Top Complaints & Praises From Online Reviews of Property Managers

Services for Real Estate Pros with Manage My Property

The following word clouds are comprised of actual words and phrases from the 3,000 reviews we surveyed.

*The above word clouds are comprised of actual words and phrases from the 3,000 reviews we surveyed.
In my last article we covered some of the results from our survey of almost 3,000 reviews of property management companies on Yelp and Yahoo Local (read it first). We found that while there was a mix of tenants, owners, contractors, and realtors leaving reviews, the vast majority of the reviews were left by tenants. This makes sense if for no other reason than the fact that there are far more tenants than any of the other groups. The fact that the reviews are highly polarized (love or hate) was easy to pick out, but beyond that there were a number of other common themes that came up over and over again. Here were the key issues that for tenants and landlords:


Common Complaints
  • Delayed reaction time to phone calls and e-mails
  • Failure to promptly send out checks
  • Excessive and/or unexpected fees (especially maintenance fees)
  • Incompetent maintenance staff or contractors (slow, shoddy, overpriced work)
  • Took too long to find a tenant
  • Placing low quality tenants
Common Praise
  • Quick placement of tenant
  • Placement of quality tenants
  • Made the landlording process easy
  • Professional demeanor and rapport
  • Knowledgeable staff, understand the law and finer points of dealing with tenants


Common Complaints
  • Long-standing maintenance requests - Tenant feels ignored or like they're being passed from person to person in an revolving door of personnel and empty promises and excuses.
  • Run down dwelling - Everything from bugs to water spots. The worse the circumstances the more upset they are and the more explosive and colorful the review.
  • Rejection of maintenance or upgrade requests
  • Hard to get ahold of management. Took multiple phone calls and emails.
  • Failure to return all or a portion of the security deposit.
  • Rent increases - too often or a sharp jump.
  • Unfair enforcement of lease violations, fees and evictions.
  • Poor interpersonal skills - Property manager was rude, condescending etc.
  • Bait & switch - Showing a unit different than the actual unit issued, making false or misleading promises or move-in incentives, etc.
Common Praise
  • Friendly caring staff
  • Property manager was understanding and genuinely wanted to help tenant
  • Quick response to maintenance requests
It likely comes as no surprise to property managers that the list of complaints is longer than praises from tenants. The reasons for this are important as tenant reviews shape the overall atmosphere for online reviews of management companies. I'll be covering this soon in a post titled "Why people love to hate their property management company". Want to beat me to the punch and provide your own explanation of what influences the online reviews we see in this industry? Let me know in the comments.

Originally posted on under, "Top Complaints & Praises in Online Reviews of Property Managers"

Comments (7)

Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

This is a letter I put in Google, Yahoo and Yelp annually.  I got it from Bob Machado and modified it.


By Wallace S. Gibson CPM

May 25, 2010

I am the broker/owner of Gibson Management Group, Ltd. I have been a property manager for over 45 in Hawaii, California and Virginia.

My firm serves over 100 property owner/clients and has many satisfied clients and resident/customers who are pleased with their experience renting from my firm. There are some obvious and not so obvious reasons why some people do not have a great experience with my firm.

First, I work for the rental property owner and have a responsibility to try and make sure we rent to only qualified residents. This means I disappoint people who want to rent one of the homes I offer. I dislike doing it, but it is my duty. I am proud of my firm's record when it comes to locating great tenants and I continue to perform due diligence when screening prospective residents.

Second, I cannot approve all repair requests made by residents without our clients approval. Some residents would love to spend all of the rental income to make their home perfect; however, my clients depend on me to be reasonable in arranging repair work at their expense. I have always taken care of all habitability issues; however, I will turn down a request for residents to repaint a room or to upgrade working property systems or that I have unnecessary work performed for no reason.

Third, sometimes a client may have high property costs and think they are entitled to a certain net income to cover these costs. It is not a renters' responsibility to pay for an owner's over-improving their property or making poor financing decisions. Renters are smart and will find the best deal. Some owner clients are disappointed when I have to tell them what the market rent should be. I do not control rent rates, I just try to know the market so I can rent a property as quickly as possible.

I address every resident contact that is submitted via the method described in their lease and Resident Handbook. I have no in-house maintenance staff and rely on local, qualified service providers who schedule our residents' repair request on a priority basis. Residents who are unavailable at the scheduled appointment time to effect a repair will need to be patient so that the repair call is re-scheduled.

Lastly, I am very proud of my firms's policies and procedures. Having taught property management courses nationwide for many years, I know that residents enjoy having their concerns addressed and their stay at their rental homes made as hassle-free as possible.

Wallace S. Gibson CPM

May 25, 2010 02:41 PM
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL

Hey Jordan!  I see ME in BOTH groups (from the owners and tenants perspectives)..... Hmmm  There ought to be a reporting base for the Property Managers....  It would be a GREAT RELEASE!! 

Regarding your question as to WHY people love to hate their PM Company.... the MAIN reason for tenants is we remind them of their parents who said to them: CLEAN UP YOUR ROOM!!   how's that?

May 26, 2010 08:25 AM
Jordan Muela
Manage My Property - Austin, TX
Manage My Property

@Wallace - Thanks for taking the time to post that. I think it's a smart idea.

@Diane - What do you mean by "a reporting base for the property managers"?

May 26, 2010 08:44 AM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

There is a reporting base for residents....I have Google Alerts for my name and my co name so I know when reviews are posted and I respond.  I have 3 posted within the last 60 days from residents whose leases I did not renew.  One used her own name and I blogged about it.

I have gotten a client from the bad reviews BECAUSE I obviously enforce the lease and take care of my property owners


May 26, 2010 12:11 PM
Jordan Muela
Manage My Property - Austin, TX
Manage My Property

@Wallace - Good call on using google alerts, its so easy and yet alot of companys don't use it.

May 26, 2010 03:00 PM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Jordan * I have for my company AND my name * it's neat to see how quickly my blogs end up as alerts!

May 26, 2010 11:10 PM
Eric Boyd
Red Rooster Property Management, 904-469-6335 - Jacksonville, FL
FL Lic Real Estate Broker / Property Manager

Great post, Jordan.  Certainly informative.  I also use Google Alerts for both my name and my company.  So far, no complaints (or praises, for that matter).  I do always see my blog posts and sometimes comments if I load it up right.  LOL 

Jun 06, 2010 04:15 PM