A tenant who complains a great deal is unlikely to renew their lease. While some may believe finding new tenants is simple, it actually is a costly process. Retention of current tenants increases profitability, and the key to retention is resolving tenant complaints. Here are three simple steps to aid with complaint resolution:
Understand the complaint
Everyone has a communication style, and not all communication styles mesh well. When people with conflicting styles of communication speak, there is a high risk of miscommunication. It’s important to try to recognize that possibility when you receive a complaint.
Residential tenant complaints may fall into these categories:
- Money concerns: including raising rents, deposit complaints, lease terminations, and evictions. These are complaints that focus on the basics of the rental agreement, i.e. the money paid to secure housing.
- Living concerns: including health and safety issues, basic repairs, and pest control. These get at the livability of the apartment in general.
- Community concerns: including noise complaints, issues with “common-use” areas, and parking availability. These are issues that are not necessarily in the landlord’s control.
When you understand what kind of concern a tenant has, it’s easier to understand that complaint’s validity.
Validate the claim
Some complaints are valid and actionable, and some complaints are not. A complaint about pest control in an apartment is valid and property owners must act on that. The validity of a complaint about someone leaving communal washing machines open or closed is far less clear.
How valid or invalid a tenant’s complaint is will go a long way to resolving it. Although even invalid, unresolvable complaints may still require an empathetic ear. Empathy, to those with certain styles of communication, is as good as action.
Resolve the concern
When you understand the complaint and find it valid, the final step is simplest, but that is not to say it’s easy. Quick decisive action can build a more harmonious relationship with your tenants.