What Rental Maintenance Issues are True Emergencies?
Hi, this is Tanya with Envy Property Management. When you are a landlord, upkeep and general maintenance, including preventative maintenance are just a small part of the rental property gig. However, tenants will sometimes believe that their maintenance request is the most important and it’s always an emergency. So, a question you might ask as a landlord is what rental maintenance issues are true emergencies and what can wait for regular business hours?
True Emergencies Include:
- Gas Leak
- Electrical (sometimes)
- Heating/AC (sometimes)
- Other things like backed-up sewer lines or a leaking roof.
For items such as these, and especially when there is a risk for damage to the property quick action by the landlord is required.
#1- Gas Emergencies:
If a tenant complains about a gas smell, you need to respond quickly. Leaking gas could lead to major problems, plus not all tenants are aware of how dangerous gas leaks can actually be.
Most of the time calls for a gas smell is an easy fix, there may be a loose gas connection or even a pilot light that needs to be re-lit. But no matter what, gas smell requires prompt attention.
Call the gas company that services your property, they will give you instructions on what to do and how to handle the situation.
#2- Electrical Emergencies:
Electrical issues aren’t always considered emergencies, sometimes the power will simply be out in the entire neighborhood. If that’s the case, there is nothing we can do. You can however instruct the tenant to call the power company to notify them of the outage and to get an idea of when they plan on having the power restored.
If only their property is without power it’s likely a tripped breaker, this is easy to talk the tenant through how to check for and reset a tripped breaker over the phone.
Other electrical calls like smoke coming from an outlet or melted cords are true emergencies. Shut the power off and get a hold of an electrician to diagnose the problem.
#3- Flood Emergencies:
We’ve had our fair share of water emergencies at EPM, any type of flooding or water entering the home should always be considered a true emergency. Water will typically not hurt anyone, but water can cause a lot of damage inside a property and needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. A good rule of thumb, when a tenant moves into your property, show them where the main water shut off valve is. This way, if there ever is a water emergency they can shut off the main water to the house. Obviously, if this is a weather-related water emergency, turning off the water to the house likely won’t solve the problem, so getting to the property quickly to assess the situation and the source of water is critical.
#4- Heating and A/C Emergencies:
A smart landlord will know the local laws regarding time allowed to respond to heating and A/C related issues in their rental properties. Sometimes vendors are not able to get to your property for the repairs right away, so it’s always important to have portable A/C units and heaters on hand to provide to your tenants until the repair can be completed.
For example: If the temperature drops below 50 degrees, take portable heaters to your tenants until the repair can be completed. Or if the temperature exceeds 85 degrees, take a portable A/C unit to your tenants until the repair can be completed. Again, this is just an example, be sure to check your local laws for how long you have to respond to heating and cooling issues at your rental property.
#5- Other Emergencies:
There are other emergency situations at your rental property that need to be addressed in a timely manner including, backed-up sewer lines or a leaking roof. For these kinds of problems, communicate with your tenant your intent to have the issue resolved and the time frame you plan to have it completed. Proper contractors will need to be contacted and scheduled and we are often subject to their time frame and schedule. Keep the tenant informed and involved with the process so they know you are taking care of the situation, even if it isn’t being resolved immediately.
Any other maintenance issues can usually be placed on the “non-emergent” maintenance schedule.
Non-Urgent Maintenance Issues Include:
- Broken Garbage Disposal
- Outlets Not Working
- Pest Control Issues
- Dripping Faucets
- Appliance Repair Issues
Your job as a landlord is to prioritize these requests accordingly but still try to get them scheduled in a timely manner. Don’t let a broken kitchen cabinet go for weeks on end. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS communicate with your tenants, most tenants will be understanding if they know you are aware of the issue and working on getting it resolved.
If all of this seems too overwhelming, and you want help choosing a Northern Utah property management company with years of experience, please contact us at Envy Property Management. We are a wealth of information when it comes to professional property management of your investment. You can always ask us for valuable tips and extra resources to make the choice simple and painless. Give us a call today, 801-337-4337 or visit our website at envypm.com where you can easily view our three-tiered pricing plan, so you can choose the package that best fits you and your needs.