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How to Handle Renter Complaints - Residents First Focus

As a property manager, one of the most rewarding and the most difficult parts of your job is to keep renters happy. While the majority of your tenants may never voice a single complaint, when a renter does complain it’s important to handle that complaint in a professional manner. It’s important that every complaint, even the minor ones, are taken seriously. I’ve heard untold stories from renters about how their complaints were ridiculed, or simply shrugged off. Some even felt as if the issue in question was somehow their fault.

Here are some suggestions for handling tenant complaints that will ensure a quick resolution and a satisfied tenant:

  • Document the complaint or issue immediately. While we all are sure that we’ll remember something, during the course of a very busy day things such as complaints can inadvertently be put on the back burner, resulting in an unhappy tenant, and no clear resolution to the issue. Document, document, document.
  • Address the issue immediately, or as soon as reasonably possible. A routine maintenance call about a faulty appliance can quickly escalate into a complaint about management responsiveness.
  • Excessive noise complaints are common, and should be investigated immediately for legitimacy and appropriateness. In the case where a noise violation has not occurred, managers should take the time to explain noise restrictions and local ordinances to the complaining party. If there is a legitimate complaint such as blasting music at midnight, the violating party must be dealt with promptly.
  • Consider if a complaint is legitimate. While it is the property manager’s responsibility to process all complaints promptly, there will be times when there are no grounds for the complaint. Complaining about the off white wall colors in an apartment home is not a legitimate complaint, as the tenant was aware of the wall color prior to moving in.
  • Assign each complaint a level of importance. While we want to treat every tenant complaint as important, complaints about things such as broken gates, burned out lighting, and stray pets must be placed on a higher priority list than complaints about the lack of a pool or hot tub on the property.
  • Provide your tenant with a written response to their complaint. While you may want to speak to them in person, putting it in writing provides further reassurance that the issue has been dealt with in a timely fashion.

Often times, constant complaints such as excessive noise and poor property lighting may be a sign of a larger issue that needs to be addressed. Whatever the basis for the complaint, handling them in a prompt, professional manner will help to keep everyone happy.