Tenant complaints and conflicts are one of the most difficult aspects of managing a rental property as a property owner, and it’s not always obvious how to cope with difficult tenants. The maintenance of a good landlord-tenant relationship — and the success of your rental property as a whole — depends upon knowing how to deal with tenant complaints.
Here are some of our top tips for handling tenant complaints:
Avoid disputes with a clear and concise lease agreement
Providing a written lease is a key provision of the Residential Tenancies Act of Ontario; and creating a lease agreement that’s clear and easy to read is one of the best ways to prevent tenant disputes.
The terms and conditions that renters must abide by, as well as any limitations or restrictions on their behaviour, should be specified in the lease agreement. You can lessen the possibility of disputes starting in the first place by clearly outlining your expectations up front.
Resolve tenant conflicts quickly with regular communication
Tenants may become irate and more likely to escalate the problem if they believe you are ignoring their concerns, increasing the risk of expensive issues like property damage.
In addition to being proactive in resolving any problems that may develop, you should be receptive to their complaints and concerns. Ongoing contact can be instrumental in avoiding conflict.
Take grievances seriously to improve landlord-tenant relations
It’s important to pay attention to a tenant’s worries and comprehend their perspective. Building trust and enhancing the landlord-tenant relationship can be as simple as expressing empathy and respecting their sentiments.
A bad landlord-tenant relationship can lead to increased tenant turnover. Take a tenant’s complaint seriously if they bring it to your attention. Even if you disagree with their viewpoint.
Look into tenant complaints carefully to make informed choices
After hearing a tenant’s complaint, it’s critical to fully investigate the matter. This might entail going to the property, speaking with other tenants, or, if necessary, seeking the advice of experts.
Having a thorough understanding of the situation will help you choose the best course of action.
Maintain truthful records to minimize or avoid legal issues
It’s crucial to maintain accurate records of all tenant complaints and communications, starting from the very beginning, with their answers to your tenant screening questions. You should also record steps taken to address any issues raised.
This can assist you in identifying any recurring problems and tracking patterns of behaviour. A transparent record of how you handled each situation can also serve to support you in future conflicts or defend you in the event of a legal challenge.
Seek mediation to ensure conflicts are resolved smoothly
If a disagreement arises, it’s important to take immediate action to settle the matter. Mediation is often the best strategy — it gives both parties a voice in the process of making choices and can preserve (or even strengthen) the landlord-tenant relationship.
A mediator or other impartial third person can assist in facilitating the discussion and working towards a solution that is agreeable to both sides. This can help to avoid legal action.
Professional counsel can be a must for difficult disputes
Legal professionals may be required if the dispute results in a violation of the lease agreement or if it becomes serious enough to warrant legal action. It can be difficult to evict a seasoned tenant, for example. A lawyer with knowledge of landlord-tenant law can offer important advice on how to go forward and safeguard your interests.
Handling tenant complaints and disputes requires patience, communication, and a willingness to listen to all parties involved. Following the advice given above will help you to deal with tenant complaints quickly, and maybe even keep conflicts from ever happening in the first place. Keeping good ties with your renters can help to guarantee the long-term profitability of your rental company, and is one of the many advantages of hiring a professional property management company.