When you’re a landlord, complaints from tenants are a fact of life, so here are 10 ways to combat common tenant complaints.
By Jen Baker
Being a landlord is hard work, especially if you want to be a great one who keeps your tenants happy and your units occupied. The best landlords are masters of business and people skills, able to manage their books and their properties while also handling tenant issues and managing employees. But even they get complaints from their tenants from time to time. Here are some ways to manage the most common tenant complaints.
Common Tenant Complaint #1: Insufficient Natural Light
As people continue to spend more time in their homes due to remote working during the pandemic, natural light can have a considerable influence on how a tenant feels in a space. Adding windows is a costly renovation, but you can make a rental that’s low on natural light look more inviting with a few simple changes:
- Furnish the apartment with lamps where overhead lighting isn’t sufficient, especially in corners.
- Repaint using light glossy paint to reflect light around the room.
Complaint #2: Bugs
Wherever people gather, there are bound to also be ants, spiders, and other unwanted pests. As a landlord, you should do your part in the fight against bugs with a pest control routine to keep them from entering the rental.
However, pests can often invade a rental if the tenant doesn’t keep it clean enough. In that case, you can suggest the following solutions or do the treatments yourself:
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) near baseboards and window sills to kill bed bugs. If the rental is furnished, consider sprinkling it in drawers as well.
- Spray peppermint oil, water, and witch hazel near doors and windows.
- Spray a solution of water and dish soap on cockroaches.
Complaint #3: Temperature Issues
Whether your unit is old or new, drafts have a way of making their presence known. Unfortunately, in extreme climates, drafts have the potential to make your tenant uncomfortable.
If the temperature issues are extreme, it may be time to explore some renovations to upgrade windows or add more insulation, but in most cases, a few simple DIY solutions can help:
- Place a door snake on the bottom of the door or window to prevent drafts from sneaking in.
- Add weatherstripping to doors and windows.
- Replace door sweeps.
Complaint #4: Lack of Sufficient Storage
Whether your rental is furnished or not, your tenant may complain about not having enough space for all their belongings. In that case, consider the following options:
- Hang floating shelves on the wall to free up floor space, which will make the room feel less cluttered.
- Provide furniture that does double-duty: storage ottomans or bookcase headboards can make a difference!
- Decorate with storage baskets that fit under beds, benches, or tables to tuck things out of sight in unused space.
Complaint #5: Tight Spaces
Unfortunately, you can’t manufacture space where there isn’t any. You can, however, make sure your rental is painted in light and cohesive colors to make the rental feel bigger.
If the rental is furnished, hang mirrors on the wall and invest in dual-purpose decor.
Complaint #6: Unpleasant Odors
Some odors can’t be helped, like when a neighbor decides to cook spicy food. But if your tenant is complaining of a musty or stale smell in their rental, there are a few deodorant tricks to try:
- Clean the washing machine with white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oil. Run it on the hottest cycle.
- Deodorize the fridge with essential oils and a box of baking soda.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let it sit, and vacuum after an hour.
Complaint #7: Privacy Concerns
Everyone wants to feel safe in their home, so it’s understandable why some common tenant complaints are about privacy. To help your tenant feel safer, it’s best to invest in the following:
- Privacy screens in a studio apartment
- Window shades or blinds to keep people from looking in
- New locks for every new tenant
Complaint #8: Unsightly Fluorescent Lighting
Tenants want their homes to be cozy, but fluorescent lighting often screams industrial or commercial spaces. Replace fluorescent fixtures with traditional ones and put in warm LED light bulbs. For lights with shades, don’t replace the entire fixture; instead, swap out the shade for a more modern look.
Complaint #9: Noisy Neighbors
Some problems are beyond your control, like a neighbor who has people over and cheers a little too enthusiastically during the big game. If it’s in the afternoon, there’s no recourse other than politely asking the sports fan to tone it down a little bit.
But an excellent landlord can also suggest a few DIY solutions for their tenants:
- Move big items of furniture like bookcases against a shared wall.
- Hang fabric panels on the wall.
As the landlord, you can also make sure all cracks in drywall are sealed to minimize sound.
Complaint #10: Outdated Finishes
Long-term tenants may complain that their rental is starting to look a little outdated. While a full-scale renovation may be out of the budget, there are a few relatively low-cost changes you can make:
- Replace old hardware on bathroom and kitchen cabinets with updated models.
- Repaint the walls or cabinets.
When you’re a landlord, complaints from tenants are a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Stay calm, communicate, and be proactive, and your tenants will stick around for the long haul.
About the author:
After teaching English for 13 years, Jen Baker pivoted to content marketing as a way to indulge her passion for writing. She enjoys developing content for her clients and learning everything she can about real estate. When not writing, she’s hard at work on her novel or avoiding the real world with an epic fantasy novel.