Common tenant complaints and how landlords should deal with them

If you’re an experienced landlord, you’ve probably got a list of pet peeves about tenants: paying rent late, drying washing indoors with windows closed or leaving mystery dents in your plasterwork. But tenants have complaints about landlords, too. 

As landlord you have to be careful that a few bad tenants don’t make you dismiss the whole bunch, giving subsequent tenants a tougher time as a result. Being respectful, reasonable and upholding your obligations can help to improve relations. It may even make tenants treat your property with more care. 

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Let’s look at the top five tenant complaints and how they can be prevented. 

  1. Faulty boilers
    Around one in three tenants report that they have been left without heating or hot water due to a faulty boiler. Going without a boiler for even a few days can be a miserable experience, coping with cold and braving icy showers. 

    It’s probably a better option to invest in a higher quality boiler, and replace old ones when they start to go wrong regularly. A prompt response to tenant complaints will also help to maintain good relations. 
  2. Leaks
    Nobody wants to live with buckets dotted around their home to catch drips. What is more, leaky roofs can cause considerable damage to plasterwork, timbers and other materials if allowed to continue. 

    Good maintenance of your property will help prevent leaks, for example checking for missing tiles after high winds. If the roof does begin to leak, make sure you respond promptly and that the repair addresses the issue properly. 
  3. Damp, mould and condensation
    Dampness issues have kept many a lawyer in business as landlords and tenants argue whether problems are caused by tenant behaviour or the structure of the building. 

    Landlords can head off problems by keeping their property in good condition, addressing sources of penetrating damp and installing double glazing and trickle vents. A conversation with tenants, particularly young ones, about ventilation should help prevent issues with mildew and mould, keeping everyone happy.
  4. Lack of response
    Tenants report considerable frustration at being unable to get in contact with their landlord to discuss problems. When they do get a response, often landlords send low-quality tradesmen to rectify issues in the property, resulting in ineffective or short-term fixes. 

    Being reliable and responding to voicemails and emails is a good way for landlords to stay in their tenants’ good books. Remember, if tenants feel disrespected they are more likely to treat their rented property disrespectfully. Paying slightly more for a decent solution to a problem is also a sound investment in the long run. 
  5. Security and safety
    Security measures also feature highly in tenant complaints. Doors with faulty locks, dodgy front doors, broken smoke alarms and dangerous fire escapes are not only likely to make landlords less popular with tenants; they could end up in trouble with insurers or the police, too. 

    Many insurance policies set out minimum security requirements and if you are in breach, your insurer might refuse cover. Poor security will also put off some tenants from agreeing a tenancy with you. Landlords can face criminal proceedings if fire security systems are not up to scratch. 

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Published: 7th August 2017
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