Do you find the prospect of dealing with emergency maintenance issues daunting? Learning which maintenance tasks to prioritize is vital!
Compared to other industries, managing a property does not stick to regular business hours. You can be called up in the middle of the night for a property emergency. Property maintenance is an ongoing task that requires time and proper coordination.
Though you want to avoid the midnight calls, it’s important to know how to handle these matters, so you’re prepared when it happens.
What Is Categorized as Rental Property Emergency Maintenance?
To be ready when maintenance issues strike requires you to fully understand what’s deemed as an emergency. A bit of discomfort or inconvenience experienced by the renters isn’t automatically counted as an emergency.
Some problems that may manifest in the early hours of the morning may be tagged as maintenance issues but they can be managed later in the morning during more standard working hours. This requires the best judgment from the tenants and landlords.
To keep things easy, a situation can be considered an emergency when the maintenance issue is likely to result in injury, serious property damage, or threaten the health and safety of an occupant.
Here are some examples of maintenance concerns:
- Frozen pipes or broken water lines
- Flooding or leaking roof
- Fire or gas leak
- Insufficient heat in winter
- Electrical Issues or extended power outage
- Break-ins by intruders resulting in property damage or safety issues.
What Doesn’t Count as a Maintenance Emergency
If no immediate threat to an occupant’s health and safety, or to the property is seen then this is not categorized as an emergency. In that case, the maintenance request can be addressed during normal business hours but swift action should still be taken. Non-emergent maintenance can include:
- Malfunctioning appliance
- No hot water
- No air conditioning (when the outside temperature falls below 90 degrees)
- No heat (when the outside temperature is above 50 degrees)
- Parking disagreements
- Minor leaks
- Noise complaints
Ways to Deal with Rental Property Emergency Maintenance
If you want to have a healthy relationship with your renter and protect your property at the same time, you should learn how to handle tenant requests. Here are key factors in managing rental property emergency maintenance:
Be Reachable to Your Tenants
During emergencies, it’s critical for landlords to be accessible to the renters. You must provide alternate ways to be reached, so you’re available to answer vital questions, guide the renters on the next steps and remain updated with the situation.
Generally speaking, it’s good to be reachable by phone and email as well as provide emergency contacts for issues occurring outside of standing operating hours.
Practice Open Communication
Constant communication is required even after an emergency incident is reported. You can’t just contact a vendor and leave it at that. You should spare some time in talking with your renters and assure them of the steps taken, what the arrival time for the repair will be, and how to manage the current situation while the vendor is not yet around.
Once the issue is fixed in full, it’s still smart to follow up with your tenants to ensure they’re satisfied. This will help protect your landlord-tenant relationship.
Have Access to Emergency Services
It’s expected to have contact numbers of the police, fire, and utility service companies but landlords are also required to access emergency services. Past regular business hours, a tenant might experience an extended power outage or a broken heater. During these times you should be able to easily reach out to a vendor. It’s best to be ready with a network of trusted vendors when an emergency crisis hits.
Be Aware of Your Immediate Responsibilities
As a landlord, you’ll be faced with many situations requiring repairs. You should be able to identify which warrants your immediate attention, what can be addressed later, and what to delegate to the renters.
Always keep in mind that emergency repairs are required when a situation is a threat to your tenants’ health and safety, or can result in massive property damage. Thus, fast action is required from landlords.
Adopt an Understanding Mindset
Be empathetic and keep calm during emergencies. Even if a renter reached out to you when a situation was not deemed as an emergency, talk to the renter patiently and provide instructions on sending a maintenance request. Even though you may have previously discussed the guidelines on rental property emergency maintenance, some tenants can panic and call you, especially new renters. It’s important for them to hear your reassurance.
Keep Proper Documentation
It’s easy to have a written record of regular maintenance requests. But emergencies can be challenging since they require swift action. When the immediate crisis is over, it’s still vital to document the events. Note down the agreements and do follow-ups in writing or through email. This lets you know if the situation is resolved to the satisfaction of the tenants and ensures that you’re on top of things.
Building Positive Emergency Maintenance Vendor Relationships
One of the critical relationships a landlord needs to establish is with maintenance vendors. Repairs are expected when running a rental unit and having a set of trusted contractors to rely on is priceless.
When looking for contractors and vendors, it’s important to conduct a screening. The essential factors to seek in a vendor have a solid reputation and reviews, insurance coverage, and a proper understanding of repair costs and time frames.
Emergencies are bound to occur at some point so having a plan in place is vital. By understanding what situations call for swift and immediate action you’ll be better able to prioritize repair work.
Another way to succeed in the competitive rental industry is to engage the services of a professional property management company. If you’re looking for proven and trusted property management services, contact T-Square Properties today!
Disclaimer: This blog article is for informational purposes. The information contained in this blog article may not be the official policies of T-Square Properties.