Handling Tenant Complaints Efficiently

By Kaitlin Hurtado on April 14, 2022

As a property manager, your problem-solving skills are likely going to be tested on a daily basis. From figuring out how you are going to fill up those lingering vacancies to handling tenant complaints – making sure any and all concerns on your rental property are attended to can be a struggle. Regardless of how much experience you have in property management, tenant complaints can throw you a curveball as they can be something as small as a quick-fix maintenance issue to larger issues like bothersome neighbors that are violating the property’s policies. Being able to solve your tenant’s problems in a timely manner to keep them satisfied is essential to your success as a property manager as you retain good tenants, protect the property’s reputation, and avoid higher tenant turnover. Keep reading for tips on handling tenant complaints efficiently.

Photo: Pexels

Establish clear, effective methods to receive tenant complaints

The first part of handling tenant complaints efficiently is making sure you are actually seeing or hearing them. When you are welcoming new tenants to your property, let them know the best way to get in touch with you (and your team) should they have any concerns while renting.

If you have some form of an online portal where tenants can access documents related to their lease and property policy/news, make rent payments, or submit maintenance requests, give your tenants the option to submit any complaints they may have. Having a centralized channel for communicating complaints and their solutions can be key in handling tenants’ complaints efficiently.

If you don’t have an online portal for tenants, let them know the best way to communicate their concerns to property management. There’s always the option of the office line, but you can also offer an email inbox set up exclusively for receiving tenant complaints.

You should also consider setting up a plan for how tenants can reach property management outside of office hours for emergency situations.

Acknowledge the tenant complaint as soon as possible

Can you remember a time when you were in a customer role and experienced horrible customer service? For example, you could have ordered something online and when your package arrives, you realize the company shipped you a broken product. You put in the effort of making several calls and sending countless emails to the company’s customer service contact provided but never had any luck in getting a resolution, let alone a response, from the company in question. Remember how frustrated you were at being left unheard. Now, the same thing can be said for tenants that voice their issues to property management, only to be unheard. Tenants are going to have the worse experience – having to live with the problem they are complaining about as their concerns are left ignored.

When your tenant brings their concerns to your attention, acknowledge that you’ve received them. If it was sent via email or a written message through an online portal, a quick reply stating that you are looking into the matter can help soothe them. Depending on the issue, it can be a quick fix like a small maintenance request where you can promise to send a handyman out to their unit by the end of the day. Or, you may opt to give them a three-day window where you will solve the issue at hand, such as speaking to another tenant if it’s a noise complaint against their neighbor.

Communication is key in handling tenant complaints efficiently so be sure to keep your tenants up-to-date on any resolution to their complaints, especially if you are experiencing delays in getting them resolved.

Take notes of similarities of tenant complaints 

Depending on how large your property is, you may be getting tenant a higher volume of tenant complaints than if you were dealing with a smaller, four-unit property. Rather than just taking care of each tenant complaint as they come in and not thinking much of them after the issue is fixed, take them as a learning opportunity and a way to get honest tenant feedback about your property. What are the most common tenant complaints on your property, and are there things you can do to prevent them from happening in the future?

For example, you may be experiencing an influx of tenant complaints surrounding neighbors smoking despite your property having a strict no smoking policy. You may find that the smoking complaints are stemming from a single tenant or unit. Rather than letting the tenant complaints roll in, address the issue at hand and deal with the tenant.

On the other hand, you could be receiving more tenant complaints surrounding pest problems spanning multiple units. Take the opportunity to nip the problem in the bud and hire a professional company to deal with an infestation or any other problem before it becomes a larger issue for your tenants and property.

Dealing with tenant complaints efficiently can make or break your success as a property manager as it helps protect your property and prevents a higher turnover rate due to dissatisfied tenants.

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