10 Common Apartment Complaints + DIY Hacks To Fix Them

No matter how prepared you are, landlords are bound to encounter upset tenants in their career. Sometimes the issue is something easily reversible, but other times it might seem completely out of your control. However, it’s important to keep your tenants happy and satisfied so you can maintain a strong landlord-tenant relationship.

Thankfully, we’ve put together a list of common apartment complaints and how to  fix them yourself so you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money solving each issue. Whether you are on a budget, need a quick fix, or are a tenant looking for modifications that fit your lease agreement, these DIY hacks will do the trick to make your rental complaint-free.

1. Noisy Neighbors

There’s nothing like cozying up on the couch with a good book — that is, until the neighbors on the right start blaring their music and the neighbor’s dog to the left won’t stop barking.

Turns out, 30% of Americans report being annoyed by their neighbors. It’s no surprise  noisy neighbors are a common apartment complaint reported to landlords and property managers.

DIY Sound-Proofing Hacks:

If your rental unit has thin walls, consider trying DIY sound-proofing methods to avoid the problem for future tenants.

  • Place furniture in front of a shared wall: Pieces of furniture like bookshelves are great for absorbing sound while offering a functional element to your room.
  • Add acoustic foam or fabric panels to the wall: Make these sound-proofing materials a statement piece by arranging them in geometric patterns on a shared wall.
  • Fix any cracks in drywall: Use caulk to plug any cracks and gaps in drywall to prevent any additional sound from another unit.

how to drown out noisy neighbors and other sounds

2. Pest Invasion

Pests are never fun to deal with. As a landlord, performing a quarterly or bimonthly pest control routine is essential. However, renters also need to do their part to avoid such nuisances, such as keeping the apartment clean and reporting any standing water around the unit.

A study done by Consumer Affairs found that renters are most likely to worry about ants, spiders, roaches, and bed bugs, so it’s important for landlords to do what’s necessary to avoid any of those vermin complaints.

DIY Pest Repellent Hacks:

Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, try these DIY natural bug repellent hacks to keep bug invaders out of your rental.

  • Use diatomaceous earth (DE) for bed bugs: Sprinkle DE in cracks and crevices like window sills, baseboards, and drawers.
  • Try peppermint essential oils for ants: Mix a cup of water, ½ cup of witch hazel, and 10 drops of peppermint oil to spray around ant entry points.
  • Use soapy water spray for cockroaches: Combine and shake water and dish soap in a spray bottle, and keep it handy to spray on cockroaches or where they’ve been.

how to repel unwanted vermin

3. Not Enough Storage

Another common apartment complaint is a lack of storage. From a wide range of miscellaneous items like cleaning supplies, such as bulky vacuums and mops, to seasonal items, like puffy winter coats and holiday decor, one tiny hall closet won’t cut it. It’s important for tenants to have space for these items so they can live comfortably in your rental unit.

DIY Storage Hacks

If you’re a tenant or a landlord who offers furnished rentals, use these quick and easy DIY storage hacks to organize a small space and keep it from getting cluttered.

  • Invest in multi-use furniture: Bookcase headboards and storage ottomans are functional pieces that add extra space to put belongings.
  • Utilize unused spaces: Tuck a few storage baskets or bins under beds, console tables, or benches to store books, shoes, and other miscellaneous items.
  • Add floating shelves: These give you additional space to display and store items without taking up floor space.

storage hacks for small spaces

4. Lack of Natural Light

Opening up the curtains to an outlook of the tall brick building next door that blocks not only your view but sunlight is a drag. Natural light is important for any home, as it aids in your mental health and makes a space feel more inviting. So it’s no surprise that prospective tenants look for rentals with a lot of natural light and how the lack of it can quickly become a complaint.

However, adding more or bigger windows may not be an option as it’s expensive and time-consuming. Nevertheless, making sure your rental at least appears to be bright and inviting is essential for finding potential tenants and keeping current ones satisfied.

DIY Hacks to Fake Natural Light

If your rental lacks windows or has a grand view of the wall next door, use these hacks to create the illusion of natural light in your rental space.

  • Don’t skimp on artificial light: Fun lights put in dreary corners and lamps that simulate the sun help brighten a space artificially.
  • Gloss up surfaces: Add white glossy paint on walls, ceilings, and trim to help bounce the light you do have around the room.
  • Use greenery: Low-light indoor houseplants like ferns or spider plants create an ethereal atmosphere while keeping the air clean.

how to fake natural light

5. Small Living Space

In the United States, the average apartment size is just 889 square feet — so it’s no wonder that it’s a common apartment complaint by tenants. However, a small space is sometimes unavoidable, especially in big cities like New York City and San Francisco. For landlords, making a space feel as spacious as possible will help you appeal to prospective tenants and keep your rental unit occupied.

DIY Small Space Hacks

If your rental is a bit tight, use these DIY hacks to make your apartment appear much bigger than it really is.

  • Add mirrors: An oversized mirror with a small frame expands the sense of visual space and makes a cramped space feel much bigger.
  • Create a minimalist-friendly rental: Making things dual-purpose and simplifying decor helps make your space feel clean and more spacious.
  • Avoid “busy” colors: Use a cohesive and light color scheme like blues and beiges to keep a space feeling less cramped.

how to create an illusion of more space

6. An Outdated and Bland Unit

In a competitive market, tenants seek rentals that have all the bells and whistles, like up-to-date kitchens, bathrooms, and hardwood floors. When you own a rental that’s outdated, it can steer potential renters away as they may be looking for something more modern and stylish.

As a landlord, maintaining and keeping your property updated is important to ensure you stay competitive and attract potential renters. Plus, renovating a rental property will help it increase in value and serve as a great passive income opportunity.

DIY Styling Hacks

Renovating a rental to make it look up-to-date can take a lot of time and money, so use these simple DIYs to help your rental appear attractive and modern.

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint: Add fresh paint on the walls or on outdated cabinets and furniture.
  • Swap out hardware: Replace old hardware in the kitchen and bathrooms with more modern knobs and handles.
  • Add rugs to hide outdated flooring: Rugs add a pop of color and texture, while layering them is a trend that appeals to many interior design styles.

update your finishes

7. Musty Odors

When getting ready to show your rental to prospective tenants, the last thing you want is to have musty odors wafting throughout. It causes the apartment to feel dirty and unkempt, making it an apartment complaint that could make potential renters turn up their nose. Making your apartment feel fresh and inviting is key to attracting quality tenants.

DIY Deodorizing Hacks

To help ensure future tenants won’t turn down your property, try out these natural deodorizing remedies throughout your unit to combat those pesky odors.

  • Create a carpet refresher: Sprinkle baking soda all over your carpet, let it sit for at least one hour, and then vacuum it up.
  • Make a fridge deodorizer: Add 10 drops of essential oil to a cup of baking soda to sit in the back of the refrigerator.
  • De-mildew the washing machine: Mix four cups of white vinegar, ½ cup of baking soda, and 20 drops of essential oil to run through your washing machine on the hottest setting.

how to deodorize your living space

8. Uneven Temperature

When cozying up on the couch to enjoy a morning cup of coffee, the cold winter air from the living room window can quickly ruin the atmosphere. Whether your rental is brand new or not, it’s possible for it to have a draft. They occur where there are gaps in construction and small openings are left unsealed to the outside. Areas next to windows and doors are most prevalent to a draft, causing uneven temperatures.

Especially if your rental is in colder climates, this can become a big apartment complaint by your tenants, as it makes it less comfortable and raises the heating bill.

DIY Draft-Proofing Hacks

These DIY draft-proofing methods on your windows and doors will help increase your tenants’ comfort and satisfaction in their apartment:

  • Use weatherstripping: Weatherstrips are an inexpensive way to help seal drafty doors and windows in a few easy steps.
  • Install new door sweeps: Purchase a heavy-duty wood sweep that can be painted or stained to match your door and will keep the cold out.
  • Use a door snake: Placed at the bottom of the door or window, these weighted fabric tubes help block out the unwanted chill.

9. Ugly Fluorescent Lighting

The right lighting has the ability to make a space feel warm and inviting, while ugly fluorescents can make a space feel like an old hospital room. If your rental has less-than-ideal lighting, you may encounter tenants asking to change it. Get ahead of the apartment complaint and replace or spruce up your current lighting fixtures.

DIY Lighting Hacks

Whether you are a tenant looking for ways to mask your rental lighting or a landlord on a budget, use these DIY lighting hacks to give your unit new life.

  • Add a drum shade: Transform an old brass chandelier into a modern fixture with a contemporary drum shade.
  • Opt for LED light bulbs: Swap out old incandescent bulbs for warm eco-friendly LED bulbs — bonus if you get the dimmable ones.
  • Get plug-in wall sconces: For additional warm lighting without taking up any floor space, make or buy a wall sconce that fits your decor.

how to create stylish lighting

10. Lack of Privacy

One of the downsides of apartment living is less privacy and seclusion. However,  your tenants’ privacy should be of the utmost importance, and the lack of it can become a huge apartment complaint among tenants. You always want to respect boundaries and offer the best solutions to not-so-ideal situations.

DIY Hacks to Boost Privacy

To help improve privacy in an apartment, use these easy hacks to make it feel more comfortable and separate from other units.

  • Always change locks: Landlords should always change the locks when new tenants move in to ensure that previous tenants don’t have access.
  • Add privacy screens: These are perfect for studio apartments that need the illusion of separate spaces or to block off the neighbor’s view from across the hall.
  • Invest in window shades: Add good window shades to your apartment to offer additional privacy, especially when windows can be seen from other units.

Guidelines On How To Handle a Tenant Complaint

Landlords know that even if you put in the time and effort to avoid any type of issue, some are bound to pop up at some point and an apartment complaint will happen. That’s just part of the business. Use these guidelines to help you handle these tenant complaints with pristine professionalism and property management skills.

  • Keep calm: Never lose your temper and always behave in a mature and responsible manner when dealing with complaints.
  • Communicate thoroughly: Make sure you are promptly communicating by understanding their issue, answering questions thoroughly, and letting them know the next steps for fixing the problem.
  • Be proactive and efficient: Resolve the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible to maintain a strong relationship with your tenants

Apartment complaints are unavoidable, but preparing for them is your best bet to attract quality tenants and keep them satisfied from the very beginning. To help you find quality tenants, use our rental application and tenant screening services.

Streamline Your Rental Property Management
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