The proper handling of maintenance requests is an important part of your tenant retention plan. To avoid vacancies and turnover costs at your San Mateo rental property, make sure you have a process in place to respond to those maintenance issues. Tenants will expect things to be fixed quickly. You can’t do that if you’re not staying up-to-date on what the current maintenance needs are.
A consistent and effective process for collecting those repair requests and taking care of the problems is also an excellent way to protect the condition of your investment property. Good maintenance practices not only keep your residents happy and secure, they also allow your property to continue increasing in value. You don’t want to leave your property at risk for deferred and unreported maintenance. It’s costly and it leads to deterioration and a loss of value.
Not sure how to handle repair requests from your tenants?
We have some great advice, as experts providing property management services in the Peninsula.
Emergency Maintenance and Your San Mateo Rental Property
Emergencies are often unexpected, and they require an immediate response and a sense of urgency from both you and your tenants. If there’s a fire or a flood or something dramatic that affects the safety of your tenants and the habitability of your home, it might be difficult to stop and think about the reporting process that’s in place.
So, keep it simple.
A phone call is usually best when we’re talking about emergencies at your rental property. Tenants should call you as soon as the problem is noticed, or as soon as it is safe to do so. No time should be wasted when there’s an emergency that can potentially harm someone or damage your property.
The reporting process is important, but before you can put that together, you’ll want to be sure your tenants understand what emergencies are. This isn’t always as clear as you might imagine.
Anything can seem like an emergency to an aggrieved tenant. When the garbage disposal gets stuck or a cabinet starts pulling away from its hinge; those are inconvenient issues, but nothing that would necessitate a middle-of-the-night phone call.
A toilet that’s not flushing right is actually not an emergency if there is another toilet or two in the property. But, a toilet that won’t flush in a one-bathroom property is an emergency.
Be specific about what qualifies as an emergency, because those are the calls you’ll be getting in the middle of the night or over the weekend or while you’re on vacation. Have this discussion with your tenants as they’re moving in.
How to Process Routine Maintenance Requests from San Mateo Residents
Routine repairs do not require a phone call.
It’s actually better for documentation purposes if you require a written request rather than a verbal one when it comes to routine maintenance.
These routine issues are likely to feel inconvenient for your tenants. They will still be anxious to receive an immediate and efficient response from you, and if you’re interested in retaining those tenants, you’ll want to act quickly. Let them know that the problem is being taken care of and you have a plan to fix or replace whatever is needed.
Accepting electronic maintenance requests is easy for us, because as a Peninsula property management company, we have invested in great technology which provides our renters with an online tenant portal. That’s where residents can make routine requests when something is wrong or needs attention. These repairs are often responded to in a day or two, so there’s really no delay.
If you’re not already working with a San Mateo property manager, you might not have the resources necessary to provide an online portal or a streamlined maintenance request process that happens online. But, you can still accept the request in writing. Ask tenants to email you or send a text message. You can use any messaging app, really, to collect and organize maintenance requests.
We like having written repair requests because:
It allows tenants to make requests at times that they find convenient. They don’t have to worry about waiting until normal business hours to make a phone call.
- This process allows you to document when the request came in.
- It allows tenants to be as detailed as possible in describing what is wrong. Pictures and videos can even be uploaded in tenant portals to show what’s going on.
Most important is there’s a record of how the repair was handled. You have a written timeline and a sequence of events that can protect you if a tenant claims a repair was not made. It also helps you plan for when preventative maintenance may be needed going forward. If you’re trying to decide when to replace a refrigerator, for example, you can review how often you’ve had to fix it in the last year or two.
Remember to respond to those routine repairs with the same sense of urgency you would in an emergency. It’s the best way to retain your tenants – with responsive, active maintenance policies.
Partner with Excellent Vendors and Contractors
Whatever your maintenance process is, you’ll need a team of fantastic vendors and contractors to help you respond to these issues as they arise. It’s not always easy to assemble such a team, and that’s another great reason to work with a property management partner.
If you’re committed to managing on your own, your maintenance request process will require that you create your own list of preferred vendors and contractors. Look for professionals who are licensed and insured, as well as reliable and reputable. You don’t want to wait for days to have a repair completed, and you want to make sure that if there’s an emergency, the workers you hire can be there when you need them.
The goal is to make your maintenance process as resident-friendly as possible. This will contribute to a more positive rental experience and lower maintenance costs. It will also save you from turnover.
Communicate as much as possible and always follow up to ensure the work is completed. If you don’t want to worry about maintenance, consider turning the San Mateo property management process over to our team. We’d be glad to help. Contact us at Bayside Management. We lease, manage, and maintain investment properties in San Mateo and around the Peninsula, including San Carlos, Redwood City, Pacifica, San Bruno, Half Moon Bay, Daly City, Mountain View, Foster City, and Palo Alto.