As a property manager, there aren’t many things that come with more liability than emergency maintenance. Being able to handle urgent maintenance issues fast and appropriately can make all the difference to your property owners. Emergency maintenance efficiency will save them money but if you miss an emergency, you can be held responsible for the damages as it is your job to prevent them. You must be ready to address emergency situations head-on so it is important that you plan and prepare for them. These four steps are ways to help ensure that you are ahead of the issues before they arise…
Know What Classifies as an Emergency and When to Respond
What defines an emergency can vary from person-to-person. Tenants may send in a request that can be solved by sending out your routine maintenance person during business hours or even over the phone. Other times, the requests must be addressed immediately to avoid running into bigger problems. Being aware of how to respond to each scenario is an essential part of developing your emergency maintenance operations plan. Every employee should be aware of what classifies an emergency. At Real Property Management, emergency maintenance issues are determined if they consists of one or more of the following…
- A leak that can lead to property damage and/or mold such as roof leaks, sprinkler leaks, toilet leaks and overflows, sink leaks, and HVAC leaks.
- No toilets in the residence are functioning.
- Sewage backups or leaks.
- Any water issues including no water (hot or cold) and dirty water.
- No air conditioning in hot weather (85 degrees Fahrenheit if young children, elderly, or sick people reside there, otherwise 95 degrees Fahrenheit).
- No heat in cold weather (55 degrees Fahrenheit or below if young children, elderly, or sick people reside at the residency, otherwise 45 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Any issue that compromises the safety or security of the residents such as broken windows or doors.
- Cars blocked in when the property managers are at fault.
- Electrical outages that cannot be resolved by the power company or loss of power to essential medical equipment.
- Any issue that is life-threatening including gas leaks, carbon monoxide leaks, and fires should be forwarded to 911.
Create a Plan/Protocol to Address Emergency Maintenance Issues
Developing a plan is the best way you can prepare for an emergency. You plans may vary based upon the size of your organization but nonetheless, planning is an essential part of being prepared. Your plan should answer the following questions…
- What is the expected outcome?
- What goal are you aiming to accomplish?
- How will you determine your success?
- Who are the responsible parties?
- When will you execute each step?
Your expected outcome in this situation is to never miss an emergency maintenance issue. The goal you are trying to accomplish is being able to respond rapidly and appropriately. In order to determine your success, create a scale that measures the size of each potential emergency, then compare how many emergencies you have a month with the response time. Assign jobs and inform your team who is responsible for each process and how it is executed. Keep track of everything to ensure that everyone is on task and that all emergency maintenance issues are handled appropriately and efficiently.
Establish a Process and Keep It
The best emergency maintenance processes include the following…
- The tenant’s request is received.
- Diagnose the severity of the tenant’s request.
- Assess what could derive from the emergency.
- Send out the right person at the right time to handle the situation before it escalates.
- Give a detailed report containing all information to the right people.
- Verify that a resolution was found.
In an emergency situation, tenants typically report their requests via phone as this allows them to speak directly to someone and provide a detailed explanation about what is occurring. If they are unable to reach you immediately, they might resort to submitting the request online or not at all– which is never a good thing when dealing with an emergency maintenance issue. While online requests come with many perks, when you are dealing with an emergency, they can be problematic. Why? Many online submissions do not have the means to send out an alert letting you know that the issue is important and needs to be addressed immediately. While they do send out an email, there is nothing that separates that email notification from all of the other non-emergency requests. This is why it is important that you give your tenants a phone line to call that is devoted to dealing with and diagnosing emergencies.
Having the Right Communication Tools is Key
By creating an effective plan and having the right communication tools, you will set yourself above the rest. When creating phone lines and routing calls for emergency maintenance, there are a few things that you should know. Be aware that the person that will answer the calls needs to be capable of contacting the right resource for help. In this situation, you should expect that your team member is able to get a hold of someone who can help rather quickly. By outsourcing to a service in charge of putting you in touch with a response crew fast, you can be sure that your emergency maintenance issue is handled in a timely manner.
It is time to make the best decision for yourself and your business– what can you outsource and what are capable of keeping within the walls of your company? Keep track of the entire process from when you receive the initial call to dispatching and completion. Do you have a person to handle each step as it occurs? If not, consider what it would take to provide your tenants and property holders with the best customer service in emergency situations. Emergencies are bound to happen, be prepared and ready to act when emergencies happen.
Having a property management company handling your rentals will help you to live a more enjoyable life. You’ll have less stress, more free time, and essentially more freedom.
Contact us (866-500-6200) for more information today!
About Real Property Management Midwest
We are local property management experts serving Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, & Louisville. We manage Single-Family Homes, Apartment Buildings, and Condos. With years of experience, Real Property Management is Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Louisville and Northern Kentucky’s #1 Property Management and Leasing Company.