Whether you’ve been providing property management for one year or 50 years, you know that negative reviews can hurt your business and scare off potential new clients.

We decided to take a look at the most common reasons that negative reviews are written, and share our data about negative property management reviews. When you know what you’re working against, you can take the necessary steps to prevent those negative comments online.

Who Leaves Negative Property Management Reviews?

Reputation is often a numbers game, so we decided to look at the data.

Using 2,600 negative reviews that were submitted online from January 2019 to August 2020, we found some interesting trends. The first one likely won’t surprise you: tenants leave more negative reviews than owners.

Two pie charts demonstrating about 95% of the negative reviews we analyzed in 2019 and 2020 came from tenants

More than 90 percent of negative reviews come from tenants, and that’s because property management companies spend more time with residents than with owners when it comes to the daily management of properties.

You also work with more renters than owners. Most of the units you manage are going to have two or more residents in each home.

Common Complaints Tenants Make

Any number of issues can be highlighted by tenants in their negative reviews, and we identified three common themes.

The most common complaint in negative reviews is maintenance. This shows up 48 percent of the time, which means almost half of those negative tenant reviews are maintenance-related.

After maintenance, the most common compliant is about communication. Then, there are complaints about customer service and the move-in experience. The move-in process brought in far more complaints than the move-out process.

A graph demonstrating the various categories that negative tenant reviews fall into.

Most complaints involved the lack of efficiency in getting repairs resolved. Property managers are negatively reviewed because the work takes too long to complete, it’s not done properly, or there’s bad communication between vendors and property managers. Many tenants complained that vendors never showed up for appointments and that their work orders were marked complete before the issue was taken care of.

Common Complaints Owners Make

The main complaints from owners centered on communication and customer service. Bad communication showed up in more than 50 percent of the complaints, and bad customer service showed up in more than 40 percent of the complaints.

After that, most negative owner reviews were about owner disbursements, fees and costs of property management, the condition of their homes, and maintenance problems.

A graph demonstrating the various categories that negative owner reviews fall into.

Most of the negative reviews complaining about communication mentioned that there was no transparency, owners didn’t know what was happening at the property, and it was hard getting anyone to return phone calls and messages.

There were also complaints of rude or unhelpful property management staff members.

How to Emerge from Bad Property Management Reviews

How can you use this information to prevent negative reviews of your property management company?

There’s some overlap with both tenant and owner complaints, and these are:

  • Communication
  • Customer Service
  • Maintenance

A Venn Diagram showing the negative tenant and owner review categories, and the categories that both tenant and owner reviews share

Improving these three areas in your business will lead to fewer negative reviews and more positive feedback. We recommend three important steps in getting there:

Analyze your current negative reviews and find the real problem. Maybe yours are different than the averages we found, and that’s okay. Know where your weaknesses are. Once you can see them, bring your team together to figure out which root causes are leading to these complaints. Keep digging until you get a clear picture of the problem.

Fix those problems. Work hard on the root causes you’ve identified. If you don’t solve the whole problem, it’s going to keep coming back.

Make the necessary repairs to your reputation. Ask for reviews again, but not until you can be sure you’ll get positive reviews. Keep addressing those negative reviews that come in, and make sure you’re doing the necessary work to turn them positive.

If you’re curious about ways you can incentivize online reviews, check out our blog, “Incentivizing Your Online Property Management Reviews: What to Do and What Not to Do.”

Don’t ask for reviews without fixing the underlying problem. If you can communicate transparently, demonstrate empathy and care, and put together smart systems that include accountability, you can expect better reviews.

If you need help with your online reputation, or have more questions about our data and negative property management reviews, contact us at Fourandhalf.