Top Tenant Complaints and How to Solve Them
Renting out your home can be lucrative. A successful landlord not only sees the financial gains and tax deductions, but they can also see an appreciation of their rental investment.
But being a landlord isn’t without its challenges. Chief among these being tenant complaints - an unavoidable part of being a landlord. Yet, if not approached well, tenant complaints can derail your investment significantly.
On the other hand, managing complaints well is proven to help with tenant retention and mitigate tenant damage to your property.
So, what are the top tenant complaints and how exactly do you solve them?
Well, McKenna & Vane Property Management have put together this guide to help any landlord successfully manage the most common types of complaints.
Resolve Any Maintenance Issues
Maintenance problems are undoubtedly the #1 cause of tenant complaints.
These complaints can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from beeping smoke alarms to malfunctioning appliances. But how well you can address these issues makes all the difference.
Once your tenant notifies you of a maintenance issue, it’s in your best interest to act as quickly as you can. In fact, in the state of Maryland, the most time you can take to complete repairs is 30 days.
Failure to act promptly can have a myriad of potential legal repercussions. For one, your Maryland tenant could choose to withhold rent until you fix the conditions impacting their life, health, or safety.
If the situation is grave enough your tenant could also terminate their lease as per Maryland Code, Real Property, §8-211.
Even though performing maintenance when notified is critical, make sure to notify your tenants when you will be entering the property and if you plan on bringing any contractors with you.
Although no statewide legislation exists on landlord entry, it’s typical for landlords to provide their tenants a notice of at least 24 hours prior to the intended entry. The only exception to doing this is in case of an emergency.
Cover Pet Complaints
America is a nation of pet lovers. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), over 70% of U.S. households, or about 90.5 million families own a pet. So, complaints because of pet behavior are common.
Generally, most complaints around pets are the result of a dog’s barking, an animal’s aggression, or feces.
If the complaint is due to constant barking from a dog, then handle it as a noise complaint. Let the tenant first try to handle the issue on their own, and only intervene when they have failed.
In such a case, talk to the owner of the dog and let them know that their dog is infringing on their neighbor’s rights.
If the complaint is due to an aggressive animal, then try to deal with the issue as promptly as you can. After all, as a landlord, you have a responsibility to provide reasonable safety standards to your tenant.
As for feces, let the tenant know about the issue. If it comes up again, inform them that they are violating your pet policy and can be evicted.
If any of these issues persist, then send the pet owner an eviction notice. Sometimes, it may be better to lose one difficult tenant than to risk losing several good ones.
But if the person causing the violation isn’t your tenant, then you can consider getting local authorities involved.
Clear Up Noise Complaints
Your tenant has a right to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their rented premises. This is a fundamental right anchored in law as the “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment.” So, any noise complaints are violations of this law.
So, what steps should you take when a tenant comes to you with a noise complaint?
The first thing you’d want to do is request your tenant to talk with the neighbor causing the infringement. Usually, this should be enough to solve the issue and keep your tenant happy.
But if it doesn’t, then you’ll need to intervene on their behalf. How you resolve it will be dependent on whether the person causing the violation is also a tenant or not. If they are, then inform them of the lease violation and proceed to eviction if they don’t change.
If the party causing the violation is not your tenant, then consider involving local authorities.
As a landlord, you have a responsibility to ensure your tenant lives in a habitable rental property. Among the requirements for a habitable rental property is ensuring your tenants live in a pest-free space.
Similar to the other complaints detailed in this article, if this complaint isn't handled effectively the tenant could break their lease.
So, who is responsible for resolving a pest infestation?
The responsibility for removal depends on the cause of the problem. If your tenant has caused it, then they become responsible for pest control. Otherwise, the responsibility for pest control becomes yours.
In such a case, a landlord must remove the pests in a swift and effective manner.
Tenant complaints are an unavoidable part of being a landlord. But how you solve can make all the difference.
Remember, you have a duty to ensure your tenant lives in peace and quiet enjoyment. As such, make sure to handle all complaints passed your way as efficiently and as promptly as possible.
Many landlords however find managing a tenant’s expectations and complaints to be a challenge. In such a case, they will often look to a quality property management company to handle their tenant complaints.
McKenna & Vane Property Management are here to help you with just that. Our services include handling tenant complaints and managing maintenance so if you have any questions, please contact us today!