Part of being a landlord is learning to deal with resident issues. If you’re not comfortable with confrontations, it’s best to learn to develop your communication skills. Additionally, you should also prepare for evitable situations, so you can gain the right framework for approaching a problem beforehand.
As a proactive landlord, conflicts will not come in the way of your professional reputation. You’ll avoid engaging in needless arguments. Instead, you’ll quickly resolve situations before they turn ugly and affect your property management. Bypassing these expected encounters means your earnings stay consistent, as you’ll avoid dealing with evictions or turnovers.
Tips for Handling Resident Complaints
1. Keep an open mind.
When a resident comes to you and complains about an issue regarding a roof leak, for example, listen proactively. Ask any follow-up questions regarding the roof leak. Avoid being dismissive and respect the urgency of the situation. Be respectful as you ask for more details about the problem.
2. Be available.
There’s nothing more frustrating than an absent landlord when you’re experiencing a maintenance issue. Make sure you’re accessible via phone call, email, or text message. Respond as soon as you can so that the resident knows you care about the issue.
Also, offer an emergency number for your residents to contact you outside of business hours. What constitutes emergency situations should be carefully outlined in the leasing agreement.
3. Resolve issues promptly.
A resident relies on the landlord to fix inconveniences. Major ones should be rectified immediately. Coordinate with your licensed contractors and vendors for maintenance of normal wear and tear or repair issues.
If the problem is minor, it’s reasonable to schedule it a bit later. However, set a timeframe for when it will be addressed so that the resident isn’t left hanging.
4. Maintain your composure.
Sometimes situations can become heated, and the resident’s frustration can result in emotional outbursts. This requires a landlord to always remain calm and levelheaded. Fighting never resolves an issue.
It will only exacerbate the problem further as it tends to build-up stress and tension. Act professionally and remain calm. Exercise empathy and don’t take things personally by retaliating in any form. You should make sure to always ensure a fair housing environment.
5. Show you genuinely care.
Residents will stay longer in rental units when they feel their concerns are being heard. When they raise specific issues, validate their complaints and resolve them. Being attentive shows that you’re on the same side and that you care about their predicament.
Common Complaints and How to Resolve Them
A resident comes to you and complains about an infestation of rats in the kitchen area.
Call an exterminator to get rid of the rodents. Never insinuate that a resident has unhygienic practices. You never know the source of the infestation. If the resident is the type that has poor cleaning habits, you can choose to start an eviction process or wait for the tenancy to end.
Conduct regular inspections. Before a potential pest outbreak occurs, you can stop the problem from progressing further.
A resident contacts you regarding a broken heater in the middle of winter.
Deal with the problem immediately, since this situation is hugely inconvenient and warrants urgency. Send a professional contractor to fix it as soon as possible. Make sure that you have a temporary replacement in the meantime. Moreover, keep a written record of the maintenance request.
Leave an emergency line for critical situations like this. A resident must be able to trust the landlord to step up in such times. Perform regular HVAC inspections to prevent this situation from arising.
A resident complains to you about the noise coming from a neighboring resident’s unit.
This is a fairly common issue. You can notify the source of the noise disturbance and give them a verbal warning. You can also meet with the resident first to find out the situation and allow them time to explain the reason behind the noise. If, after several written warnings, the resident still continues to disturb the peace, you can proceed with eviction or decide not to renew the lease.
In your leasing agreement, stress the importance of maintaining a peaceful environment, especially from 10:00PM onwards. Nighttime is generally a sacred time for residents to recover from daytime activities, meaning that a quiet atmosphere is a valuable one. You can also improve the property’s level of insulation by using carpets, sealing gaps and installing soundproof walls.
A resident complains about how hard it is to reach you for maintenance requests.
You are expected to be available during business hours. Your phone line should not be on voicemail status. If you receive an email, text message, or missed call, respond at an appropriate time. Return the call and leave a message.
Install software or use a system to which residents can report their maintenance issues. This way, everything is recorded in detail and time-stamped. Additionally, it’s also vital that you periodically check your emails and phone messages to ensure that you’re always updated.
Self-managing landlords may find it tough to deal with resident problems. The responsibilities of property maintenance, marketing, and rent collection, among other things, can take up a lot of time. However, from the perspective of the residents, getting back to them late will only fuel their frustration. So, if you find yourself overwhelmed, you can opt to hire a property manager.
Avoid sacrificing your customer service rating, as this can result in non-renewal of leases and frequent turnovers. Moreover, it’s better to spend extra on engaging in property management services rather than searching for new residents again. Keeping your residents happy should be your goal as a landlord, so strive to meet their expectations.
If you need experienced property management specialists for your rental properties in Chubbuck and Pocatello, Idaho, contact Five Star Property Management at (208) 234-4447. We understand the importance of building strong relationships with your residents, and we have the professional skills to deal with different types of renters.