Maintenance Expectations: What it really means to serve your residents

One major perk of renting (from a renter’s perspective) is an on-call maintenance staff. We hear it all the time, whenever a friend makes the leap from renter to homeowner, they mourn the loss of a maintenance team and begrudgingly accept the financial burden of fixing whatever breaks.

With this perk, however, comes serious accountability on behalf of the management company.

Some property managers may be surprised by their tenants’ expectations, but when you consider these renters rely on you to keep their space livable, these requests are actually quite reasonable.

To clear up the murky waters of maintenance courtesy, here are three things your residents should expect from your handy team.

  1. A timely response

When a pipe clogs, a window breaks, or a mouse is spotted, your renters want immediate help. This means answering the phone, listening to the issue, and sending someone over as soon as your service team is available. It’s important that maintenance issues are addressed by a phone call within the same day if the call comes in before late afternoon. If an issue cannot be addressed until the following day, you should give a clear reason as to why, and offer the tenant suggestions for how to cope in the meantime. Also, if the issue creates an unlivable environment—like no water access, sewage issues, or a serious pest invasion—putting them up in a nearby hotel for the night would help compensate for the inconvenience.

  1. An actual emergency maintenance number

We all know maintenance issues can arise any time. A busted pipe pays no attention to the confines of your office hours, so having a true emergency maintenance number to call when things go awry is crucial. An automated answering machine identified as an “emergency maintenance line” does not suffice as a timely resource for your tenants if a technician does not contact them within the hour of the first call. Be sure your team knows the appropriate response time for an emergency call or provide a direct line to their phone so renters can get through to someone right away.

  1. Updates on repair progress

Once a repair has been made, tenants want to be assured their space is back to normal. A simple phone call to let your resident know how the issue was resolved, or to inform them your team will need more time to complete a repair, is important. By keeping your renters in-the-know, you’ll avoid repeat maintenance calls and unsatisfied residents.

One of the hard truths about renting is the vulnerability involved. Since the space residents live in is not their own, they are often at the mercy of the management company. So it’s important to make sure that you’re serving the people who call your community home.  It’s just good business to ensure that you’re understanding the maintenance expectations of your tenants.