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How to Handle Rental Complaints

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Handling complaints from renters can be a difficult process. 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 complain at all,  there are times when a renter does  complain and it’s important to handle that complaint in a professional yet caring manner. It’s important that every complaint, even the minor ones, are taken seriously. There are stories from renters about how their complaints were ridiculed, or simply forgotten.  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 be unpurposely forgotten or be put on the back burner. This will result  in an unhappy tenant, and no clear resolution to the issue. So make sure you document everything.
  • 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 to the complaining party. If there is a legitimate complaint such as blasting music late at night,  the violating party must be dealt with promptly and properly.
  • 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 wall colors in an apartment or the layout of a home is not a legitimate complaint. The tenant was aware of these things prior to moving in.
  • Try to assign each complaint a level of importance. While we want to treat every tenant complaint as important, complaints about things such as broken gates, leaves or dirt in the pools, burned out lighting, and stray pets must be placed on a high priority list.
  • 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 or will be dealt with in a timely fashion.

Whatever the basis for the complaint, handling them in a prompt, professional manner will help to keep everyone happy.


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