How do you deal with tenant complaints?
It’d be nice if renting properties was limited to signing a lease, handing over the keys, and collecting a rent check.
The reality of owning a rental property, however, isn’t quite so rosy. All relationships have their struggles, and the relationship between a tenant and a landlord is no different. Things to wrong from time-to-time, and tenants will complain. Here is how you should deal with tenant complaints.
1) Listen to your tenant
Being quick to listen and slow to speak will pay dividends for you. Regardless of the situation, your tenant wants to be heard. Showing yourself to be a good listener can quickly diffuse the situation and make the resolution process easier.
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2) Consider the Complaint
After hearing the tenant out, consider whether their complaint warrants your involvement. Remember, you’re a landlord. You’re not their marriage counselor, or mentor, or anything else for that matter.
Your role as a landlord is to pretty much to collect a rent check, handle maintenance requests, and ensure your tenant is complying with the terms of the lease agreement.
3) Decide How you will respond
After listening to your tenant’s complaint and considering if their complaint demands your involvement, decide what an appropriate response should be. If the tenant, for instance, is fighting with their spouse, that’s probably not something you should get involved with. You’d be amazed at the kinds of help tenants seek from their landlord.
4) Respond in a timely manner
Sometimes a complaint can be resolved right on the spot. For example, if the tenant reports that their furnace isn’t working. Let them know that you’ll have the HVAC technician call them to get it fixed. Done. However, sometimes the complaints are more complicated than just a simple maintenance request.
For instance, you may own a duplex where one tenant is complaining about the neighbor in the other unit selling drugs during all hours of the night. A complaint like that will take some looking into and investigating, so a quick resolution, in that case, wouldn’t likely be possible.
Responding in a timely manner also doesn’t mean that you rush to resolve every complaint. Not every complain is an emergency. A window latch that isn’t working doesn’t carry the same priority as an AC unit that has broken down in the heat of July.