Knowing the Difference between Routine and Emergency Maintenance Requests
When a tenant calls with a repair issue, it can often feel like an emergency. You don’t want your tenants to be uncomfortable, but not every repair needs immediate attention. As a property manager, you need to be able to prioritize your maintenance and triage problems to keep costs in line. It’s expensive to get technicians out after hours or weekends.
Defining Emergency Maintenance
Emergency maintenance issues are ones that can be harmful when left unrepaired. Here are some examples:
- Broken glass
- Broken door locks
- Gas leaks
- Heater or AC not working, depending on the weather
Not every broken heater is an emergency. If the night temperatures are just in the 50s, you could probably put the heater on a high-priority list to get fixed ASAP. If there is a pending snow storm or the temperatures are below freezing, it’s more urgent to get that fixed or to find solutions.
Property managers often have to triage maintenance. A non-working refrigerator needs to take priority over a dryer that isn’t drying. Broken windows may need to be repaired before dealing with a slow-draining tub. A clogged toilet, especially if a unit only has one, is a high priority. These issues could led to bigger risks when not repaired in a timely fashion. It’s not just comfort, but overall safely.
Routine Maintenance Calls
Non-emergency maintenance issues are ones that don’t threaten the health or safety of your tenants. Still, you don’t want to put them off, but you don’t necessarily have to get out the next day. Some examples include:
- Slow draining tub or backed up shower
- Dishwasher that isn’t working properly
- Stove or oven not heating
- Garbage disposal not working
Non-emergency repairs are inconvenient, but there’s no reason to spend extra money for professionals to make repairs outside of business hours.
Have a Plan to Handle Property Repairs
Whether you have 2 properties or 200, dealing with maintenance requests can be overwhelming. When tenants call with what they think is an emergency, it takes time to collect information and then reach out to the contractors to handle the job. If you’re dealing with your properties yourself, you’re on call, every day for tenants because you don’t want to leave them hanging with an emergency. But you also can’t always count on their discernment of an emergency or not.
One way to manage your property effectively to reduce tenant maintenance issues is to inspect your property at regular intervals for small problems. Remind tenants to change the air filter in the HVAC system to prevent problems. Taking care of your property isn’t just about waiting for something to break down. It’s about being proactive to keep things in working order and to make sure the property is habitable.
Dealing with maintenance issues can take a lot of time. It’s important to handle every maintenance request with concern for your tenants and your property. If you’re tired of the hassle, a property management company can help you handle the process effectively to make sure that you’re dealing with maintenance correctly.