How to handle tenant complaints

One of the unavoidable parts of being a landlord is getting complaints from tenants. It’s going to happen. It may or may not be justified, but it will happen. It might be an issue with noisy neighbours, or something to do with maintenance or pests. We explore how best to handle the complaints when they arise.

Do not forget your position as landlord, which demands that you should maintain professionalism at all times. That includes occasions when you feel criticised without justification. Your manner should be calm and understanding, and think carefully before you respond.

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Listen and hear

Take your time and listen carefully to all elements of the complaint. Show some empathy, even if you do not agree entirely. Being able to demonstrate that you are listening will help to calm your tenant and might diffuse the situation before it becomes a real issue.

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Tenants should feel confident that if they do have an issue, their landlord will be available to help solve the problem. That’s not to say that you have to be by your phone day and night, but you should consider using a management company who could offer round the clock support if required. Otherwise, keep regular hours when a tenant is able to get in touch. Having an emergency plan in place helps to reassure and can prevent a panic.

When you do have a complaint, be sure to respond as soon as possible. That doesn’t mean you need to have all the answers straight away, but it is reasonable for a tenant to expect an acknowledgement, and then a timely response with the solution can follow.

Property inventory software can be a great asset to you as a landlord, and companies like Inventory Base offer programmes to help. Being able to keep track of what is available to tenants, and maintenance records of appliances, can help reduce the risk of complaints.

Above all, you must ensure you stay on the right side of the law. Keep emotion out of your interaction as far as possible and remain objective. For more information about your rights and obligations as a landlord, see the guidance from Which.

Seeing your role as a business owner, and tenants as your customer, will help frame your perspective and help prepare for handling complaints.