When it comes to managing a property, it’s rare to have a regular clock in, clock out at normal business hours. At times, you need to perform maintenance tasks outside of the accepted 9 to 5.
As a Florida landlord, you need to know how to deal with property emergency maintenance of your rental unit past regular business hours. Though you can’t anticipate when emergency calls occur, it’s best to know how to handle rental emergencies and develop a contingency plan.
One way or the other, you get to encounter property emergencies when you become a landlord. It’s vital to learn what counts as an emergency. Initially, a renter may complain about a situation that brings discomfort and inconvenience but it can’t automatically be categorized as an emergency.
Some situations can be dealt with in the morning or during regular business hours.
How Do You Define a Property Emergency?
If you look at a situation and it has the potential to result in injury, serious property damage, or threat to a person’s health and safety, then this can count as an emergency.
Check the list below to see issues that are categorized as an emergency:
- Frozen pipes.
- Broken doors and locks that can’t be secured.
- Gas leak.
- Sewer backup and flood.
- Broken heater during winter.
- Broken air conditioning during a heat wave.
- Electrical issues.
- Leaking roof.
- Water emergencies.
What Situations Aren’t Labeled a Maintenance Emergency?
If a circumstance does not threaten the health or safety of the tenant, or the well being of the property, then this does not fall under an emergency. As a landlord, you still have a duty to remedy the property maintenance issue but it’s okay to handle it during the regular working period.
Check the list below to see issues that are NOT categorized as an emergency:
- Malfunctioning appliances.
- Lack of hot water availability.
- Lack of air conditioning (when it’s below 90 degrees outside).
- Lack of heat (when it’s below 50 degrees outside).
- Noise complaints.
- Minor leaks.
How to Deal With Rental Property Emergency Maintenance?
Developing a good landlord-tenant relationship requires being equipped to respond to tenant requests. If you’re able to handle property emergencies well, tenants are likely to renew their leases and stay for the long term.
Here are some essential tips for handling emergency maintenance in your rental home:
1. Increase reachability.
It’s important for the renters to get a sense that their landlords are available when they need them, especially during emergencies when they’re looking for an authoritative figure for guidance. Make sure your tenants are able to contact you with inquiries.
2. Prepare an emergency services contact information.
It’s understood for tenants to have contact emergency numbers of the police, fire, and utility services. As a landlord, you must go further and keep a list of vendors who can readily respond when there are leaking roofs or frozen pipes. Being prepared for emergencies allows you to stay calm and make decisions for the next steps to take.
3. Exercise open communication.
Practicing good communication with renters is great since you’re able to interact smoothly with the renters and provide the necessary updates and instructions.
4. Learn more about your landlord responsibilities.
Landlords have plenty of responsibilities, such as scheduling repairs and resolving emergencies. It’s important to know what warrants your immediate attention when presented with different property situations. If a scenario doesn’t put anyone’s health or safety at risk or doesn’t cause a property risk, then this can be handled at a later time.
You must also know how to delegate properly to your renters. Should a situation not be considered an emergency, then you can inform the renters when the property repair is scheduled.
5. Provide a space for understanding.
Some renters, especially new ones, may still be unable to identify what is considered an emergency. They may end up calling you during the late hours to ask for assistance.
If you deduce that the situation isn’t treated as an emergency, you can instruct renters to submit a maintenance request. Patience and understanding are required when you encounter this situation.
Cultivating Relationships With Maintenance Vendors
Having a set of trusted contractors at your service is essential if you want to run a successful rental property. It’s also important to perform a vendor screening when considering which ones to build a long-term network with.
Here are some tips on factors to seek when interviewing prospective vendors.
- Vendor reputation – check the vendor’s performance by researching online and reaching out for referrals. It’s recommended to choose vendors that have experience working with rental properties since they’re already aware of providing notice for property entry and responding quickly due to deadlines.
- Insurance coverage – it’s important for vendors to have the proper coverage so you won’t be liable for any legal, medical, or damage costs. You can ask potential vendors to submit a Certificate of Coverage before engaging their services.
- Clearly understands the relationship between timeline and cost – in rental properties, you’ll often get what you pay for, so it’s important to ask for multiple estimates, especially for a larger workload. Avoid overpaying and vendors that take a long time to complete a job. The best vendor can give an estimated completion date and has the ability to get things done on or before the deadline.
Engaging the Services of a Property Management Company
Similar to picking vendors, selecting the right property manager is also essential. You can review these factors to ensure you’re making the right decision:
- Area of expertise – look at specific areas of focus since different companies have a specialization. Choose one that has expertise in managing your own property type.
- The number of support staff – a sufficient number of people can get things done faster. This includes supporting staff such as administrative staff and maintenance employees.
- Property management services offered – look into the services and fees of a property manager
Are you looking for a trusted property manager to handle your rental? Call RentSmartUSA now! We offer top-quality services from marketing and tenant screening to rent collection and property maintenance.