Tenant complaints are par for the course when it comes to rental properties. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that – we all experience times when external factors affect our living situation. Problems are always bound to crop up, but addressing these issues in a timely and professional manner is key to a good tenant relationship. So what are the most common complaints to landlords, and how can you manage them? Let’s take a look.
There’s no getting around it: kids are energetic, enthusiastic and often noisy little critters. This is generally no problem if you live on a decent sized suburban block, however, fellow tenants in an apartment building may grow tired of the constant noise. And children are not the only offenders. Noise complaints are often due to a neighbour, parties, off-the-street racket or nearby buildings. In these instances, you may want to encourage your tenant to try to amicably resolve the issue themselves with the offending neighbour. However, it can be difficult to handle excessive noise complaints if the source of the noise is a result of the location rather than a particular offender. Soundproofing measures such as new carpeting, insulation or planting shrubbery can help to reduce noise. But informing prospective tenants of train or aeroplane noise, traffic, or early garbage pickup can go a long way to avoiding future complaints.
There is nothing more frustrating for a tenant than finding a visitor’s (or another tenant’s) vehicle in their parking space. Rental properties that have limited allocated parking or street parking only can also cause frustration. Can you imagine trying to carry a trunk load of groceries from halfway down the street all the way to your front door? You should notify repeat offenders of their error and that if it continues their vehicle will be towed. For rental properties that only have street parking available, you should inform your prospective tenant of the limited parking. Public transport may be a better option in this instance.
Maintenance and repairs
Landlords have a duty to keep their rental properties in functional order during the tenancy. But even the most well-maintained property will encounter repairs eventually. Implementing a plan of action helps avoid communication issues, which is a leading cause of tenant-landlord relationship breakdowns. Firstly, tenants should report all repairs or maintenance requests to the property manager. Keeping a list of preferred contractors who will respond to the work in a timely manner is a valuable, time-saving tool. Also keep in mind that carrying out repairs can sometimes cause disruption to the tenant, so be sure to actively communicate with them regarding what needs to be done. After the repairs, follow up with the tenant to make sure they’re happy with the result. Even if they’re not, most will at least appreciate the gesture. And it gives you the opportunity to fix the new problem before they can make another complaint.
An unwelcome invasion of creepy-crawlies is enough to ‘bug’ anyone… (I’ll see myself out). Ensuring that rental properties are bug-free is part of a landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable dwelling for their tenants. Preventative action is always the best measure to avoid a potentially costly infestation, and annual treatments are recommended. If a tenant does report a pest problem, you should take prompt action and call an exterminator immediately. Not only can some infestations, such as termites, cause extensive property damage, but pest infestations can quickly spread and become a major issue. Dealing with large-scale pest problems don’t inspire tenants to want to renew their lease at the end of their contract. And you could face huge unnecessary costs if you delay action or ignore preventative measures.
Knowing how to handle tenant complaints when they crop up (and they will) is crucial for a mutually successful tenancy. Your property manager is the ideal person to mediate through the complaint process, as they can help diffuse tensions by removing the emotional aspect from both parties and maintain professionalism.
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