25% of Tenants Have a Bad Landlord: 6 Tenant Turnover Causes

by Patrick Freeze  6/11/2024

Being a bad landlord is every landlord’s fear, and for some, it’s reality. According to an April 2024 LendingTree survey of over 2,000 respondents, 25% of people dislike their current landlord.

That’s right—1 in 4 tenants dislike their landlord. This might sound scary, but it’s fully avoidable. In their verdict, tenants cited 6 core reasons why they ended up disdaining their landlords. If you avoid these pitfalls, you can maintain tenant retention. Or, if you find yourself guilty of some of these offenses, you can course correct.

Let’s walk through the results of this survey to see how you can save yourself from tenant turnover and reputation damage.

Main Takeaways 

  • 1 in 4 tenants say they have bad landlords because of maintenance issues, communication issues, a lack of respect and professionalism, rent increases, unauthorized entry, and other privacy violations. Landlords must avoid these issues to maintain tenant retention.

Explaining Bad Landlord Complaints

As property management in Northern Virginia, we know why so many renters report having a bad landlord. Tenants cited the following grievances:

Maintenance Issues (The #1 Reason for Tenant Turnover!) 

Tenants’ biggest indicator of a bad landlord was, by far, maintenance issues. A whopping 68% of people surveyed listed it as a primary reason for dissatisfaction.

Luckily, this is one tenant turnover issue you can nip in the bud. You can create a concrete process for making repairs. This process could include a timeline of actionable steps you plan to take. This way, tenants know what to expect and know you plan to keep yourself accountable. Most importantly, you should be sure to keep your word. Empty promises are worse than no promises at all — they can harm your business reputation management.

One tip that makes it easier to follow through is keeping a list of maintenance providers handy. If you do that, you can get on the issue immediately. Or, you could forego the fuss of coordinating repairs and get a property manager to handle the process for you.

Communication Issues 

53% of tenants complained about communication issues with your tenant. Again, this is a tenant retention issue you can fix relatively easily.

As a landlord, you hold the keys to a tenant’s sense of security, both literally and figuratively. You have a lot of power, and with great power comes great responsibility. So, tenants won’t appreciate it if you fail to respond to calls, dodge questions, and are generally uncommunicative when tenants inevitably run into issues.

Remember, your responsibilities as a landlord don’t end when the lease is signed. As long as your tenant rents out your unit, you must ensure their home is habitable. This is essential for tenant retention. You can maintain your boundaries and keep tenants happy by setting up regular office hours. Furthermore, you can tell them they should only call you during those hours or in an emergency.

Lack of Respect or Professionalism

42% of tenants didn’t feel that their landlord treated them with respect or professionalism.

Poor professionalism takes many forms. It could start small. For example, a bad landlord could fail to greet tenants when they first move in. It could also be bigger in scale. They could neglect to follow Fair Housing Laws. In addition, it could span illegal discriminatory or harassing behavior, like sexual harassment. All these behaviors are demoralizing and unwelcoming for tenants.

So, you should always treat tenants equally and cordially to preserve tenant retention. For instance, you could greet new tenants with a gift basket and a guidebook. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to stay updated on the latest laws so that you’re compliant. 

Rent Increases 

38% of surveyed tenants noted dissatisfaction with rent increases. Needless to say, this is something you should keep in mind.

After all, while you have to make a living and put food on the table, your tenants do, too. So, you should set reasonable rental rates and security deposits that work for everyone. When planning, you should think about the current housing market, your property’s location and condition, and the broader economy. If you don’t, you might face elevated tenant turnover.

As an aside, it’s a good idea to make it easy and simple for your tenants to pay rent. Many tenants prefer it when they can pay online at the swipe of their fingers, rather than having to write and send a paper check.

By offering this electronic service, you eliminate the time and convenience barriers to paying on time. Even better, you could provide an auto-pay option that makes paying seamless.

Entering a Home Without Permission

Entering a home without permission sat at 31% for most disliked bad landlord actions.

Unsurprisingly, tenants’ entire days can be thrown upside down if you visit them unexpectedly. No matter how well you get along, having a surprise visitor is a big disruption. Because of that, you should let your tenants know well in advance that you plan to visit their home. With this, they can have their privacy and you can know you are completely welcome when you stop by their place. 

Other Privacy Violations

Finally, privacy violations got a score of 22%.

Tenants can pick up on any feelings of distrust that you might have. So, you should refrain from probing into their personal matters too deeply unless you are absolutely positive they’re lying to you.

After all, if your tenants feel you’re treating them like a criminal, it could be a huge blow to your professional relationship. Then, this can cause a greater rift to develop. In turn, it can bring on more tenant turnover. Tenants and landlords need each other to succeed, so they should work towards cooperative teamwork.

Escape Bad Landlord Accusations with BMG

Tenant retention is an art, and you can refine your skills by respecting tenant privacy, staying on top of maintenance, and other aspects of supporting their success.

However, no matter your good intentions, putting them into practice can be hard when you’re pulled in a thousand directions. As a landlord, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you give your tenants everything they want, you avoid the bad landlord label. Still, then, you lose so much time that other responsibilities fall by the wayside. In our modern day, it’s nearly impossible to have it all.

Part of being a good landlord is being able to step back and admit to yourself when you need help. And that’s what we are here to do. Our entire job is to handle the things that would take you hours, like tenant screening, maintenance coordination, property inspections, and countless other burdens. You do not have to go at this alone – call us today to avoid those dreaded “bad landlord” accusations.



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