Common Maintenance Issues and How a Landlord Can Resolve Them

One of the biggest challenges that landlords face on a continuing basis is maintenance. No matter how new or how well-built the property is, sooner or later you will have to deal with repairs and maintenance needs. For first-time landlords, this can be especially difficult if they don't know where to turn.

Have a Plan
Minor repairs can happen at any time, but they most often occur when it is least convenient. You will get a phone call when you are sitting down to dinner or getting ready for bed. To prevent the inconvenience that this can cause, you need to have a plan in place to ensure the issues is quickly and efficiently resolved.
Some issues are regular occurrences, like heating and HVAC problems, backed-up plumbing, and lockouts. Be prepared for these situations by contracting with a company that you can call any time you need their services. You can give the company a key and sign a contract for 24-hour service with a specified response time. Just make sure you let tenants know that this is the procedure for these calls.
Larger problems such as a leaking roof may require a temporary fix until a more permanent solution can be provided. In some cases, the roofing contractor may handle the situation while other times, you may need to find someone else who can stop the leaks temporarily. Always know which companies you will contact for the various problems you are likely to encounter and find out exactly what services they provide and in what time frame they respond.

Hire Someone to Handle Maintenance Issues
For a larger rental complex, you may want to hand off maintenance calls to a service or manager. You have several options to choose from:

  • An answering service takes calls from tenants and contacts the appropriate repair company to handle the work based on your instructions. They relay the problem to you on the next business day or with the call logs.
  • A property manager takes care of all tenant problems, including maintenance requests. The manager updates you or contacts you for unusual problems.
  • Pay a tenant to handle simple maintenance issues in exchange for reduced rent.

No matter which option you choose, you must have a clear plan of action for the most common repairs and maintenance problems. Make sure that you relay the important information to all parties, including when you want to be contacted and how you will be informed of any resolved issues.
You also want to have a standard process for what to do when something unexpected arises that is not part of your plan, such as a flooding or a fire. When major issues occur, you should have an emergency plan in place and procedures for the next steps. You must provide a valid number where you can be reached or another person to act in your stead if you cannot be reached.
Having a complete maintenance plan in place helps you and everyone else know what to do when something happens. It is also important that you relay the basic procedures to your tenants. Let them know what steps will be taken and the timeline that they can expect a phone call or the issue to be resolved. By having a plan in place, it protects you from minor repairs turning into major problems, and it keeps your tenants happy.

POSTED April 23 2015 1:47 PM

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