One of your most important jobs when you own Santa Rosa rental property is to respond to maintenance requests right away. You don’t want your tenants to grow frustrated with any delays, and you also don’t want the condition of your investment property to deteriorate.
Responsiveness when it comes to maintenance is in your best interest and the best interests of your property. Maintenance can be expensive, and for a lot of property owners, it’s time consuming. But deferred maintenance will only cost more, and ignoring a request for too long will likely chase your tenants out as soon as the lease ends.
When it comes to completing tenant maintenance requests, we have some ideas that come from our many years of professional property management in Santa Rosa. Here’s what we recommend.
Sharing Expectations is Critical
Before your tenants move in, make sure you have an in-depth discussion about the lease agreement they’re signing. You’ll want to explain how tenants should report maintenance and what kind of information they should include with that report. It’s important for your tenants to hear you express that you want to know about repair issues right away. You don’t want tenants to neglect to report leaks or malfunctioning appliances. Unreported maintenance is just as bad as deferred maintenance, and it will lead to larger and more expensive problems.
This conversation is also a good opportunity to define the difference between an emergency and a routine repair. Emergencies will involve fires, floods, and anything that puts a tenant’s life or your property in danger. Garbage disposals that are clogged will not be classified as emergencies. You want your tenants to know the difference since emergencies will require an immediate phone call while routine requests will not have that sense of urgency.
Documenting Repair Requests and Completed Maintenance
All emergencies should be reported immediately. You’ll want your tenants to call you as soon as it is safe to do so.
For routine repairs, it’s better to have those requests made in writing. This gives you a documented record of when the request was made, what was described, and how it was handled. This will help you eliminate any disputes about work that was never done or requests that were ignored.
Ask tenants to send an email so they can attach photos and give you a complete description of what’s wrong. You’ll have a documented date that the request came in and you can easily file the information to create a record of maintenance for each appliance, function, and system in your rental property.
Put Together a Vendor Network for Tenant Repair Requests
You’ll need a team of licensed and insured vendors to help you respond to those maintenance requests.
Having relationships with these vendors in place before you need them is a good idea. If your tenant reports a sewer backup in the middle of the night, you want to know exactly who to call. It’s not a great time to be searching online for help.
Sometimes, owners and landlords want to do their own work. This may seem like it’s saving you money, but think about whether you really have the time to respond in an appropriate fashion. If you can’t get over to the property until the weekend or an afternoon that you have off from work, your tenant is going to become frustrated that the repair is taking so long.
Managing maintenance requests from tenants takes time and resources. If you’d like some help with this part of Santa Rosa property management, we can offer some support and a lot of resources, including our own team of fantastic vendors. Contact us at Redwood Residential Property Management.