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Steps to Take When a Tenant Complains About You Online

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It’s just like any day as you pack up your bag and head to your apartment management building. You turn on your computer, looking to see who you need to contact today. And, you check out some key sites to review like Yelp. As you’re surfing Yelp, something catches your attention: a bad review! 

The review may have come from an angry tenant you’re well-acquainted with. Or, it could have come from a tenant you had no idea was upset. But, regardless of the scenario, it has you sweating bullets. 

Before freaking out, take a deep breath. Getting a bad review is not the end of the world! 

Thankfully, there are actions you can take to turn things around. Check out these tips so you can move on from a bad review and know how to handle things moving forward.

1. Don’t Panic 

While receiving a bad review is nerve-wracking, don’t panic. One bad review will not dictate how people perceive your complex moving forward. 

What you can do is your best to rectify any situation before it gets out of hand. If you feel the person may complain, try to develop a solution before it gets to that point.

Unfortunately, with some tenants they may never be satisfied. So, you’re bound to get some bad reviews. 

While it’s easy to stay fixated on them and assume the worst, focus on the good reviews you have. If you’re a property manager who bends over backward for your tenants, then there’s no need to worry. 

2. Weed Out Bad Reviews With Good Ones 

The good news is there’s always a way to get rid of online complaints. Get more positive reviews to dilute the bad ones! Now, you have to be careful here because you can’t solicit reviews by asking for them outright. 

What you can do, however, is include links to where tenants can leave you positive reviews. By seeing the option to review you, residents feel prompted to leave you a quick, positive review. 

If Yelp is where some bad reviews are lurking, then include a link to Yelp on your website and printed materials. 

Say you’d like to beef up positive reviews on WhoseYourLandlord. Then include a link to that site so that residents have the option to review you there as well. 

3. Reply to the Complaint

Another way to handle negative reviews is by replying to the complaint. For example, most sites, like Yelp, give you the option to reply to bad reviews. 

Before replying, though, think carefully about what you want to say. Of course, you don’t want to make the person even madder since they already posted a bad review. But it makes sense that you want to argue your point of view. 

Before responding, write a rough draft and sit on it for a few days. If you’re angry and reply right away, you may not say the right thing. It’s best to look at things objectively before publishing your response for everyone to see. 

4. End the Response with a Name 

There’s nothing more impersonal than replying to a review without leaving a name. Responding with empathy is excellent, but you need to take it a step further. 

Offering your name makes it so that the tenant can reach out to you if needed. Plus, if another person is hesitant to live at your complex because of the review, they can ask to speak to you. Or, they can contact you via your virtual property management platform

Replying with a name makes your response authentic and transparent. As an apartment complex, that’s precisely what you should strive to do. 

5. Own Up to Your Mistakes 

It could be that the review was accurate. If you made a mistake, own up to it! It’s okay if you didn’t handle a situation that well. You’re only human, after all. 

So, if the bad review warrants an apology, take the time to apologize. Reply by saying something like: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We’re sorry you had a bad experience and appreciate you letting us know.”

Now, if the tenant still lives at your building, you may want to reach out to them in person. See if there’s anything you can do to make it up to them. 

For example, they may have left a bad review concerning an air conditioning repair that took too long. If it’s a complaint that was blatantly your or the complex’s fault, you may want to offer a rent concession. Assess the situation and take the steps needed to make the resident happy again. 

6. Continue the Conversation Offline 

We’d like to expand on the importance of taking a conversation offline. 

Say you craft a reply but the tenant sees it and replies angrily again. The conversation may go back and forth if both you and the tenant keep commenting. But, if that should happen, it can quickly become a game of he said, she said. 

You don’t want a heated argument to take place online. (Everyone can read what you have written!) So it’s best to take it offline as soon as possible. 

Again, reaching out to the resident in person is the best course of action. From there, you can communicate with them and figure out a solution. 

7. Try to Get it Taken Down 

There is also the option to get a review taken down. This can be a long and tedious process, though. First, you will need substation evidence that there was no wrongdoing on your part. Then, it may take a while for the site to make their decision. 

Sites like Google and Yelp allow you to request a review to be taken down. So, if you feel you’re in the right and the review is damaging your reputation, then it may be worth it to take action. 


Negative reviews aren’t fun to deal with, but at least now, you know what to do when you get them. 

Remember, not everyone is going to remain happy. The truth is that some people may never be satisfied. Some battles you may be able to fight, whereas some aren’t worth it. Stay positive and try to keep your residents happy. 

When you’re doing your best to be an incredible landlord, then everything should fall into place. You’ll have glowing reviews boasting of your consistency and hard work!


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