Common Tenant Complaints and How to Address Them in Jackson, MS

To be an effective landlord and real estate investor, you need to provide an excellent rental experience to your tenants. Those tenants are your customers. They’re paying you rent, and you’re dependent on that rent to keep your property profitable. 

You could be the most attentive landlord in Jackson, MS, and you’ll still come across tenants who have complaints or conflicts. Regardless of how well you maintain your rental properties, it is common to get complaints from your tenants every now and then. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially if they are bringing conditions and situations to your attention that you need to know. 

We’re taking a look at some of the common tenant complaints and how you can address them as an effective and responsive landlord.

Communication Difficulties and Lack of Listening

Tenants want to be heard. When they come to you with a complaint, maybe it’s a problem that you can’t solve. You still need to listen to them. You want to be empathetic and compassionate. 

Listening has to be the first part of your communication strategy. The second part of your communication strategy has to be responsiveness. When communication is difficult, and tenants don’t feel like they have your attention, that relationship will suffer. 

Accessibility and availability are important. When your tenant has a difficult time reaching you, they’re going to get frustrated quickly, especially if there’s a pressing issue or an emergency. You need to be reachable at any time. This is one of the less pleasant parts of being a landlord; things can happen at your property in the middle of the night or over the long weekend you’re trying to enjoy. You still need to respond.

Lack of communication and responsiveness is a common tenant complaint and one that’s easily avoided. Ignoring problems and tenant complaints is bad for business, and it’s bad for your property. Even if the tenant is calling about a minor issue, a response is still needed. Return phone calls. Respond to emails.

Communication is key when it comes to building strong relationships with your residents. When they complain that communication is lacking or non-existent, you have a big problem. 

Make an effort to stay in touch, and invest in ensuring your residents feel heard and respected. Having open conversations early about expectations, needs, and concerns can also help prevent potential conflicts and complaints from arising later. Active communication can also create a sense of trust between landlords and tenants, which ultimately contributes to a better rental experience for everyone.

If you have a difficult time being available to respond to complaints in a timely manner, then hire a Jackson property manager. You’ll find you have fewer complaints about communication, especially if it’s a property manager who prioritizes relationships

 

Slow or Ignored Maintenance and Repairs 

Another major complaint that we know tenants frequently have about their landlords is that maintenance is not being handled in a way that’s responsive and necessary. When tenants feel that their maintenance needs are not being met, they’re going to complain. A lot. 

You can’t really blame them; no one wants to live in a home where an appliance is perpetually broken or a toilet is leaking or the windows don’t open. 

Try to identify the source of the real problem. Is there an issue with the way you accept and respond to maintenance requests? Are you unable to get vendors out to your property quickly? 

It’s best to have a written record of the maintenance problem and how it was resolved. 

Maintenance requests, remember, are not complaints. You should expect your tenants to report maintenance problems while you’re renting out a home. Even a new property that’s in excellent condition will occasionally have something go wrong. When repairs requests are ignored, tenants are likely to complain.

It’s not uncommon to get complaints about maintenance from tenants. You want to prevent these types of conflicts whenever you can, however. A well-maintained home is good for you as well as your tenants. Implement a plan to address emergency repairs, routine issues, and preventative maintenance. 

 

Noise and Neighbor Complaints

A strong lease agreement will have a policy around quiet hours and noise. Prepare to enforce your noise policy, because tenants will be quick to complain when their next door neighbor is holding a loud party late into the night or the upstairs neighbor is playing music so loud that the walls are shaking. 

Always listen to your tenant’s complaint, and if the complaint is found to be valid, enforce the noise policies as outlined in your lease agreement. 

This will only work, of course, if the problematic tenants are your tenants, too. 

Tenant disputes can also erupt around pets and parking. If one neighbor isn’t picking up after their dog, for example, you can expect to get complaints from other tenants. If assigned parking is not being respected, you’ll have tenants complaining about people parking in their spot. 

You may want to stay out of the complaints that tenants have among themselves as much as possible, but in some cases, you will have no choice but to get involved. Be a voice of reason and calm, and make sure you’re hearing all sides and offering reasonable solutions.

 

Pests and Infestations 

Bugs are gross, and unless you want them to take over your property, make sure you’re keeping up with regular pest control treatments. 

Your tenant may complain about an infestation if they see evidence of bedbugs, rodents, cockroaches, ants, or other pests. This is never good for you, and it’s never good for your property. There may be instances when infestations become so bad that they’re a health and habitability issue. Check out the problem and respond to these complaints quickly. Set up a recurring pest control service to treat your rental properties. This will reduce both complaints and problems. 

If the problem is due to tenants not keeping the property clean, you might need to have a conversation about following the lease agreement. Avoid accusing your resident of keeping the property dirty, but remind them of their responsibilities in the lease and your expectations. 

 

Security Deposit Complaints and Disputes 

Some of the most volatile arguments between landlords and tenants occur around the security deposit. You’ll find that your residents will immediately complain that you withheld more of their deposit than you should have, especially if they were expecting to get the whole deposit back. 

Decide how you’re going to approach this complaint. It’s a tenant who has already left, but you don’t want to risk any damage to your reputation. Working against this complaint will require some excellent documentation. You’ll also want to tread carefully; if a tenant takes you to court with a security deposit dispute, you could find yourself paying large punitive damages if they win. And, you’ll lose their deposit entirely. 

Get ahead of this problem by working together during the move-out. Provide your tenant with a move-out checklist, including the criteria in your move-out inspection report and the condition you expect to find your property after they vacate.  After they move out, return their deposit with an explanation of charges to their forwarding address. When you’re making deductions, you’ll want to explain what was deducted and why. Include supporting documentation such as invoices, receipts, and bills. 

The more specific you are, the less likely they will be able to dispute the security deposit charges.  

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What You Can Do to Avoid Complaints from Jackson Tenants 

We’ve been talking about how to manage complaints when you receive them, but an even better strategy is to avoid them altogether. Here are some great ways to prevent complaints from tenants.

  • Be responsive. Address any issues or problems as soon as they are received. If you take too long to respond, your tenants will surely begin feeling neglected or ignored, which can lead to further complaints later. When tenants reach out to you, make your response a priority. Your tenants want to know that their concerns are taken seriously and will be addressed in a timely manner.
  • Make maintenance a priority. Another great way to avoid tenant complaints is by being proactive about maintenance and repairs. Put a preventative schedule into place so there’s less of a risk that you run into deferred or unreported repair issues. Don’t wait until something breaks down before you address it. Instead, make sure there’s a schedule in place that allows for routine inspections, regular air filter changes, and ongoing inspections and service calls for things such as your HVAC system, plumbing, and roof.
  • Communicate. Communication and the sharing of expectations is key when it comes to avoiding tenant complaints. Establishing clear lines of communication with your tenants will ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations and responsibilities.

Addressing tenant complaints promptly and appropriately is crucial in maintaining good landlord-tenant relationships. You can take the lead to prevent common complaints and establish a pleasant rental experience for everyone. 

Avoid tenant complaints and be responsive when they do come in. If you’d like some help managing your tenants and their complaints, we might be the Jackson property management team you’re looking for. Please contact us at Lucroy Residential. 

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