Investing in rental property is lauded by many as one of the best financial decisions one can make. Being a landlord or a property investor promises to provide passive income on a long-term basis. Yet, there are some challenges involved with being a landlord that many people may not fully appreciate.
One of the most challenging parts about being a landlord is learning how to handle tenant complaints. Though it may not be ideal, it is sometimes necessary for a landlord to step in and find ways of resolving a complaint made by their tenants in hopes of finding an amicable solution and restoring harmony on the premises.
By learning how to handle these complaints, landlords can retain their tenants and thus safeguard their investment. In most cases, tenant complaints revolve around property maintenance, noise complaints, pest infestations and pets. Let’s take a closer look at each of these complaints and how landlords can resolve them effectively.
Complaints Regarding Property Maintenance
As a landlord, you first need to understand that property maintenance is solely your responsibility. Though a tenant might live on the property, you still retain ownership and have an obligation to provide a safe and habitable environment. You should therefore not place your tenants in a position where they feel like their concerns are not being heard.
Once you receive a complaint regarding property maintenance, it is advisable to physically examine the issue. Tenants may not always be able to describe the full extent of the damage or identify the root cause.
However, by seeing it for yourself, you can gain a clear perspective on the degree of the damage and what needs to be done to resolve it.
When you carry out the repairs, it is best to keep the tenant in the loop so they are aware that the issue is being resolved. It is also good practice to keep a detailed record of when the complaint was made, the extent of the damage and the measures that were taken to resolve the issue. These records can be used as a reference in case a similar problem arises in the future.
Handling Noise Complaints from Your Tenants
Noise complaints are a common issue that landlords face, especially in multi-family properties. Tenants can sometimes be oblivious to the disturbance they might be causing as they go about their day. This might interfere with the other tenants’ quiet enjoyment thus putting you at risk of losing good tenants.
The best way to handle a noise complaint from your tenants is by encouraging conversation to find an amicable solution. If this approach doesn’t work, you might need to personally intervene. If your lease agreement contains a section governing noise, you can refer the tenant to that specific clause while discussing the issue.
There are some instances where the source of the noise isn’t from any of your tenants, but from the neighboring property.
Such a situation is slightly more complicated to handle. One of the options for resolving this is approaching the neighboring property’s landlord to issue the complaint. Alternatively, you can invoke the city’s by-laws to swiftly resolve the issue.
The best way to avoid noise complaints from your tenants is by soundproofing the property. Some of the measures you can take include using carpets, sealing gaps or thickening the walls. These steps will help to reduce external noise and keep your tenants happy.
Complaints Regarding the Neighbors’ Pets
Pets are another common source of complaints. A number of these complaints are attributed to dogs due to barking, property damage and aggressive behavior. Pets can sometimes also leave behind waste or trails of scent.
Property damage can affect not only the value of your property but its attractiveness to current and future tenants. As a landlord, pet-proofing your property will help minimize the extent of property damage caused by pets.
When it comes to barking and howling, the best approach would be treating it as a noise complaint. You should first attempt to reach an amicable solution with the tenant. However, if the barking persists, you may need to issue a written warning. To avoid losing the other tenants, you may ultimately need to consider eviction or to refrain from renewing the lease.
As for handling aggressive pets, you need to ensure that the pet owner takes responsibility and corrects the behavior. Injuries or personal property damage caused by pets is simply inexcusable. Such aggressive behavior can threaten the safety of your tenants and may potentially result in legal liability.
It is also important to remind pet-owning tenants of their obligations towards their pets. This includes training them, exercising them regularly and cleaning after them.
Proper care of their pets ensure that owning a pet does not interfere with other tenants in the property and does not cause any unnecessary damage to the property.
Handling Pest Infestations
In the event of a pest infestation, you need to take immediate action to avoid losing tenants. Pests such as cockroaches, bedbugs and rodents can negatively impact your property’s habitability and cause it to lose value. Swift counter measures are therefore necessary to contain the situation.
As a landlord, it is good practice to have the contact information of a reliable exterminator in the area. If you receive a pest complaint from your tenants, you should promptly reach out to the exterminator and schedule a visit. If you wait too long, the infestation might worsen and the pests might spread into other units on the property.
You may also need to consider implementing preventive measures if the units are close together. Preventative measures are implemented by professionals as a precaution to avoid the pests from spreading to other units while the unit in question is being exterminated.
While handling tenant complaints, you need to consider the importance of communication. In most cases, tenants make a complaint when the issue is beyond their control. By simply being available and listening to their concerns, you can improve tenant retention.
It is also advisable to be proactive in finding ways to prevent complaints from the tenants or in ensuring that resolved issues don’t arise again. Keeping your tenants happy is vital in minimizing your tenant turnover rate. You should also maintain a detailed record of any communication and any action you have taken while resolving a complaint in case a dispute occurs.
At Realevate Specialists, we understand what it takes to successfully manage a rental property. Get in touch with us today for full-service property management in Temecula, CA!
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