Often, potential property management landlords ask us questions about how tenant repair requests are handled for their rental property.
More specifically, they might wonder "How do you decide what repairs to make to my home? Will you call me every time? Do you always get multiple estimates? What vendors do you use?"
What it really comes down to is that landlords are concerned that they will be charged every time the tenant submits a repair request and that it will cost them a lot of money.
We understand how hard it is to have someone else - i.e., a property management company - have access to your money so that we have the discretion to spend your money to make repairs. However, as a property management company with long, trusted relationships with landlords, we can assure you that we are very careful and thoughtful with our decisions and do not take your trust lightly. Though we know spending money is not fun, sometimes it is necessary and we have to make quick decisions to best protect all parties to the lease. (See Renting Your Home: What Does A Property Manager Do?)
To provide you with more perspective, here are the types of categories and repair requests we regularly encounter.
Tenant Repair Categories
The first thing we do when we receive a tenant repair request is to immediately assess which of three categories the repair falls into:
1. Safety & Liability Tenant Repair Situations
Is it affecting the safety of the tenants and thus exposing the landlord and property manager to liability?
We treat these repairs as urgent and will immediately kick into action to repair the problem. We will update you as soon as we can, however, repairing the problem takes first priority. An example would be a burst water pipe that is flooding the basement, having no heat when it is 10 degrees outside, or an electric box that is sparking and has an odor. These are unsafe situations and we need to repair the problem immediately.
2. Plumbing, Mechanical & Electrical Tenant Repair Request
These are inconvenient but not usually unsafe.
Per the lease, the landlord needs to provide working systems, yet may be able to wait a day or two while we gather information and estimates. For instance, a non-working toilet when there are three other working toilets in the home, a non-working dishwasher, a non-working washing machine, or not having heat on a gorgeous 70 degree day are not emergencies.
We can't delay too long; if the call comes in at 10 pm, we can wait until office hours the next day, thus avoiding the expense of an emergency call to a vendor.
3. Maintenance and Aesthetic Tenant Repair Requests
If it's aesthetic, for instance a mover caused a gash in the wall or something similar, we will note that in the file and may or may not repair it right away because it doesn't affect the habitability of the home. Other examples would be a stain on the carpet, a rip in the kitchen floor, etc....
We want our landlords to know that we take seriously their trust in us to handle their money appropriately.
We are careful with how we spend the money of our landlords and use our best discretion in all cases. Most of the time our landlords are in agreement with us. However, every now and then there is a disagreement and we use our experience and best discretion in all of these situations.
We have been in the property management business since 1998, have managed thousands of homes, have a full time team and own rental properties ourselves. We understand how you feel and are here to help.
Let us know what questions you have about dealing with tenant repair requests.