One thing is for certain as a landlord –– you expect the unexpected. Whether that’s an urgent repair request, a tenant complaint, or resolving an interpersonal conflict between tenants and neighbors, landlords juggle a lot. Sometimes it feels as though the landlord’s job title translates to handyman, businessperson, cleaning crew, salesperson, and crisis negotiator wrapped up in one. As busy and frustrating as it can be at times, we have a few tips on how to handle tenant issues the right way to make your life easier.
Be Calm and Professional
It’s easy and understandable to feel frustrated while dealing with a tenant’s complaint, but above all, you must remember that you are a business owner. No matter what your tenant is complaining about, you must maintain your composure.
Regardless of the type of complaint your tenants bring to you, you need to actually listen closely. Please do not assume they’re overreacting. By remaining calm, the tenant will feel you’re hearing what they’re saying and is more likely to stay calm.
Whatever the nature of the complaint, you need to get it in writing. So, if the tenant calls you or tells you verbally, that conversation will need to be transcribed. You have two options here: you can either take notes and send it in an email to confirm understanding or repeat what the tenant has expressed aloud –– so they feel heard –– and then ask them to submit their complaint according to your established process.
Whichever option you choose, you should be sure to restate what the tenant says, so they know you’ve understood, can clarify if there are any misunderstandings, and allow them to feel genuinely heard. A hidden benefit of restating a complaint is that it also gives the tenant a moment to process if it’s a necessary grievance to air.
Keeping a paper trail of complaints, like anything in business, is essential. You want to be sure you document the complaint’s date, the nature of the issue, your response, and how you plan to address it using one of our Tenant Rental Notice Letters. That way, you are protected from future claims to the contrary were a tenant to take you to court.
The most important duty of a landlord is clear communication in a timely fashion. When your tenant brings a problem to your attention, you must reply promptly and give a time frame in which you’ll handle the issue.
It’s important to note that you’ll save yourself, and your tenants, a lot of headaches and back-and-forth if you’ve already clearly established a way to raise a maintenance request. Your tenants should know when and how you’ll be available to alert you of a maintenance issue, and the appropriate hours and modes of contact; all of this should be in your lease. It should also spell out what is considered an emergency maintenance issue and how to contact you in the event of one.
While tenant and property issues can seem overwhelming, they don’t have to be. As a landlord, you’re not alone. ezLandlordForms has a wealth of resources available to help you run your business more smoothly.