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5 Steps Landlords Take When They Get a Negative Online Review

Todd Breen - Monday, October 11, 2021
Property Management Blog

Landlords in West Palm Beach know just how important their reputation is in the real estate industry. Word of mouth carries bad tales about landlord-tenant experiences wide and far, especially with the rising popularity of online review sites

It’s more important than ever that a landlord receives positive online reviews from tenants in order to fill vacancies and set a good price for their rental

Before a prospective tenant signs a lease, they will likely research reviews of the landlord. If there are too many negative reviews, they may decide to move on to a different property. 

Receiving a bad review can feel like a punch in the gut. Your first instinct is probably to argue with the reviewer and tell your side of the story. Refrain from this behavior! 

While negative online reviews are inevitable, there is a specific way to handle them to put landlords back into a positive light. Here are five steps to help you achieve just that. 

1. Read the Review Carefully

When we read bad reviews about ourselves, we tend to read them quickly and skim over them for the most insulting adjectives and phrases. In this rush to read, we tend to miss important information or the overall tone of the review.

So, when you first notice a negative review online, take your time and read it carefully. Reread it a few times, so you fully understand the content and exactly what your reviewer is expressing. This will help you formulate your response.

2. Collect Your Thoughts

Your fingers are probably itching at the keyboard to answer the review with the first thing that comes to mind. Before you start to respond, take a breath and collect your thoughts.

Take this time to think about what you want to say to your reviewer. Recall the situation and your interactions with this tenant.

Remember not to get emotional over the review. See it for what it is – an upset tenant looking for some kind of response or solution from their landlord. After taking these steps to calm yourself and consider your response, it’s time to start writing it.

3. Respond Promptly

While we recommend taking some time to think of your response, don’t put it off for too long. One of the best ways to handle a negative online review is to respond promptly. You don’t want it to sit out there online for days or weeks for people to read without your answer underneath.

Before you post your answer, write it down in a separate place and edit it to reflect exactly what you want to say. You may even want to ask a friend or family member to read it for a second opinion before posting it.

The best practice is to answer within a day or two of receiving the review.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

There is an art to crafting a response to a negative online review. As a landlord in West Palm Beach, it’s important to master it.

There are many don’ts when it comes to writing this response. They include:

  • Don’t get defensive
  • Don’t be rude
  • Don’t attack the reviewer
  • Don’t get personal
  • Don’t be dismissive

Instead, show the reviewer you understand their frustration or situation and acknowledge their feelings about it. Thank them for their feedback, and remember to be professional in your response.

4. Move the Conversation Offline

As you respond to the review, try to take the conversation online. You don’t want to create a thread of responses beneath the review for the world to read. This should be a private matter between you and your previous tenant.

Ask the reviewer to contact you directly in your response to talk and come to a solution about their grievance. If you still have their contact information, reach out to them directly after responding, notifying them you saw the review and would like to discuss it.

problem and solution written on puzzle pieces

5. Offer a Solution

Depending on the type of situation the reviewer complained about, you may be able to offer a solution to right any wrongs or change their opinion of you as a landlord. Most people simply want an apology or some acknowledgment of their feelings.

It is up to you as the landlord to decide what is fair compensation to resolve the issue. Sometimes a simple conversation can go further than you may think.

Collect More Positive Reviews

Now that you know how to handle negative online reviews from previous tenants, let’s discuss how to drown them out. The number one way to boost your reputation is to collect positive online reviews.

When prospective tenants research your reviews and see more positive than negative ones, they will have a better opinion of you. Many people chalk up bad reviews to the reviewer simply having a bad day or being too emotional.

Incentivize your tenants to leave a review with a gift card to a local café or a few dollars off of their last month’s rent. Send them an email with the link to your preferred review site to make it even easier for them.

Pro Tip: Don’t Take It Personally

Reading a negative review about yourself can feel extremely personal. The key to handling these types of reviews is not to take them personally. Your tenant is not attacking you as a person; they are simply airing grievances about their experience.

As long as you are confident you did everything you could to follow local ordinances and provide a comfortable and habitable property, that’s all you can do.

Get Better Reviews with Home Property Management II

One way to boost your positive online reviews is to hire a property management company to handle your property and tenants for you. Home Property Management II can help you receive better reviews and produce happier tenants.

With our trained staff and professional resources, we ensure tenants have a positive experience renting the properties we manage in West Palm Beach.

Contact us to see how we can help you receive more positive online reviews today!