Your rental property is going to need maintenance at some point, even if you’re renting it out brand-new and even if it’s in excellent condition. Whether a tenant calls with a plumbing issue or an emergency caused by severe weather, you’ll need to be prepared for how you respond.
It’s important that your tenants understand the process for reporting repair issues. This information should be included in your lease and discussed during the move-in process. When everyone understands what’s required and expected, there will be fewer frustrations before and after the work is completed.
Emergency Maintenance Requests
You need to make sure your tenant understands what constitutes an emergency. While a broken dishwasher door may be inconvenient, it’s not a repair that needs to be addressed in the middle of the night.
An emergency is anything involving water or flooding. Fires and electrical issues are also considered emergencies, and if your tenant doesn’t have heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer, you need to treat those problems as emergencies.
Make sure you respond to these situations right away. You don’t want to risk your property becoming uninhabitable for your tenants. There should be a phone number that someone answers 24 hours a day and seven days a week. You’ll want to have a reliable list of vendors ready to respond to these emergencies. If you’ve never used a plumber before and a pipe bursts over a holiday weekend, trying to find after-hours plumbing services might be a challenge. It’s better to have these relationships in place already.
Routine Maintenance Requests
For repairs that aren’t emergencies, the most important thing you can do is communicate well with your tenants during the repair process. Let them know that you’ve received their request and give them a timeframe for when you’ll be able to respond. You might want your tenants to call you when work is needed, but we also recommend that something gets put in writing. If your tenant emails or texts the repair request, you’ll have it documented. This will help you if there’s ever a dispute about how long it took you to make a repair. You can track the entire maintenance process from request to completion.
Once the work has been completed, follow up with the tenant and make sure everything is okay. You’ll want to know that the problem was fixed and that the vendors you used were courteous and helpful.
Maintenance and Tenant Retention
Responding quickly and routinely to maintenance issues will protect your property and ensure its condition is preserved. Deferred maintenance can hurt your home’s value and lead to deterioration and increased expenses later.
It’s also important to respond to tenant maintenance issues right away because it leads to better tenant retention. If your tenants feel like their needs aren’t being met – especially when it comes to maintenance – they will not want to stay in your property past the expiration of the lease. Show them you are responsive and that you take their repair needs seriously.