Preventative maintenance is the best way to protect the condition of your New York City investment property. When you’re proactive about checking all the systems and functions involved in the property, you’ll find you have fewer emergency and routine repairs that need your attention. Things will last longer, such as heating and cooling units, appliances, lighting, and floors.
Even with the best preventative maintenance plans in place, things are bound to break. Repairs and replacements will be needed as long as you have tenants in the property. The more these things get used – the more likely they are to deteriorate. You’ll need to be prepared for these calls for help that come in from your tenants.
How will you handle the repair requests that come in from tenants?
If you don’t have a system in place already, you need to put one together. Tenants expect their maintenance needs to be a priority, and even if you can get to something right away, you at least want to let them know that you’re putting together a plan to address the issue.
A good maintenance response will protect the condition of your home, and it will also increase your tenant retention. Both of these things help your cash flow and your long term ROI.
One of the benefits to having professional property management in New York City is that you have a team taking care of these maintenance requests for you. There’s already a process. There are already vendors. There’s not much for you to do. But, if you’re not working with a New York City property manager, and you need some help putting together a process for handling maintenance requests, we have some ideas that come from our years of experience.
Once the initial damage is done and the crisis is stopped, the appropriate restoration methods can be undertaken. This is where the damage will be assessed and some context will be given to the overall situation. Water restoration companies can be called, for example. Insurance claims can be initiated.
Routine Maintenance Requests in New York
Routine repairs should have their own reporting process. Written maintenance requests are better than a phone call.
Most New York property management companies have an online tenant portal, where residents can make routine requests when something is wrong or needs attention.
- Written maintenance requests allow tenants to make requests on their own time. They don’t have to worry about waiting until normal business hours or bothering you in the evening.
- You’ll have an accurate date and time stamp reflecting when the request came in.
- Tenants can 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.
- You will have a record of how the repair was handled. A written maintenance request will provide a timeline and a sequence of events that can protect you if a tenant claims a repair was not made.
Written repair requests also help 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.
If you’re managing on your own, you may not have access to the technology that allows for an online portal. 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.
Respond Quickly to Tenant Maintenance Requests
Emergencies require an immediate response. You cannot leave safety and habitability issues alone for even a few days. Tenants need running water and electricity.
Your process should include a plan to respond to routine maintenance requests with the same sense of urgency that you have when responding to maintenance emergencies. It’s good customer service and it will keep your tenants happy. When repairs are handled quickly it shows the tenants that you’re responsive and you care about their needs. It also means your property is better protected.
Maintenance Responses Lead to Better Tenant Retention
Having a solid plan or two in place for how to respond to tenant maintenance requests is an important part of your preventative maintenance strategy. You won’t have to worry about deferred and unreported maintenance making an expensive mess of your property. You’ll know and trust that your tenants are helping you take care of your home. That’s going to protect the condition of your investment and contribute to the increasing value of that asset.
Keep your residents. Avoid the turnover and vacancy costs that come with your tenants moving out. A responsive maintenance plan will help you achieve better tenant retention.
These tips for good maintenance request procedures should help you enjoy a smooth and well-documented process. If you’d like some help, please contact us at Krieger Property Management.