‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: The Importance of Managing Negative Online Apartment Reviews

Something just seemed…off…about an apartment community my husband and I recently looked at. And not just the fact that it was located in Jersey. Sure, the apartments we saw were pretty big. And there were in-unit washers and dryers. And a nice gym.

But still…

“I know you allow pets here,” I said. “Have there ever been complaints about hearing dogs barking all night?”

“The walls aren’t soundproof,” the leasing agent admitted. “But there’s carpet! And we have quiet hours in the building from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.”

My Spider Senses started tingling.

Quiet hours? Instead of my Ford, did I mistakenly take the DeLorean and end up back in time at my college dorm? Would I once again have to grow accustomed to the taste of warm Ramen noodles and warmer Natty Light? Could I walk around in my pajamas all day and have it be acceptable workwear? (Actually that one would be awesome. Never mind.)

We got home and looked up some reviews on the community.

And they were not good.

Comments about how the management was terrible. How there were break ins in the parking lot. How you could completely hear everything your neighbors did or said in their apartments. Actually, the only positive comment I could find was clearly written by someone from the management company, because it mentioned the management company by name and badmouthed another management company by name, and extolled the amenities and apartments in total Newspeak

And there was absolutely no responses to any of the negative from the management team. Come on, stand up for yourself, Poindexter!

I don’t know if these reviews were just from a few disgruntled residents. After all, everything gets bad reviews. Haters gonna hate, right? But since there was no response, and I was already getting a weird feeling about the community, it sealed the deal: We weren’t going to move there. If management looked at these reviews and responded saying that those issues would be addressed, or that they looked into the complaint and couldn’t verify it, or something, well that would be another thing.

With no response, bad online reviews of a community become gospel.

At your property, do you have someone monitoring your social media presence? Because you really need to have one. Make sure you are looking at the reviews, and respond to any complaints. Don’t take the complaints personally, because there will always be people who just want to complain for the sake of complaining (and if your knee-jerk reaction is to tell them you’re not their mother so quit crying like a baby—or something worse—you’re just going to look like a jerk. Even if they are being a baby).

And, seriously, don’t write good reviews about yourself. It’s not cool. People will know, and they’ll lose respect for you. Don’t be that guy.

Do you have someone on your team manage your social media presence? What is the best way to handle bad reviews of your community?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit:  Monkey Business Images

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