One of the biggest concerns with rental properties are that of the landlord and tenant relationship, the communication that often gets lost.  As such today I decided to try and plan for success by considering 5 tips for tenant complaints.


1. Listen and take notes

Don’t assume that you know what your tenants are talking about when they tell you about a concern on your rental property.  Instead use your tenants as a source of information, ask about the problem in detail, when, where and what exactly happened.  This way you as a landlord can make the best educated choice of how to handle the problem.  Is it a problem that can wait or is it something that needs your immediate attention, like a broken geyser or pipe.

This way you also ensure that your tenants feels like they have been heard, that their concerns are listened too and will be dealt with in a timely manner.


2. The Timely Manner

Don’t be one of those DIY landlords that take forever to come fix maintenance problems, instead be the landlord your tenants say; “Wow, he was fast”. This will not only ensure that your tenants are happy with you, but it will also guarantee that your rental property stays in top notch condition, fundamentally increasing your capital growth.

Some issues can wait a couple of days, but broken locks, doors, geyser, pipes, stoves… these are the things that will need your attention immediately.  Your tenants are paying you good money to live in relative comfort and safety, it is your responsibility as the landlord to try and ensure that this is always the case.


3. Be Available

There are few things as frustrating as not being able to get in touch with your landlord, not surprising, this is one of the biggest tenant complaints.  Personally I feel this is unacceptable in today’s age.  We have phones, sms, whatsapp, email, facebook, twitter…… you have to ensure your tenants can get in touch with you via one of these desired communication tools.

Be sure that your tenants understand that there are normal business hours in which you will respond within 24 hours, and that there is an emergency number for emergencies only. Also make sure your tenants understand what the term ‘emergency’ will entitle and what can wait for normal business hours.


4. Show you care

You may be unlucky from  time to time by having a tenants that complains about every small problem, the key is that you need to ensure that your tenants believe they were heard and that you care, whether this is the case or not.  You want to end the conversation, making sure your tenants feel that you are on their side and not the evil greedy landlord.  This way you prevent hostility from creeping his head out.

Remember that you signed a lease agreement with your tenant, you should try and ensure that no hostility creeps up during this time. You can afterwards decide to not renew the lease, but until then keep the smiles up.


5. Be professional

Never ever loose your cool!

As a professional landlord you are responsible to always be in control of the conversation, never mind if your tenants are screaming or cursing.  Don’t make the silly mistake to put yourself in legal jeopardy by losing your temper.

Stay calm and collective at all times and rather talk with your tenants about their concerns; rather than simply dismissing them by being rude.  Losing your cool always has a way of biting you in the back side, be smart about it.


This may seem like a general list of good behavior, and fundamentally this is what it is.  These 5 tips for tenant complaints can be used and applied to any situation you may encounter with your tenants.  Every complaint I’m sure will be different, but keeping your cool, being attentive and available in a timely manner is key to preventing any hostility.

It must be said that these 5 tips does take time, effort and lots of patience to master, especially if you have a difficult tenant.  Property Management Companies, like Mafadi has mastered these skills and will be happy to handle these matters on behalf of you if you so choose.


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Landlord Interests

Legal Matters for Landlords


 Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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