4 Steps to Prepare for Emergency Rental Maintenance
Being a property manager is no easy feat. Aside from dealing with tenants and conducting regular maintenance, you also have to be ready to handle emergencies regarding your rental property.
The whole thing about emergencies is that you can’t really tell when they’re going to happen. So, the best you can do is to prepare. In case of emergency rental maintenance, here are some steps you can take.
1. Define an Emergency
A tenant may call you after hours regarding an emergency in the property they’re renting, only for you to find out that it’s not exactly something you’d consider an emergency. To avoid situations like this, it’s best to make a clear definition of an emergency.
An emergency maintenance request would require urgency regarding a serious issue. If it’s something you can deal with the next day, it should not be considered an emergency. Here are some examples of emergencies that will require urgent attention:
- Power outage
- Gas leak
- Lack of water
- No working toilets
Emergencies that can endanger the tenant or other people in the building should be given priority. And in the case of a fire or break-in, the tenant should call 911 first.
Sometimes, a tenant may mistakenly identify an inconvenience as an emergency. So, it’s best to make it clear to them what you will not consider as emergencies. Common examples include:
- No hot water
- A burnt-out lightbulb
- A lightly dripping faucet
- A broken icemaker
- Loud neighbors
But despite the non-emergency, it is still important to reassure your tenants that you will try to resolve their problem at a more appropriate time.
2. Prepare a Contact List
In the case of an emergency maintenance repair, you cannot scramble to look for the appropriate help needed. So, it is crucial to prepare a contact list beforehand. This list should include the contact information of local electricians, plumbers, locksmiths, repair contractors, and HVAC technicians that offer 24/7 emergency services.
3. Communicate Clearly
It’s understandable for residents to feel a little panicked during an emergency. But as a property manager, you need to stay calm to address the situation adequately. One of the most important things you should do is to communicate properly with any involved parties.
In whatever case, the first person you will be talking to is your tenant. When they call regarding an emergency maintenance request, you must first check if it is truly an emergency. If it is, it’s crucial to ask the right questions. For example, if it was a fire, you should be ensuring your tenant’s safety and ask them if they have anywhere else to stay for the night. If they don’t, it is your responsibility to find their temporary lodging.
You should also be able to communicate effectively with the other parties involved. For example, if 911 was called, you may need to speak with them regarding the situation. And if something needs to be fixed immediately, you must ensure things are clear between you and the service provider.
Throughout all this, it’s essential to keep your tenant updated. Let them know what measures you’ve taken and when they can expect to get back to their homes.
4. Be Proactive
Lastly, the best way to prepare is to stay proactive. Avoid emergencies by conducting routine inspections of your property. To prevent flooding, check your pipes. Test your smoke detectors and check all your electrical wiring to prevent fires. And have someone inspect your property for any molds, pests, and structural damage.
You can never tell when an emergency will come. So, it’s best to be prepared and have a plan in case things go wrong. Make sure your tenant understands what constitutes an emergency and let them know the protocol if one occurs. And from your end, you should have a contact list prepared, practice effective communication with everyone involved, and stay proactive.
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