5 Tips Landlords MUST KNOW For Handling Emergencies at Your Rental Property
Hi, this is Tanya with Envy Property Management. I had another topic to talk about in today’s video, however, I was inspired to do something different today. This week, in Utah (specifically Davis and Weber counties) we experienced a significant wind storm. The reports came back with wind gusts up to 110 miles per hour, this would be the same as a category 3 hurricane if Utah was located on the coast.
At Envy, we had at minimum, a dozen properties with damage including downed trees, fence damage, roof damage, and debris everywhere. The winds started in the middle of the night and the next morning our phones were ringing off the hook, all day long! This was a true state of emergency, and many cities did in fact declare a state of emergency due to all the damage. So this wind storm is what inspired my video topic today, because even though we had significant damage to multiple properties and at the beginning of the month, our busiest time, we were able to streamline the calls and work orders and get things scheduled and taken care of very quickly. So I came up with the top 5 tips landlords must know for handling emergencies in their rental properties.
#1- Be Prepared:
The first line of defense in an emergency is to be prepared! We all know emergencies will happen, it’s just a matter of time. Even though we may not know what or when or be able to predict the emergency situation, it’s important to have systems and processes in place when they do come up.
- Are your tenants aware of the process to take when an emergency comes up?
- Do you have a 24-hour emergency line that allows tenants to call anytime, even if the emergency is in the middle of the night?
- Do you take care of all emergencies yourself or do you have an emergency service you use?
- Are you prepared for an emergency on your rental property if you happen to be out of town when the emergency occurs?
- Do you have a list of qualified, vetted vendors to use if you aren’t able to handle the emergency yourself?
These are all very important questions you need to ask yourself as a landlord, there are laws in place that require you to respond to an emergency within a certain amount of time. I encourage you to educate yourself on your local laws regarding the length of time you have to respond to an emergency on your property. This doesn’t mean it has to be done and taken care of immediately, but you do need to communicate with your tenant and have a plan in place for how the emergency will be handled.
#2- Have a Plan:
Although we can’t predict what emergencies will actually happen, we can have a plan in place for certain scenarios. At Envy, we document each emergency scenario and then carefully map out the process to take for that specific situation.
- Wind Storm: Because of advanced technology, we typically are aware of weather-related emergencies before they actually happen. In the case of the wind storm this week, we were aware it was going to be happening a few days in advance. Tenants will be responsible for doing their part in preparing, including bringing in any outdoor items that can come inside, tying down larger items that can fly away, and other things like that. As landlords, we can prepare by having a game plan for the day after. At EPM, we prepared by having our chainsaws serviced, chains sharpened, and a dump trailer available for the impending post-storm cleanup.
- Other examples include: Having portable A/C units for when air conditioning is broken, heaters for when the furnace goes out, or small refrigerators when a fridge breaks. These are important things to have on hand, especially in the very hot or very cold weather and all the HVAC companies are extremely busy and it can take a couple of days.
I’m going to go into more detail about our process and plans for emergencies we have here at EPM in next week’s video.
#3- Be Available:
Make sure you are available for your tenants to contact you, there’s nothing more frustrating for a tenant than to have an emergency at the property they are renting but can’t get ahold of the landlord. If you know you are going to be unavailable, make sure your tenants are aware and have the information necessary if an emergency does come up at the property.
#4- Have a List of Qualified Vendors:
Even if you are the handiest of landlords, it’s always a good idea to have a list of qualified vendors to have on hand, especially if an emergency occurs. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation similar to our wind storm we had this week and not be able to get ahold of any vendors to come to take down your trees that are on top of your house. At Envy, we are fortunate to have the resources available for most emergencies, but as a DIY Landlord, I would make sure you always have a good list of reliable vendors to choose from.
Last, and the most important tip of all is…..
#5 – Communication:
Most tenants are going to be understanding during an emergency, but the most frustrating thing to a tenant will be a lack of communication. Even though you may be on it and getting everything done and taken care of on your end, if your tenant doesn’t know this, they may think nothing is getting done. Make sure you are communicating with your tenants and letting them know your plan to get things done and taken care of.
Thanks for watching today’s video on 5 tips for handling emergencies. My name is Tanya with Envy Property Management, make sure you subscribe to receive more valuable information about your investment properties. If you have any questions about property management or what we can do to help you increase your return on investment, please call us at 801-337-4337, or visit our website at envypm.com.