Maintaining a property doesn’t come with set hours. You never know when heavy rain will result in flooding or a heater will break down in the middle of the night. For this reason, landlords must be prepared to handle any urgent property emergencies that occur, even if they are past midnight.

Attending after-hour emergencies can be tiring but landlords must develop an organized process to ensure that critical issues are promptly managed.

Identifying a Rental Property Emergency Maintenance

You should know how to categorize different property issues since some may not require immediate attention and can wait till morning. For example, a renter may complain about a malfunctioning washer. Even if they’re doing the laundry, you can still schedule an inspection in the morning and contact a contractor for repairs.

Landlords should always evaluate the situation first to determine if it should be labeled an emergency. This will help save resources and set clear expectations with the tenant in the long run.

Defining an Emergency

Landlords should simplify the definition of an emergency, so they can quickly decide whether they need to act immediately. Any situation that could potentially injure or harm tenants or cause property damage is automatically categorized as an emergency.

Below are examples of property situations that need immediate attention:

  • Flooding

  • Broken water pipes

  • Fire

  • Unsecured doors due to broken locks

  • Gas leaks

  • Lack of heat

  • Lack of air conditioning

  • Malfunctioning electrical system

  • Sewer backup and flood

  • Leaking roof

  • Extended power outage

  • Burglars

    Situations That Are Not Considered a Maintenance Emergency

    After carefully considering the situation and learning that the health and safety of the tenants and property is safe, you can resolve the issue in the morning, during regular business hours. Here are some examples of cases that property owners can address in the daytime:

  • Lack of hot water

  • Broken ice maker

  • Malfunctioning appliances

  • Noise complaints

  • Minor leaks

  • Arguments over a parking space

    Dealing With Rental Property Emergency Maintenance

    Tenants rely heavily on you when critical situations happen, so a landlord needs to be ready to manage all urgent matters. An effective procedure in handling a property emergency shows tenants that you can be calm in high pressure situations and instills confidence in your leadership.

Here are some things to keep in mind when tackling property emergency maintenance:

  • Availability: Renters can panic during emergencies so landlords must provide their contact information for renters to call them. You may not be able to fix the situation right away, but you are expected to be on top of things and issue instructions, provide answers, or update the renters on the latest situation.

  • Emergency services: Landlords must have the contact information for emergency services like police, fire, and ambulance readily available if an emergency were to occur. They must also know when it is the appropriate time to call such services.
  • Open communication: Be transparent and keep the renters in the loop even after an emergency. As a landlord, you must provide regular updates so renters know what’s happening.
  • Landlord responsibilities: Landlords must have a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are and be able to differentiate between normal wear and tear and a major repair.
  • Answering crucial questions: A landlord must learn to make good decisions quickly, especially during emergencies. Tenants look to you for guidance so make sure you have the right information and can provide the latest update.
  • Empathize and understand: Critical situations can leave people nervous and emotional. As a landlord, make sure to listen to the renters’ concerns, offer good solutions, issue answers, and guide them on what to do. Empathize with the renters when they break down or appear to panic.
  • Documentation: Communication may be verbal during an urgent scene but landlords must be able to record and document the emergency afterwards. Notes should be written on what took place, including estimates of repair costs. You should also be conducting follow-ups to ensure that the situation is fully resolved.

    Hiring Property Managers

    The success of a rental property can be attributed to professional management. To ensure you end up with the best in the industry, you need to make the right choice in selecting the property management team you’ll be working with.

Here are some important factors to consider when seeking a prospective property management company:

  • Area of expertise: Some companies are focused on HOAs, commercial units, and short-term vacation homes. It’s best to work with a team that’s an expert at taking care of your rental property type.
  • The number of support staff: Make sure that they have enough employees to ensure your rental operation runs smoothly. This includes the accountants, maintenance personnel, and administrative staff.
  • Available services: Assess the services provided by the property manager to make sure that they’re bringing in value.

    Bottom Line

    It is important that both landlords and tenants are aware of the differences between maintenance concerns that require immediate attention and those that can wait until business hours.

Effective emergency maintenance management, however, can be difficult for time-pressed property owners. Here's where having a dependable property management business like NFI Property Management Solutions can really help.

We can relieve the pressure of emergencies so you can concentrate on what really matters. We do this through our experience, availability around-the-clock, and network of trustworthy contractors. If you want to own a rental property with ease, think about working with NFI Property Management Solutions.