It doesn’t matter how well you maintain your properties, some problems are bound to pop up. As the property manager it’s your responsibility to resolve the issues. Addressing the tenant’s issues in the right manner can go a long way in alleviating their concerns, increasing retention rates, and helping establish your self as a someone who cares about the safely and well being of his or her clients. Here are some of the most common complaints and the best ways to handle them.
1) Maintenance issues
Maintenance issues are the most common problem that plague most tenants, the first way to handle this is to quickly and smoothly establish an effective complaint resolution system.
It should go without saying that a lease should include specific instructions on how to place a maintenance request, the expected response time for different types of request, and what to do in case of an emergency. For example, many property management companies now ask their residents to submit an online maintenance request in order to simplify the process and allow easy tracking.
However the request is submitted, be sure to respond to all requests promptly. Ideally you should provide a time frame for when they can expect the issue to be fixed. Inform the tenants promptly if the resolution time has to be extended so they can be prepared.
You can also follow up with the tenants a few days later and confirm that the problem has been resolved to their satisfaction. Though this may seem like an unnecessary step, it shows you actually care about the tenant’s comfort and well-being and are not simply checking items off a to-do list.
2. Lack of proper communication
Nothing will make a tenant mad faster than delayed or nonexistent communication. No one likes to deal with a property manager or landlord who is always unavailable, does not answer his phone calls, or never replies to any email.
Maybe you did not respond to his first email because you felt his complaint was invalid or not your responsibility to address. But what the lack of response conveyed to the tenant was your unwillingness to listen to his problems.
Good tenants are hard to find. If you don’t respond to their issues in a timely and effective manner, you’ll lose them to another landlord who values and respects them.
3. Noisy neighbors
Another common, but tricky complaint that tenants often have is about noisy neighbors. Yes, from loud parties to pets that bark continuously at night – you’ve heard it all. Many times this is out of the control of the property manager but the tenant still expects you to do something about it
To begin, try increasing insulation, adding shrubs or instal new carpeting or soundproofing.
If the neighbor responsible for the “noise” is not renting from you, try encouraging your tenant to resolve the situation amicably on his own. If it does not work, you might have to address the problem with the owner of that property yourself.
Generally, its easier to find a solution if one of your tenants is causing the problem. Step one, try speaking to him directly to understand the issue and get their side of the story. You can also ask neighboring tenants if they have been disturbed by the noise. If the problem is determined to be real, inform the tenant that a complaint has been filed against them and you are trying to work out a solution that everyone is comfortable with. If possible, offer to shift the tenant to a different unit at no extra cost. Don’t forget to inform the tenant who brought up the complain that you are actively taking steps to resolve the issue.
As a last resort, you may choose to give the tenant a Cure or Quit notice, provided that your lease contains a clause related to noise violations or quiet hours. Retaining one bad tenant vs. losing many good tenants – the decision should be easy.
4. Pest invasion
No one wants their home invaded by cockroaches or rodents. If it’s an apartment building, the problem will quickly spread to other units and result in a much worse situation.
Take immediate action and call an exterminator. Don’t forget to schedule a follow up appointment after a week to make sure that issue is resolved. To prevent such problems from happening in the first place, schedule routine exterminator visits, taking preventative action is always better than corrective action.
No one wants their home invaded by bugs, cockroaches or rodents. And if it is an apartment or a problem, the problem can quickly spread and get worse.
Take prompt action and call an exterminator immediately if your tenant reports pest issues. Don’t forget to schedule a follow-up appointment after a week or so to ensure the problem is completely resolved. To prevent such problems from occurring in the first place, take preventive action and have your properties treated periodically.