Many tenants are under the impression that property management starts acting only when an issue pops up, and therefore they should be available any time of the day or night. Most tenants are highly sensitive if their issues are not addressed immediately, which could be anything from a noisy neighbor to peeling paint. Unfortunately, tenants do not realize that property managers have a very hectic schedule, where they take care of daily tasks, do administrative work, and conduct inspections to prevent issues before they start affecting tenants.
Therefore, it is necessary for property management to educate tenants about priorities, and in exercising discretion about what is considered urgent and knowing about issues that can wait.
Tenants should know what would constitute an emergency that would require immediate action from property management. Such things would include fire, pest or mold infestation, and lapse in security, water damage, and severe structural damage. All this situations call for immediate intervention on the part of property management to correct the issue.
Do Not Delay
At the same time, delaying in complaining about any issue is not going to help property management. For instance, if the tenant notices an issue with the dishwasher, it can be reported immediately, instead of delaying the complaint for a few days and waiting for an appropriate time. When the matter is delayed, property management will not be able to contact the service contractor on time, and could end up with extra charge for coming on weekends to repair the problem. If the parts are not available, it could cause further delays. Hence, it is best to report issues as soon as possible, but wait for them to be fixed according to their priority.
Expecting After-Hours Service
Some properties provide 24 hours resolution service through a call center. However, the staff is mainly trained to resolve simple issues like providing information about property rules, pool hours and so on. The call center will of course relay urgent issues to property management, but tenants cannot expect immediate resolution of issues like noisy neighbor or a dog barking, after office hours. Calling repeatedly is not going to solve the problem, and the tenant might not even receive a return call.
Service and Responsibility
Even though excellent customer service should be the priority for property management, the responsibility of tenants cannot be ruled out. The property manager is not expected to bend rules to resolve a problem that has been brought on by an irresponsible tenant. For instance, when a tenant forgets to pay for utilities, property management is not required to address the problem, until the bills are paid.
Property management will have to take the initiative for managing all types of situations by taking a proactive approach. Establish guidelines for reporting issues and complaints, and communicate to tenants when the various services will be available. It is important to be consistent in delivering what is promised, as that will promote goodwill and build better relationships with tenants. Additionally, review service contract policies and adopt measures to create a better work environment and at the same time resolve problems quickly and efficiently.