Customer service ranks high on prospective renters’ lists

Landlords who play 'hard to get' may signify poor repair record

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

A reader recently wrote, "Our landlord is difficult to reach and won't do most repairs. Since we're moving soon, any ideas on how to 'check out' our next landlord?" Customer service complaints are all too common–even in housing. According to the latest American Housing Survey (conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2001), about one-third of apartment renters surveyed indicated they were either partially satisfied to dissatisfied with the quality of their building's maintenance. Dealing with repairs is the last thing most tenants are hoping for in a rental. So how can you gauge future customer service, including taking care of repairs and maintenance, when looking for a place? According to Los Angeles-area apartment manager Jim Stilton, "Landscaping is a good start, so are outside fire extinguishers and lights. If the outside is in bad shape, the inside may not be much better." Other tips from the pros include: Reachablity: When first calling about a ...