Wow! I haven’t posted on the Rocket Lease blog for some time now. We’ve been very busy with other things over here lately. But I did want to set aside some time today to write up a post for all you landlords out there. It focuses on managing tenant maintenance requests.
As you are all no doubt aware, maintenance requests are a very real and very important part of being a landlord. Heck, it doesn’t matter if you have one tenant or one hundred, you’ll definitely come up against a maintenance request before long.
A maintenance request in its most basic sense is a request from a tenant that you fix something that is broken or otherwise causing a problem in their unit. Generally, these are things that they can’t fix themselves or aren’t allowed to (as per the specifics in your lease agreement). Usually, they are reasonably serious things: a broken garbage disposal, a leaky faucet, a malfunctioning oven. But sometimes they can be small, minor things like a burnt out light bulb or a clogged drain. These last two things are annoying and, in some ways, shouldn’t be maintenance requests at all.
This is why it is important to note here that you should always be screening your tenants before renting to them. Generally, this tenant screening process (which we provide along with our online application services) will weed out bad tenants who will call on you for the simplest of requests. Good tenants, those that have passed a proper screening, generally are a bit more conscientious and courteous to their landlords.
The absolute key to managing tenant maintenance requests is handling everything in a timely and efficient manner. If the request is non-urgent, I usually recommend waiting no more than 2 days before checking on the problem. If it is an emergency, get over there as soon as possible. You don’t want a relatively minor problem developing into something that could harm any of your tenants or the property.
Promptly responding to maintenance requests will improve your standing with your tenants. It will improve your relationship with them and show them that you care about their needs and well-being. It will make you a good landlord in their eyes. It will also, one certainly hopes, limit the amount of minor requests that they call in for you to take care of.
Finally, a big part of tenant maintenance requests is doing preventative maintenance throughout the year. This is especially true of the time between when old tenants move out and new tenants move in. You should give your units and your property as a whole a once over during these times and fix anything that needs fixing or that looks to be old. This will greatly reduce the amount of maintenance that you have to do in the long run.
If you’re a landlord reading this, what do you think about tenant maintenance requests? Do you have a special system set up for managing them? Have you ever used an online tenant maintenance request management system for you? Do you have any other tips that might help a landlord deal with them? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.