Being a rental property owner leaves very little time for dull moments.
To start, you search out and purchase the “perfect” property, perform upgrades and renovations so your investment becomes a hot commodity, and then interview interested tenants until you find the ideal one.
Once all of that work is done, you may feel ready to rest.
However, after you place tenants in your property and start collecting monthly rent payments, there is always a chance that your tenants are going to call you with an emergency rental maintenance issue.
In the rental property business, whether you enlist the help of Columbia property management or not, it is your duty to keep your tenants safe, as well as protect your investment.
And, despite your property being in tip-top shape, things can happen when you least expect them to.
Knowing how to handle emergency maintenance issues in your rental property is something all property owners should learn.
Today we are going to outline some of our best property management tips for handling emergency maintenance request so, should the unthinkable happen, you have an idea of what to do.
What is Considered a Rental Property Emergency?
What you consider an emergency situation, and what your tenants consider an emergency situation, are often very different things.
Here is a breakdown of some of the most serious emergency scenarios your tenants can experience while leasing from you:
- Loss of heat during the cold months, and loss of air during the hot months, depending on where your property is located
- Gas leaks
- Water leaks or floods
- Broken windows
- Exterior doors that will not lock
- Loss of power
- An intruder break-in
As you can see, all of these situations are very serious in nature and not only require your help, but the help of professionals as well.
If any one of these situations occurred in your rental property, your investment is at risk for damage, as well as your tenants’ health and safety.
How to Handle an Emergency Maintenance Request
If your Columbia tenant contacts you with an emergency maintenance request, there are things you can do to help resolve the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible, no matter how serious it is.
Additionally, there are proactive steps you can take to minimize the occurrence of an emergency maintenance issue at your rental.
1. Inform Your Tenants About What to Do During Emergencies
Informing your tenants at move-in about emergencies is one of the best things you can do to reduce the number of emergencies that occur, and resolve them as quickly as possible if they happen anyway.
Here is some key information you should include in your tenant welcome package that will help tenants know what to do in the case of an emergency:
- Provide a detailed list outlining what a true emergency is
- Explain the procedures for putting in a general maintenance request versus an emergency request
- Include any pertinent contact information (e.g. you, your property management company, the after-hours call center, the maintenance crew, and any emergency vendors you have approved to work on your rental)
In addition, it’s a good idea to give your tenants some emergency tips for things such as
- Turning off the main water line to your property
- How to reset breakers
- Who to call in the case of extreme emergencies such as fires or home intrusions
- How to get to safety should an emergency threatening their health or safety occur
2. Discuss the Issue with Your Tenant Before Taking Action
If you self-manage your Columbia rental property, and you receive an emergency call from your tenant, be sure to discuss the issue in full before jumping into action.
This will assure both you and your tenant that the situation is indeed an emergency, and make planning your next steps much easier, since you will both be on the same page about how to move forward.
- Non-Emergency. If you and your tenant decide the situation at hand is not a true emergency, reassure them that the problem will be handled efficiently. Explain what the next steps are, and when they can expect someone to come by and fix the issue. Always ask if there is anything else you can for them – customer service like that is what makes tenants happy, and is what gets you lease renewals.
- Emergency. If the situation is an emergency, you should immediately make sure your tenant is safe. Advise them to get out of the house immediately if their health or safety is at risk, and get alternate contact information such as a cell phone number so you can keep in touch. You should also remind them to call the authorities, if appropriate. It’s also a good idea to stop by your property to make sure the authorities, maintenance crew, or vendors are handling everything properly.
In situations like this, it is more important than ever to have the right insurance in place as well.
Homeowners insurance to protect the structure of your investment property is necessary when you own rental property.
In addition, requiring your tenants to have renters insurance prior to moving in to your rental will help mitigate some of the damages (specifically when it comes to their personal belongings), and will help house your tenant if the property becomes inhabitable.
3. Have Your Own Contact List Available
It’s not enough to provide your tenants with a list of people to contact in the case of an emergency – you too should have your own Rolodex of vendors to call in the case of an emergency.
This is especially true if you don’t enlist the help of a property management company.
If you do employ a property management company, they will either have a maintenance crew for you to contact in the case of an emergency maintenance issue, or a list of approved contractors that you can contact to resolve the emergency.
Either way, having your own contact list readily available will lessen the stress once a call comes in that your property is on fire, flooding, or otherwise falling apart.
4. Stay Proactive
Lastly, as yet another way to help reduce the number of rental property emergencies you and your tenants experience, you should stay proactive.
Take a look at some of the easiest ways to do that:
- Perform thorough move-in and move-out inspections with every new tenant so you always know the condition of your property, and can tend to small maintenance issues before they become emergencies
- Conduct routine seasonal inspections to ensure your tenants are caring for your rental properly and no major maintenance issues have developed
- Work with a property management company to help with anything maintenance-related – inspections, maintenance fixes, after-hours calls, tenant complaints, insurance requirements, and even lease drafting so everyone involved understands their role in preventing property emergencies
Many property owners struggle with maintenance in general, so emergency situations can feel entirely overwhelming.
That’s why having a property management company such as Bay Management Group on your side is so valuable.
We have a 24/7/365 maintenance crew on hand to take care of all maintenance issues – not just the emergencies. We also have highly qualified professional contractors that we work with on a regular basis that provide timely and affordable workmanship.
So, if you need help managing your Columbia rental property’s maintenance requests, contact Bay Management Group today.