It’s critical to be able to respond quickly to emergency maintenance as a property manager. It can be detrimental to both your tenant and customer relationships if you take too long to reply to maintenance problems. Tenants may grow irritated, and a delay in responding could cost your client thousands of dollars. If you miss an emergency, you may be held liable for the harm you were responsible to prevent. Water damage, fire, security, and other issues require immediate care to avoid further harm to the property.
Creating a strategy for dealing with emergency maintenance requests will ensure that they are dealt with as soon as they arrive. That’s why you should have a plan to follow within the different stages but first thing first.
What Does “Emergency Maintenance” Mean?
Understanding what constitutes an emergency is an important part of knowing what to do when maintenance difficulties develop. A maintenance emergency repair is something that requires immediate care that, if left unattended to, can endanger the property’s and occupants’ health and safety. Some examples of situations that will necessitate immediate response are listed below.
- Service for burst pipes
- Flooding or significant flooding damage
- Severe storm damage or a fire
- A gas leak has occurred.
- Sewer that is clogged or broken
- A shortage of hot water
- Electrical problems can are extremely dangerous
- There is a serious roof leak.
- Detecting carbon monoxide
- Power outage for an extended period of time
Emergencies that may arise during maintenance
Many things can cause tenants distress or annoyance, but the context in which the problem arises can sometimes decide whether or not it is an emergency.
Heater Is Not Working
In the middle of winter, a loss of heat may be an emergency, but if you uncover any problems with your heating system during the summer, it will still need to be repaired, but it will not be an emergency. It is still necessary to submit a maintenance request, but the repairs can be postponed until a more suitable time.
Air Conditioning Failure
While not always considered an emergency, if your cooling system goes down in the middle of summer and you’re having a particularly hot spell, air conditioning is critical to the tenants’ health and well-being, and any repairs should be addressed as soon as possible.
Although a clogged sink or toilet necessitates immediate care, it is not necessarily an emergency. When the entire plumbing system and sewer become clogged, it becomes an emergency.
What Doesn’t Qualify as an Emergency?
A condition is not regarded an emergency if it does not pose a direct threat to health, safety, or property. These issues should be reported and fixed within 14 days, but they may not need to be addressed immediately. Here are a few examples:
- Lightbulb changes
- Failure of a non-essential appliance
- Doorknobs that have broken
- Minimal leaks
Develop an emergency maintenance standard operating procedure/plan or process.
The greatest method to order your thoughts and prepare for the unexpected is to make a plan and turn it into a process. Depending on the size and maturity of your firm, the breadth and scope of your emergency plans should vary greatly.
- Receipt of the tenant’s request for maintenance.
- Determine the nature of the tenant’s request.
- Investigate the possible emergency.
- To handle the emergency request, dispatch the relevant person or service.
- Notify the appropriate clients or employees that an emergency has occurred.
- Confirm that the emergency has been resolved satisfactorily.
Receiving Maintenance Requests from Tenants
Tenants require a dependable and simple method of submitting emergency maintenance requests. If these aren’t expressed explicitly, they may come up with inventive ways to contact you in an emergency. This could cause delays in responding or perhaps cause you to miss the request entirely. In general, in an emergency, individuals want to speak with someone right away. If tenants don’t have a phone number to call in an emergency, they can fill out the form online – or not at all. The problem with online submissions is that most of them lack a mechanism for alerting your team when something has to be addressed right away. Even email alerts are insufficient to distinguish an emergency from routine maintenance requests.
Tenant Requests for Repairs
Tenants must be able to submit emergency maintenance requests in a secure and convenient manner. If these aren’t specified clearly, they may come up with inventive ways to contact you in the event of an emergency. This could cause you to miss out on the request or cause you to respond slowly. In general, when there is an emergency, individuals want to speak with someone right away. Tenants who don’t have a phone number to call in an emergency might submit the request online – or not at all. The issue with online submissions is that most of them lack a mechanism for alerting your team when something needs to be addressed right away. Even email alerts aren’t sophisticated enough to distinguish between routine maintenance and an emergency.
Determine and resolve the Tenant’s Request
Some renters may use the ability to report a maintenance issue at any time, even if it isn’t an emergency. That’s why it’s critical that whoever answers the phone can accurately diagnose if the problem requires quick attention. You might be able to troubleshoot the issue and either direct the tenant to a solution or de-escalate it to a routine maintenance request in some situations.
What constitutes a maintenance emergency, then? Any situation that could result in injury, jeopardize health, or cause major property damage if not addressed immediately is considered an emergency that should not be put off until normal business hours. Here are some examples of emergency situations:
- Water leaks that are not halted by turning off the unit’s water supply
- In the unit, there is no running water.
- There is no air conditioning above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is no heat in subzero temps.
- Security difficulties such as broken windows, doors, or other security-related issues
- Power outages that aren’t caused by or connected to the utility
- Gas leaks, carbon monoxide leaks, and flames are all life-threatening circumstances.
What if the Tenant is the One Who Is at Fault?
If the damage or problem was caused by the renter, the renter is responsible for all repairs. The rental provider or property management must present the tenant with a documented “repair notice” that includes the following information:
if they want the renter to repair the damage or whether the rental provider will repair it, and what the damage is that the harm was caused by the renter.
If the tenant is responsible for the repairs, they must be completed within 14 days and to the required standard. If the tenant fails to do so, the rental provider may arrange for the repair to be done at the renter’s expense.
If the rental provider or property management arranges for repairs, the renter can be asked to cover the reasonable cost of repairs – that is, a sum that is reasonable in the circumstances.
Repairing the Damage
Once you’ve identified the problem, you’ll need to decide if you (or your team) can solve it on your own or if you’ll need to hire a professional. Consider the task’s skill level as well as the amount of time it will take to finish it. It may be beneficial to have a list of emergency contractors on hand who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When time is of the essence, this will eliminate the need to call around.
Notify others about the emergency and confirm that it has been resolved
You should tell the property owners as soon as possible after the emergency has been resolved. You should also follow up with the tenant to ensure that the emergency has been resolved completely.
Having a strategy in place for what to do in an emergency, whether it’s an overflowing toilet or a structural fire, will make it easier and less stressful to address and you to become the best property manager to work with.