One of the most challenging tasks in property management is effectively handling maintenance issues quickly, especially on big properties. In addition, it can sour relationships and cause confrontations between tenants and property manager, if the repair is not done on time or not done satisfactorily. One of the best ways of handling this issue is to have an efficient system in place and train the staff to keep to the established protocol. Here are few important points that can help you develop a marvelous system.
Submission of Request
The first step would be to make submission of requests convenient for tenants. It would be reassuring for tenants when there is a separate line of communications specifically for such requests. One of the best ways is to have an online maintenance request form, which is simple and direct. Receiving maintenance requests by phone is convenient for the tenant, but make sure you have a responsible person attending to the call and there is a system for forwarding the request to the concerned maintenance personnel.
Scheduling According to Urgency
After receiving requests, it is vital to prioritize the work according to urgency or the severity of the problem. It is best to categorize different common problems and designate each issue with required low, moderate, or high level of priority. This is to be used as a common guideline for staff to follow, but it should not be a rigid parameter.
High priority complaints should be looked into on the same day or within a few hours, and attended to, if possible. Moderate priority issues can have two days deadline for fixing the problem, whereas low priority jobs can be fixed within the week.
Examples of high priority maintenance issues:
- Gas smell
- Major leak in the plumbing
- Bug or fungal infestation
- Clogged toilet
- Malfunction of HVAC
- Major issues that compromise structural integrity of the building
- Accumulated snow or water after a storm
- Windows or doors that do not lock
- Lighting in the common areas
Moderate priority issues:
- Dripping or leaking faucets
- Internal light fixture is not working
- Clogged sink or shower drain
Low Priority Issues:
- Stained carpet
- Cracked tile or damaged flooring that is not a hazard for walking
- Issues with the cabinets in the unit
- Molding repair
- Small cracks or hole in the wall
Determining the Personnel for Fixing the Issue
After prioritizing the issues, you need to allocate the work to the respective personnel. This will depend whether you have a maintenance team or you are hiring repair services. Most delays occur at this stage, as the repair service may not be available or your staff is attending to some other issue. As a property manager, you might have to make some crucial decisions by judging priorities, mood of the tenant, and the overall situation.
Completing the Work
If the work is inside the unit, it is best to do it when the tenant is present, or ask for permission to enter the unit. After completing the work, ask the tenant to sign a note that says that the work was completed on the particular time and date.