As a landlord, you want to keep your tenants happy. Happy tenants stay longer and (hopefully) treat your property with respect. Unhappy tenants cause a high tenant turnover, meaning more time and money on your end to find new tenants, and are more likely to cause damage to your property
To keep tenants happy, you’ll need to address tenant complaints quickly and effectively. Unresolved issues can lead to some seriously angry tenants at best and a lawsuit against you at worst. As a good landlord, staying on top of tenant complaints and dealing with them in a quick, professional manner can go a long way to keeping tenants.
Wondering how to do this? That’s what we’ll cover in this post. We’ll go over the top common tenant complaints and ways to resolve them. Let’s get started with the first common complaint, maintenance issues.
8 Tenant Complaints to Address Now
1. Unaddressed maintenance problems
One of the most common tenant complaints is unresolved maintenance issues. Whether it’s a blown-over fence, flooded basement, an appliance that doesn’t work, or anything else, tenants expect you to fix the issue promptly. After all, they are paying for everything to be in working order.
It’s important to respond to tenant maintenance requests as soon as possible. If it’s not something you can fix immediately, keep tenants updated on what you’re doing to fix it and how soon they can expect a fix.
You should also have a good maintenance recording and tracking system. That way your tenants have a convenient way to report a problem and you can respond as quickly as possible.
2. Rent Increases
Another common tenant complaint is rent increases. You need to increase rent periodically to keep up with inflation and the rental market. Not surprisingly, tenants hate paying more to rent your property. A rent increase, especially a high one, can lead to dissatisfied tenants.
You should inform tenants of any rent increases way in advance. That way they aren’t surprised when it’s time for them to renew their lease. Be sure to explain any increases; a small bump in rent due to inflation is reasonable and means tenants aren’t actually paying more, which can resolve tenant frustration over rent increases.
3. Security deposit
Tenants might also be unhappy with your security deposit requirements. Maybe you require a full month’s rent as deposit or maybe you have strict cleaning requirements. Either way, no one wants to part with money they may or may not get back. If you do have to keep part of or all the deposit to address any tenant-caused issues, tenants may feel like you are overcharging them.
To resolve this complaint, you should have clear wording in your lease about what damages will result in keeping the security deposit. You should also verbally explain this. That way, if you have to keep the deposit, there are no surprises as to why.
An unresponsive or hard-to-reach landlord is also a common tenant complaint. It can be frustrating for tenants to wait days or weeks to hear back from you – especially if they need help with an urgent issue.
Send out a new landlord letter any time you acquire a property with existing tenants. Give tenants an easy way to contact you, whether that’s your personal cell number or an email address you check daily. Make it your goal to respond within 24 hours and sooner if it’s an emergency. This ensures you’ll see any tenant communication and be able to respond quickly.
5. Lack of privacy
Tenants also often complain about a lack of privacy. You own your property and may want to check-in on it from time to time. But when tenants are renting it, you can’t come in whenever you’d like unannounced. If you are popping by with random inspections all the time, tenants feel their privacy is invaded. There’s another reason to avoid doing this — frequent inspections are illegal in many states.
First, you should look at your local rent laws to see how often you can enter your property and how much notice you have to provide tenants. Then, you should reduce how often you inspect your property. Reducing inspections provides tenants privacy and makes sure you’re legally compliant. Your rental agreement should have an acceptable notice period for when you can enter the house or unit — a common example is giving tenants 24-hour notice before you schedule any inspection or routine work.
6. Safety concerns
Safety concerns are another common tenant complaint. Whether it’s a door that doesn’t lock, a run-down fence, a dangerous walkway, a high neighborhood crime rate, or any other issue, tenants may not feel safe on your property.
If any locks or other safety measures are broken, you should promptly fix them. For a high crime neighborhood, you can invest in an alarm system, high-quality locks, security cameras, and other measures to make tenants feel safer on your property.
7. Loud neighbors
Along with safety concerns, tenants commonly complain about noisy neighbors. Your property’s neighbors might frequently throw loud parties, have loud music playing all night, or just generally be noisy all the time. Dealing with excessive noise can tank tenant happiness.
If the loud neighbors are also your tenants, you can resolve the issue by talking with the tenant. You might have to evict the tenant or not renew their lease if they won’t change their behavior.
You have fewer options to deal with noisy neighbors who aren’t your tenants. You could try the old-fashioned way of walking over and talking with your neighbors. If they are renters, you may have to resort to contacting their rental company or the extreme last resort of filing a noise complaint to the police.
The last common tenant complaint is pests. Ants, roaches, rats, mice, and any other insect or rodent infestation can not only cause your tenants to be unhappy, but these unwanted pests could damage your property. Not addressing the infestation can pose serious health risks to your tenants and violate rent laws.
While some creepy crawlies are a natural part of life, any infestation of rats, mice, termites, and other potentially hazardous creatures should be dealt with ASAP. To prevent future infestations, you should have a pest control service regularly treat your property.
Happy tenants, happy landlord
To be a successful landlord, you need to keep tenants happy by addressing any complaints. Happy tenants are more likely to renew their lease, or at the very least, leave you a positive review online. The key is communication. Address complaints as soon as they crop up. If that’s not possible, communicate with your tenants on what you plan to do regarding the situation.
However, before you even have tenants to keep happy, you’ll need to protect your property. The right landlord insurance can help you make sure that unexpected events (like fires, natural disasters, and frozen pipes) don’t put your property out of commission.
As a landlord, you don’t have time to complete tedious paperwork. Or, wait weeks for a quote. That’s why Obie has a modern, transparent, and completely online approach to landlord insurance.
Get your free Obie quote today.