer them an email or phone number to always have a way to get in touch, and return their calls or messages in a timely manner.
And if you can’t solve their problem right away, communicate that to them as well.
Because if you turn your back on your tenants, then turnovers will be a natural consequence…
2) Lack of Maintenance and Repairs
No one likes living in a property that is always in need of repairs.
In fact, it’s one of the most common tenant complaints.
Broken washing machines… leaks… cracking walls… Pretty much every major thing under the roof is a landlord’s responsibility to maintain in good condition.
Make sure to have a repair schedule and stick to it. Landlords who neglect their properties and lag in maintenance develop a bad name very quickly.
And, if your tenant has reported a need for repair, you should respond at your earliest.
Also, a recent survey showed that about 89% of landlords in the US take care of property repairs, so you can’t argue that maintenance is not your job.
Unless, of course, you decided at the beginning of the lease that property repairs wouldn’t be on you!
3) Rent Increase
Rent increase is always a touchy subject. No tenant likes to hear they will be paying more at the end of their lease.
If you increase the rental rate, then communicate that to your tenants as soon as possible (1-2 months before the end of their lease is usually sufficient).
When communicating this change to them, make sure to mention the reason for the increase, and ways in which it will be beneficial for both sides.
For example, you can show how the extra money will be used for repairs, or upgrades to the property that they’ll enjoy.
That way, you won’t have any misunderstandings and can avoid a major dispute.
And remember – fair is fair! Don’t increase your tenants’ rent too much – as this will hurt long-term relationships with them, and often causes tenants to move out.
4) Noisy Neighbors
This is a widespread issue, particularly in rental properties with multiple units…
If the noisy tenant is one of your renters, you should directly take this up with them. And if the property belongs to a different landlord, then you can speak to that landlord about the noise and work out a deal.
If nothing works, you could resort to soundproofing your property, and think of adding a ‘quiet time’ agreement into your rental contracts.
That way, tenants would know that anyone violating the noise rules would face consequences.
Many landlords are hesitant to allow pets in their rental properties, fearing damage and extra cleaning…
Still, 37% of renters have them, according to data from the 2017 American Housing Survey (AHS) and many of them are willing to pay more for a property that allows their furry friend. So it’s actually a good deal for landlords!
But if you are a landlord that allows pets, you need a way to deal with inevitable complaints from less pet-friendly neighbors.
Issues often arise, from smells to noise complaints, or reports of aggression.
SO, how can you solve them without getting rid of your pet-friendly policies?
To address the complaint, you’ll first need to judge its severity. While some complaints are just nuisances, others may require immediate action.
- An excited dog barks once a day at the mailman.
- A pet had a one-time accident in a common area.
These are all low-level complaints that can be addressed with a conversation with the pet owner.
While more serious complaints will require severe and immediate action. Complaints like:
- A pet lives in a building with a ‘no-pets policy.’
- An aggressive pet threatens residents’ safety.
In both cases, you’ll need to act fast in order to keep your tenants happy, and have solid support for your actions in your lease agreement.
6) Invasion of Privacy
That’s a very common and valid tenant complaint…
Many landlords take advantage of (or abuse) their right to access their property just because they believe that they should be checking in on their rentals frequently.
But this can cause tenants to feel spied on, or like their privacy is not respected.
Make sure you are only accessing your property for the reasons outlined in your lease agreement.
If you need to access the property for a different reason, speak to your tenant first and get their permission. Because tenants can report you if you invade their privacy and barge in for no obviously urgent reasons.
Legally speaking, the best practice is that a landlord should give a 24-hour notice before visiting and visit only in reasonable hours.
And always be respectful of their personal belongings and space. Creating a sense of trust and mutual respect will never go wrong.
7) Bed Bugs
While bed buys aren’t the most common household pest (that would be the fly), they ARE the most feared, according to an apartment rental survey by Orkin LLC.
And it’s easy to see why,
First, these parasites are just gross and disgusting. As ugly as it may sound, a serious bed bug infestation can give the poor tenant 500 bug bites per night!
Second, if they aren’t treated they can really infect your property, moving to all the units and even staying in place from one tenant to the next.
And if any potential tenants hear of your bed bug infestation, that’s a MAJOR RED FLAG that will keep many people from moving into your property.
If you’re unlucky enough to have bed bugs, then you need to call pest control immediately.
And in the meantime,
- try to isolate the affected unit so that it doesn’t spread through your property,
- set up traps and fumigation,
- try to identify the source of the problem (who brought the bed bugs in?), and
- train your staff to maintain bed bug safety
8) Lack of Parking
Especially in areas where parking is tight and in high demand, lack of parking is a common tenant complaint.
Try to make sure there is at least one parking space per unit, whether indoors or in the street.
You could also look into building a parking lot or garage that tenants can use at an affordable rate. This has the added benefit of actually increasing your overall profit, as tenants effectively pay a bit extra on their rent each month to use this parking space.
And if none of these options are available, then this is about offering rent discounts to keep your tenants happy.
9) Reports of Smoking
This is one of the most common causes of tenant complaints, and it can be a difficult issue to deal with…
While smoking in common areas of a property tends to be prohibited under the law, this isn’t the case INSIDE rental units, especially on private balconies…
And with some units, the smell may reach the neighbors, causing understandable discomfort.
While you can try talking with the tenant, the only long-term solution is to prescribe a no-smoking policy in your lease agreement. You can also add to it by posting clear “No Smoking” signs in common smoking areas of your rental property.
So if a tenant violates the terms of their lease, you have something legal to refer to and enforce to get them to stop bothering neighbors.
In some units, this may be difficult – especially if a few tenants smoke inside. But it is best practice to prohibit smoking completely on the property…
This way everyone remains happy and no one feels like they were treated unfairly.
The key to being a great landlord is understanding the needs of your tenants and catering to them.
Whether it’s by providing more convenient parking or making sure they aren’t bitten by bed bugs while they sleep, you should always be thinking about how to make life better for your renters.
When they are happy with living in your property – then your rental business thrives!
And now that you know how to handle your common tenant complaints… it’s time to find that perfect tenant and make property management a simple task.
And you can do it all with AQRE Home!
We’re a centralized hub that connects landlords to renters. We offer tools, features, and services designed to help landlords who are looking to find their next great tenant and make property management a breeze.
From free listing, to screening potential tenants, to built-in chat functions that make communicating easy – our site is designed to help you manage every aspect of renting out your property so you can spend more time on what you love…running your business!