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Most People Don’t Care, Till Something Goes Wrong

There’s this idea that most residents don’t usually worry, or care about communication with the landlord, or maintenance of their home. Until, and unless of course, something goes wrong with them.

My research shows this is, and isn’t true. What’s more important, is whether it is true, it’s irrelevant. The truth is, most people are fine with their landlord, and how they communicate – because statistically more people are happier. Have less things go wrong, or less frequently. Luck, and time also plays a role. Sometimes people are just lucky, and the bad thing happens at a good time. What’s more important is that, bad things, aren’t meant to happen all the time. That would be terrible. So when they do, surely the fact that they don’t keep happening – is a good thing. That when they happen at all, it’s still a bad thing that requires due attention to resolve.

For a landlord to feel like their residents only complain when things go wrong. What they’re really saying, is they’re overwhelmed. Should residents complain when things are going right? Of course not. So it’s more of a reflection of the number of complaints, and residents being generalised into a group. By doing so, residents lose their individual status, and a general approach is then often used to respond. There’s stress and frustratio. on both sides.

Consider the resident. They’ve been going about their business until something went wrong. Let’s say, for instance a massive leak from someones flat, that has breached a communal area. It’s a hazard, and a worry for them – They have children, and need to get on with their day. It’s not the residents job to consider how the landlord may feel. Even though some residents do. Their responsibility is to report it as soon as possible. Their expectations are a simple and fast process to report it. To be kept informed, and considered where necessary during the repairs. A speedy resolution.

This rarely happens for many of us. In this instance, say the landlord has suddenly received 3x as many repair requests. They’re due to present financial reports and plans for the next year to the board, and investors. The contractors appointed for the next 2 years have already been requesting additional fees. It can quickly lead to hasty, and inconsiderate decisions that cost more further down the road. For now, it means the landlord can do only, what the landlord can do. Even with the best intentions, sometimes the resources are just unavailable. Many times there’s been duplication of effort, or inefficiencies that have wasted money that could otherwise be better utilised. There’s also the fact that, if these properties were of poor quality to start, that would only continue to encourage poor maintenance. On top of costly repairs, if you’re a private landlord – that means frequent evictions, and low rental income. Public and HA’s, it’s perhaps twice as costly, as the risk to more vulnerable occupants increases.

In order to determine how well as a landlord we’re doing. We should set the thresholds at where we are doing well, and where we are the worst. Even failing. Do ignore the failures, and the full picture being painted – leads to skewed perceptions about issues raised by residents. How residents are treated and communicated when issues are raised. It disrupts the ownership, and responsibility a resident feels over their home. Labelling us as complainers, doesn’t acknowledge the issues that are being complained about. Landlords should pay attention to the patterns across complaints, read between the lines to under the root causes.

Residents don’t complain, or raise issues for the sake of it. Complaints aren’t raised because it’s fun to do. Many of us would rather not have to.

It’s true, residents complain when things go wrong. Usually after reporting something, and facing some service failures

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