Owning rental properties invariably means that you are going to be dealing with complaints. Even if you have the nicest tenants on earth and you make a point of maintaining your properties on a regular basis, there will be complaints. The scope of tenant complaints can range from the property itself to the neighbors. Whatever the case may be, as a property owner, you must know how to handle tenant complaints in an efficient and effective manner. Failure to address tenant complaints can lead not only to unhappy tenants who may move out but could also result in legal problems.
The first and most important step that should be taken in order to make certain that complaints are handled in the most effective manner possible is to establish good communication with your tenants from the very beginning. This is not to set the stage for your tenants to complaint about everything, but you should let tenants know that you will be available in the event of a problem.
You also need to make certain that you have some type of tracking system for keeping up with complaints. This can be particularly important if you own a large number of properties. Ask tenants to provide requests in a written form and make sure that you always follow up with any requests or complaints in writing, as well. You might also consider creating an official form that can be used for requests and complaints. Written records can prove to be invaluable when you need to document your actions.
In addition to actually recording the receipt of the complaint, you also need to record details regarding how the complaint was handled. Your records should include the dates and times as well as notes regarding the repairs that were made. It is also a good idea to include information regarding when and how you followed up with the tenant. In the event that the tenant decides to withhold rent due to non-performance, these details can be vital.
While many of the complaints you receive from tenants will be in regards to repairs, there may be times when you receive a complaint regarding the behavior of other tenants, noise complaints, parking issues, or other problems. One of the most common mistakes that many landlords make is in asking tenants to simply handle it on their own. Rather than do this, it is important to approach the tenant on your own and point out the problem as well as direct the tenant to the provision in his or her lease that prohibits that particular behavior. Do not identify the tenant who made the complaint. If the tenant in question does not cease the offensive behavior, you may then need to provide a written complaint. Remember to document everything.
Handling complaints is part of the job of being a landlord. How you handle the complaints can make a big difference in the relationship you have with your tenants as well as the success of your business.