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Top 6 Resident Complaints That Will Damage Your Reputation

Top 6 Resident Complaints That Will Damage Your Reputation

Author John Green’s book title “The Fault in our Stars” seems fitting to describe the significance of star ratings for prospects scouting the Internet to search for apartments. We know that residents are flocking online to voice their disappointments or favorable experiences at their apartment homes. Research proves that these online conversations affect prospect traffic to your doorstep.


A nationwide survey by J Turner Research involving more than 25,000 residents indicates that 62 percent refer to online ratings and reviews at the beginning of their apartment search. According to a 2016 study, the two most influential aspects of reviews in a prospect’s decision making are star ratings and the relevancy of reviews to their likes and dislikes – relevancy refers to content of the reviews. The number of reviews is a close third.


Are you monitoring the content of your online reviews? Do you know the top complaints echoed by residents on online review sites and ILSs?  In analyzing hundreds of online reviews, below are some key pain points that annoy residents the most.


1.  Racial discrimination – The rhetoric of racial discrimination can damage a business severely. Residents feel victimized due to “perceived” racial discrimination by a specific staff member. Residents also notice how staff members deal with a diverse resident body. If the interaction is not respectful by their standards, the resident may misconstrue it as an act of racial discrimination.


2. Eviction letters/notices - Residents view eviction letters as humiliating and threatening. Sticking eviction letters on their doors adds fuel to the fire! Residents may complain about lack of empathy from the property team in understanding their financial circumstances.

3. “Un”Gated community - Don’t claim to offer the security of a gated community when your community gates do not function properly or remain open during the day or night. This promise gives residents a false sense of security, which eventually shatters and finds its way to online conversations.

4. Apartment is not move-in ready - Few things can frustrate a new resident more than entering your new apartment, and it’s not ready. If the kitchen isn’t clean, the appliances aren’t functioning properly, the carpet is stained, or the resident doesn’t see the promised accent wall, there is a strong chance the resident will take to the Internet to vent.

5.  Follow-through from the office team – Residents, often, are upset by a lack of responsiveness from the office team. They can get very annoyed when staff members don’t communicate in a timely manner, don’t return phone calls and messages, don’t follow-through on maintenance and other requests with specific status updates.  

6. Parking - It is a given that parking is among the most prominent pain points of residents. Below are some of the most frequently expressed parking grievances:

  • Residents don’t like to pay for a reserved parking spot.
  • They detest finding a spot away from their building and having to walk to their apartment after a long day of work or when they are carrying groceries or balancing kids.
  • They don’t appreciate any changes to the parking policy such as an additional parking fee for a reserved spot halfway in the lease.       
  • Residents get all the more irritated when the office staff is unclear about the parking policies for them and their guests.
  • Residents express frustration when their cars are towed and the office refuses to take responsibility or “refund their money”.
  •  And, finally residents are embarrassed when their guests are unable to find parking or worse when their cars are towed.

Property management companies will benefit from carefully monitoring and addressing online complaints. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

In my next blog, I will spotlight additional complaints voiced online by residents. Questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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Great article!!

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Thank you Lola. I appreciate your feedback.

  Priyanka Agarwal
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A couple of comments: 1. Gates, even working do not provide security. Any implication or use of the word can get the property sued. Their 'sense of security' is their responsibility. We train our teams to never suggest 'safer on the third floor, a 'guard' on duty, etc. I wish we could remove the word from our vocabularies, no more 'security deposit' but a damage deposit. 2. Several of the points in #6 are contradictory. Towing unauthorized vehicles is necessary to assure available parking for authorized vehicles. Our responsibility is to educate and to remind the residents on our parking, towing and accessible space policies. Be sure that they understand that the policies are in place for their benefit! High opccupancy brings lots of blessings, along with parking troubles!

  Anne Sadovsky

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