As a fellow rental homeowner, I know what it feels like to answer the phone and hear a current tenant’s voice on the phone. “The dishwasher is leaking,” is what I heard a few weeks ago from my tenant. Naturally, it was a weekend, and I couldn’t get a repairman there until the following Tuesday. I apologized for the inconvenience, and let them know when it would be fixed. But I felt I should do something for the tenants, so I got them a gift card at a nearby specialty food market.
Just the other day, a homeowner called with a dilemma. His incoming tenant detected a foul odor coming from somewhere in the kitchen, and, despite having the cleaner go in twice to clean some more, the odor remained. “My tenant is not happy. What shall I do?” he asked me. I suggested that he call a local restaurant and have a gift card prepared for his tenants. A day or so later, a plumber solved the mystery smell (sour milk beneath the refrigerator), and a potentially unhappy rental experience was averted.
The takeaway from this? We all know that unexpected things happen at a rental home. Appliances break, bugs appear, the turnover cleaners are late in arriving…you name it. But it’s not sufficient to just offer an apology. We need to go out of our way to fix the situation promptly, and if there’s a delay, we should compensate the tenant for their inconvenience. They need to know we really care about their having a good time while staying at our home.
I read the guest reviews as they come in, and there’s a predictable pattern: high praise if a homeowner reacts quickly to resolve a problem or at least compensates the tenant in some way. Conversely, complaints abound if the homeowner is somewhat apathetic to a problem or expects the guest to just “live with it.”
So the old adage “The customer is always right” applies here. Our tenants are our “customers,” in a sense, and it’s our job as homeowners to do all we can to make their stay comfortable and to address any issues quickly and responsibly. It will pay off in positive guest reviews and repeat tenants!
Do you have any suggestions for gifts or other compensation that other homeowners might offer their tenants in a time of need?
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