tenant that is unhappy

When you have been a landlord long enough, you are going to learn that dealing with a tenant that is unhappy is no fun.

No matter what you do, you can’t seem to make this tenant happy.  If this tenant lives in a house, your neighbors may know how unhappy she is but the rest of your tenants won’t know.


But, if she lives in an apartment building that you own, heaven help you!  She is likely going to tell all of your other tenants how unhappy she is and will generally drive them crazy!  Or incite them to riot!

You can probably tell that I am dealing with a tenant that is unhappy right now.  Sigh.


When you have been a landlord long enough, you are going to learn that dealing with a tenant that is unhappy is no fun. Click To Tweet

Here’s The Situation

In this particular case, she was happy living in one particular building.  She decided to move in with her boyfriend and literally 4 days after moving, called and wanted her old apartment back. Unfortunately for her, she was a great tenant who left her unit immaculate. 


There was such interest in this complex that maintenance started showing it before it was even painted and rented it! Yes, her old apartment was already rented 4 days after she moved.


Vacant Apartment

At any rate, I had one other vacant and it just so happened that 3 older, single, retired men lived in the other three apartments in the four plex.  I was worried that she wouldn’t be happy there.  She is young and has two small children. 


She assured me she was fine with it and actually like the new apartment because it had different color carpet from the last unit.  It was also brand new which excited her. 


I was very excited because honestly, no one wanted this unit because it had teal color carpet and we were planning to rip it out even though it was brand new!  


Neutral Color Floor Coverings

There is another entire blog post on only using neutral color floor coverings that we will save for later.  The teal carpet was bought it bulk at a greatly discounted price and I didn’t find out about it until it was installed!


Tenant That Is Unhappy

At any rate, the trouble started almost as soon as she moved in and I soon found myself dealing with a tenant that is unhappy about every single thing! 

  • The “old guys” like to sit on the front porch and talk about old times. 
  • Of course, the just loved to talk to her and her two kids which just annoyed her to death!  
  • They all smoke and the building “smelled like a bar”. 
  • They had grand kids coming and going at “all hours of the night” and were too noisy.  This problem I was able to resolve without too much trouble but the other issues, there was nothing I could do about.


She had also complained about the front door being propped open with towels, chairs, etc. so we installed a temporary security camera. One of the rules of the building is that the front door is to remain closed at all times for safety reasons.  Maintenance actually installed a self -locking door.

Guess who we found out was propping the door open?  Her older son!


The Tables Were Turned


The final straw came when the other tenants complained about her! 


One of the other tenants in the also caught her son propping the door open one day and videoed it on his phone.  Since she had been complaining non-stop about the door being left open, they were mad since “the old men” were getting blamed.  


They also, by the way, objected to being referred to as “the old men”.  Yes, she did.


Complaints About Her

This opened up a flood of complaints about her.

  • Her boyfriend pounding up and down the steps numerous times each and every night after midnight. 
  • Driving her car up over the curb, across the grass to back up to the front apartment steps to unload her groceries.  The tenants had pictures.
  • Parking so close to the building that she had run into it more than once. There were dents in her front and rear bumpers.
  • Her children “running wild” and being too noisy.
  • The music in her apartment is so loud tenants from other buildings complained.

These complaints were just the tip of the ice berg and there were more that continued to trickle into the office.  Of course, when I called her to talk to her about the complaints, she was livid.  She accused me of picking on her and said no one liked her. 


Just Listen

I don’t argue with tenants so I just listened to her. When she was done ranting, I explained that just as she was allowed to complain about other tenants, they were allowed to complain about her. Then I explained that it was my job to pass along all complaints and try to resolve them peacefully.  She hung up on me.


Later in the day, I got a text from her on my Google Text account.  She ended up apologizing, stating that she had a bad morning.  She said she was very unhappy there and was going to move.  I simply said I was sorry to hear she was so unhappy and was sorry to see her move. 


Unhappy tenants and what to do about them. Click To Tweet


Thank You!!

Then I stood up at my desk, pumped both fist in the air and said “Thank You!”  Dealing with a tenant that is unhappy can just ruin your entire day if you left it. In this case, she was a bad fit for that building but my hands were tied. She was told about the tenants that lived there before I allowed her to move in.  She knew they were older, retired, chatty and didn’t have kids.


About 10 minutes after her apology text, I got a landlord verification from a local apartment complex regarding her. I happily filled it out and got it right back.  She had lived there for more than four years and until the last year, had been a happy tenant.  In the end, I found it hard to be mad at her.


In The End

The “old guys” are a law unto themselves.  I have had to have several interesting conversations with them over the years. But, they are basically good guys, they pay their rent on time and rarely complain. 


Although, the maintenance staff does say that sometimes when one of them calls in a maintenance request, he thinks the tenant is just lonely.  What do you do?


At the end of the day, when dealing with a tenant that is unhappy, take a deep breath and just listen. She can be very aggravating but sometimes she may have a valid point.