No one likes to think about emergencies or worst-case-scenarios, but the more you are prepared for these catastrophes, the better you’ll be able to handle them. If your rental property is well-maintained and occupied with good tenants who help you take care of the home, emergencies should be rare.
However, anything can happen at any time. With an emergency plan in place, you won’t have to worry about where to start or what to do next.
As experienced St. Louis property managers, we know that tenant safety is the priority during a maintenance emergency. Once we know the tenants are safe, we move forward to protect your property.
Here’s how to handle your emergency rental maintenance requests.
Establish Expectations with Tenants
First, make sure you’ve effectively defined an emergency. You don’t want your tenants to call you in the middle of the night because the garbage disposal is stuck.
An emergency typically involves water, fire, or some kind of disrepair that will leave the property uninhabitable if not taken care of right away. So, a burst and leaking pipe or a fire in the laundry room, or a tree that’s crashed through a window will all be considered emergencies.
State the definition of an emergency in your lease agreement and discuss this definition with your tenants before they move in. A toilet that doesn’t work may be an emergency in a one-bedroom apartment, but in a three-bathroom house it necessarily doesn’t require a response outside of normal business hours.
Provide 24-hour Access
Tenants will need to get in touch with you when a maintenance emergency occurs. Make sure there is an emergency phone number or a hotline they can use to get to you. If you’re out of town or on vacation, you’ll need to provide contact information for someone local who can respond right away.
This is where a relationship with St. Louis property managers can be a major benefit. When you partner with a management company, they’ll be the first contact if there’s an emergency. You won’t have to worry about late night phone calls or interrupted weekends. Most property managers are prepared to respond 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Have Good Vendors in Place
Vendor relationships are especially important when there’s a maintenance emergency. You should already have in place a plumber, electrician, roofer, HVAC specialist, and other professionals you can call if something goes wrong. When you don’t have existing relationships in place with vendors and contractors, trying to get their attention during a maintenance emergency may be difficult.
Establish those relationships before you need them. Make sure they’re licensed, insured, and committed to doing good work for affordable prices.
Mitigate Potential Damages
Make sure you’re prepared to respond quickly. Not only does this show your tenants that you care about them and are eager to take care of the problem, it also prevents further damage and loss at your property. A water leak that doesn’t get immediate attention, for example, will eventually cause rot and mold. That’s an additional expense, and not an insignificant one.
If you’d like to talk more about the best way to handle maintenance emergencies at your St. Louis rental property, please contact us at Amoso Properties.