There are strings attached to the landlord-tenant relationship that cause tension. It can be difficult for the landlord or property manager to be seen as anything other than the one taking the residents’ money each month. That part of the relationship isn’t one you can control. After all, you can’t just not collect the rent from them to keep them happy. It’s part of the contractual obligation; one the residents agreed to by signing the lease. So in order to keep tenants happy, it pays to focus on the parts of the relationship you can control. It all comes down to how you handle maintenance.
Maintenance Maintains the Relationship
How you handle and address both big and small maintenance issues speaks volumes to residents. It plays a huge part in retention vs tenant-turnover (aka a landlord’s biggest expense). So in order to help foster good vibes with your tenants, make sure to address any and all maintenance issues quickly, efficiently, and professionally. But how do you do that? Luckily, there are a few easy steps to follow to provide quality maintenance:
#1: Communication is King
Respond to any and all requests that come in. Even if you decide not to proceed with the repair (such as cosmetic repair requests), keep your residents in the loop as to your plan of action. If you plan to proceed, let your resident know the next steps (i.e. vendor contact info, scheduling, etc.). If the request is something that doesn’t need to be done right away, isn’t reasonable for your budget and isn’t a habitability or emergency issue, or something that doesn’t need repair at all, inform your resident why their request has been denied. Keep the lines of communication open. Whether the answer is “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know yet,” responding is important to keeping tenants happy.
#2: Write it Down
It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day of property management and all too often misunderstandings occur. This is why it’s important to keep a paper trail. Require all maintenance requests to be submitted in writing in order to avoid that pitfall. If you’re unsure what the tenant is requesting, ask for clarification. Hold on to those request records and keep a detailed log of when and what was done. Not only does this show your residents that you’re professional and organized, it also covers you in the event the relationship sours and takes a litigious turn.
#3: Timing is Everything
Time is critical when it comes to maintenance repairs on your rental. Whether the request is for a leaking water heater or broken garbage disposal, excellent service dictates that it be addressed quickly and properly. In many states, emergency situations also have a time stamp on when and how you need to address them, so be aware of any and all legal requirements in your area. Repairing problems quickly and properly the first time not only keeps tenants happy, it also protects your property from further damage. Doing so is a win-win for everyone involved!
#4: A Reliable Roster
Not all maintenance requests can be solved with DIY. For that reason, it’s important to keep a reliable roster of professional contractors and maintenance repairmen that can address any and all issues quickly and efficiently. Vet your vendors carefully and make sure you know which contractors can handle what jobs that could possible arise. From electricians to plumbers to mitigation and remediation companies, make sure you have a list of reliable vendors to call for every possible situation. Knowing who to send makes a big difference on timing and helps speed things along.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to keep every tenant you work with happy. Situations arise that call for hard decisions, many of which aren’t what your tenant wants to hear. Other times, you can bend over backward to get things done and your resident still isn’t satisfied. Such is the nature of working with people. The key takeaway here is to make sure you do everything in your power to be professional, efficient, and provide the best customer service you possibly can. Focus on what you can control and keep on striving towards excellence!
And in the event you find you don’t have the time to commit to managing your rental properly, you’re not comfortable doing so, of you just prefer a hands-off approach, Overland Management can help! Our team has years of experience in residential property management. Contact us today! We have a reliable team handling any and all maintenance issues that can arise at any given time. We’re confident we can help and provide the value you’re looking for!