There are quite a few things that tenants complain about , but maintenance problems are by far the most common issues raised. Not only can maintenance problems make life uncomfortable for your tenants, if left unchecked, they can also cause long-term problems for your property.
Although every property management company or landlord has their own way of dealing with maintenance issues, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Here are a just a few tips for dealing with rental property maintenance issues the right way.
Effective, constructive way for tenants to file a complaint
It all starts with building an effective, constructive way for tenants to file a complaint. Although many landlords still take complaints by phone or in person, online filing is gaining in popularity. Instead of having to fill out paperwork while speaking directly to your tenant, all maintenance issues are tracked online after the tenant enters their concerns.
No matter which method you choose, it should be clear to your tenants how issues should be raised. Make sure you place this information in their lease and consider providing them with a separate document as a reminder. Some property managers even provide convenient refrigerator magnets with this helpful information.
Deal with issues promptly
Every time a maintenance issue is raised, you should strive to deal with it quickly. Within 24 hours is best, but if you can’t make the repair that quickly, you should be very clear with your tenant about exactly when they can expect their issue to be resolved. Then, it’s just a matter of keeping your word.
You should also be very clear with your tenants about what qualifies as an emergency and what doesn’t. If the dishwasher stops working on a Saturday, waiting to raise the issue until Monday is best. If the ceiling is leaking water, the issue needs to be reported and repaired right away.
This step is often overlooked by property managers and landlords. After the repair is made, you may be tempted to move on from the issue altogether, but following up is always a good idea.
Not only does following up ensure that the maintenance issue has been resolved, it shows your tenants that their comfort is important to you. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss other non-emergency issues that a tenant may not normally report, like cracked tiles or a noisy refrigerators.
Keep the proper documentation
Every good maintenance program keeps the proper documentation. If the repair doesn’t stick, you can contact the contractor about their error and request additional repairs free of charge. Some repairs are tax deductible, which means you have to keep the proper documentation of every repair that you file with the IRS. Lastly, proper filing protects you in the event that a tenant wants to claim the repair wasn’t made, which is more common than you might think on move-out day.
Electronic documentation is the most efficient way to keep maintenance records, and there are many computer programs that can make keeping track of your requests and invoices easy. However, keeping an old-fashioned paper trail is also an option, especially if you aren’t comfortable with the idea of using a computer program.
Dealing with maintenance issues is cited as one of the most challenging aspects of owning a rental property. If you’d like a little help, consider having a property management company to do all the work for you! They can ensure that maintenance issues are dealt with promptly, which will keep your tenants happy and your property in good condition.
[HD1]Link to article titled ‘What Tenants Complain about Most’