How Should a Buy-To-Let Landlord Respond to Criticism Online?

Keep Your Tenants Onside When They Are Unhappy

The digital world we live in has given everyone a platform to share their experience and opinions – this includes your tenants.

According to Dimensional Research, 90% of consumers say that positive online reviews impact their buying decisions. 86% also claimed that negative online reviews influenced their buying decisions.

Consequently, it is very likely that potential tenants will examine reviews online before they commit to signing a tenancy agreement. Therefore, for your buy-to-let businesses to see continued success, it is vital for you to maintain a positive online reputation.

Finding Negative Feedback Online

Having an action plan for when you receive feedback is essential. However, first, you need to be sure that you are alerted to any negative feedback online. You need to figure out where online your tenants are going to leave feedback. For example, if you let properties to students, you should expect to find reviews on social media.

Sites you can check for landlord reviews include:

  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • org.uk
  • Marks out of Tenancy
  • Rental Raters

If you hold your property portfolio as a limited company, you could set up Google Alerts. This will notify you whenever you are mentioned in an article or post that is listed on a Google search result.

Keep It Professional

Once you’ve found any negative feedback about your property or service as a landlord, respond to it quickly. However, this does not mean write out the first response that springs to mind. You might find that the review is unpleasant to read and sparks an emotional response. It is essential you keep your cool and respond in a professional way. You must consider the complaint, if it has any validity, and respond calmly.

Many tenants won’t be immediately put off by one bad review, and writing a professional response can go in your favour. It shows you address any issues that arise, and that you take your landlord obligations seriously.

A professional response also shows potential tenants the tone they can expect from you if you were to become their landlord.

Consider Keeping Your Response Private

If the review is on a site such as Google or Facebook where the user needs an account to leave a comment, you can consider sending them a private response.

You can write a comment such as “Hi xxx, I’m sorry to hear that you have had an xxxx problem. This is very unusual. I have sent you a private message and would like to discuss it with you so that we may rectify any issue you have had. [Your name]”.

This shows that you have dealt with the issue, but this way you don’t have to have a public debate.

Own up to Your Mistakes

If the negative review is justified, don’t try to excuse the issue. Instead, admit where you went wrong. Everyone is human, and we all make mistakes.

Explain that this was not a normal situation, and never make the complaint seem invalid or wrong. This will escalate the situation. Owning up to your mistakes will give a good impression to future tenants and show that you will admit to any issues that arise and not ignore them.

Empathise with Your Tenant’s Situation

If the incident was deliberate (for example, eviction), when you formulate your response, express your sincere sympathies. Be polite and explain the issue to them. Don’t accuse them of doing anything specifically wrong. For example, rather than say, “Due to unpaid rent you were evicted”, you can say something such as, “Unfortunately, as the tenancy agreement was broken, this led to an eviction.”

Summary

Unfortunately, you can’t keep everyone happy. Even the best buy-to-let landlords will get bad reviews sometimes. It is essential that should you get a negative landlord review, you address the situation quickly and try to keep tenants onside by delivering a professional and empathetic response.

Always show that you are responsive to feedback and that you act when it is necessary. Do these few simple things and you may even find that those occasional negative reviews turn to positive.

To find out why we are one of the fastest-growing investment property management companies in the UK, and why our reviews have put us in the premier league of agents rated on allAgents, contact Ezytrac today +44 0 1522 503 717.

Live with passion

Brett Alegre-Wood

By |2019-07-22T09:20:34+01:00July 29th, 2019|Landlord lessons, Property Management|0 Comments

About the Author:

Brett has over 20 years experience in all facets of property, he owns various companies centred around property and is the driving force behind the education and training at Ezytrac. His companies have sold over £850 million in UK and London property and he manages over 1200 properties through his estate agency chain. Today he shares his time between UK, Australia and Singapore. He is married to Arlene and together they have 4 kids. Brett holds both the Level 3 Property Mark Qualifications for Property Sales and Property Lettings and Management.