How should a landlord handle tenant complaints?


Quick Answer

Tenant complaints are handled differently based on the landlord-tenant rights of a given location but, generally, a rental agreement will outline protocol for how a landlord will handle tenant complaints. Common complaints include maintenance issues, unit cleanliness, pest control, noise and more.

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Full Answer

In general, landlords need to be aware of the legal responsibilities that must be upheld, and they should respond to tenant complaints in a timely manner to avoid unwanted conflict, potential lawsuits and termination of a rental agreement on the tenant's behalf. For example, In the state of Montana, upon a tenant's complaint of maintenance issues, the landlord must respond within 3 to 14 days depending on the gravity of the repairs at hand, according to the Montana Department of Justice. To ensure compliance with the landlord-tenant agreement laws, the landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours notice before entering the apartment, unless the situation is an emergency: this is true for most states, as stated by the online legal resource, Find Law. An arrangement to enter the apartment should be scheduled by the landlord in the case of repairs, inspections and other various reasons for entry.

Tenant complaints should be taken seriously and dealt with as soon as possible. In some states, tenants are legally allowed to withhold rent or terminate a rental agreement if complaints regarding repairs are not met, asserted by Find Law. Also, in many states the tenant has the right to complain about their safety in the unit. Regulations exist for a landlord to provide a safe living environment, which requires the landlord to provide locks and smoke detectors, ensure the building is wired to code and more, as noted by Find Law and the Tenants Union. Failure to respond to safety issues can also lead to lawsuits and rental termination on the tenant's behalf.

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