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Maintenance Call Tsunami

April 27, 2020

A Tidal Wave of Maintenance and Repairs Building Up

If your property maintenance scheduling feature wasn’t used much before, it’s likely going to get a workout in the summer.

Landlords are reporting that maintenance tickets are well down from normal levels. Many tenants don’t want contractors coming into their homes. And until there’s a Covid 19 vaccine, this reluctance might persist.

 A Good Example

You don’t have to go far for examples. I rent a house myself, and my landlord had to fix the crumbling front steps of the home. Sure enough, he and his contractor (without a mask) were doing cement and stone work and close-talking for hours.

It’s precisely why tenants won’t call you right now and why the early restart of the economy may bring bad news.

When Will They Call?

As equipment breakdown and tenant discomfort increase, you’ll be getting all those delayed service calls by June or July.

And with businesses returning to operation, landlords with commercial properties will be much busier responding to service calls. Should you be encouraging and handling maintenance calls now to avoid the Tsunami later?  Or how about just picking the most important repairs?

Take Care of Your Contractors

The nice thing about an automated online property maintenance management platform is in how you can prioritize tickets and service calls. That protects you and your contractors from needless exposure and time wasted.

And let’s face it, responding to bathroom and kitchen related repairs, means risk for you or your contractors.

Please have your contractors read our Corona Virus service call tips post to ensure they take every threat to their health seriously. Tenants too are at risk of Covid exposure when a busy tech maintenance person enters their home. It’s when things get busy that caution is forgotten.

Mistakes Could Have Legal Consequences

Sometimes, even the most careful, meticulous person can make a mistake. It’s human.

So please use discretion in forcing contractors to respond to tenant requests and that they are exercising good hygiene safety. Reassure tenants that you take the disease threat seriously too by talking specifically about Covid 19 transmission.

They want you to prove you’re taking this danger seriously. Given the horrible, lasting damage the virus does to a person, it may prove to be a bigger legal liability than many believe it is.

The return to work is necessary, but only those who practice good hygiene should be opening at this time. Review your post Covid work return strategy now, and enjoy a disease free 2020.

Which Maintenance Calls to Prioritize

You’ll have to prioritize maintenance tickets based on high severity. It’s wise to communicate to your tenants via your communications platform, texting, or email that they should not request non-emergencies.

When your tenants do a maintenance request via ManageCasa, they know you’re aware of it, and they can relax.  And they can add pictures, notes, and other observations which helps you decide whether it is something that needs immediate attention.

10 Important Repairs to Respond to:

  1. gas leaks
  2. plumbing repairs
  3. roof leaks
  4. bug/pest infestation
  5. door locks
  6. HVAC
  7. backed up toilets
  8. broken stairs
  9. elevator breakdown
  10. electrical failure

Some of these items might be prioritized based on government regulations. You should be well versed in landlord regulations so tenants don’t have reason to deny rent or take court action.

When you conduct repairs, it’s important to document everything, including all conversations with your tenants. We hate to remind you but there may be a run on court action and evictions as rent due piles up over the next 3 to 6 months. In court, some tenants may use any reason to justify not paying the rent, so they don’t get evicted. Some of them could have lawyers.

If it appears you’ve been neglectful or remiss, it could have an impact on proceedings. Otherwise, it’s your word against there’s.

Document Maintenance Well

Document well, since it’s quick and easy when you’re using an automated property maintenance platform. Takes the work out of it, and gives you a rock solid account of everything responded to, completed, and when it was done. Tenant signs off on everything.

We wish you all the best in managing your property management work this spring and summer. Let’s be positive but prepare for the worst too!

Read more on legal matters for landlords in our series of posts by pro landlord Gordon Leung. Never a better time to brush up on your legal responsibilities.

What is Property Maintenance Software?

 

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