Managing a rental property is challenging as is, but keeping up with maintenance takes a significant amount of time to deal with. As a result, renters must keep track of many factors, including rental units and repairs, so their tenants can live in a safe and clean property.
Unfortunately, some maintenance repairs may be expensive, especially when they spiral out of control due to negligence. On top of that, some of these requests may come without a warning and urgently, so you need to be prepared to deal with them.
If you’re a renter trying to keep your property hassle-free, there’s a step-by-step guide you can follow to ensure your tenants don’t feel overwhelmed by the maintenance procedure.
Create an Outline Routine
The most crucial step in your maintenance requests is to create a detailed outline routine where you must include things such as:
- How tenants can submit maintenance requests – Your tenants are supposed to know how to contact you to submit maintenance requests, especially emergency ones. That said, whatever system you pick should work effectively for both parties, regardless of the requests.
- How long it takes for you to respond to the requests – When creating an outline, it’s important to consider how long it takes to confirm your tenant’s request. Handling property maintenance means you must be communicative and set a standard deadline. For example, you can decide to confirm their requests within 1-2 days of submission.
- How long it takes to fill the request – Besides setting a deadline for confirming submission, you must also decide how long it takes to fill the maintenance request. Usually, most renters take up to seven days to fix a repair.
- How long it takes to wait before carrying out the request – As a renter, you should ensure the maintenance issue doesn’t continue. That’s why it’s essential to decide when and how to follow up with your tenant after repairments.
One of the main reasons you should create a comprehensive routine for your tenants is that you want to make them feel safe in your property. However, according to statistics, over 40 percent of tenants have shown their dissatisfaction with rental maintenance, especially with urgent issues. So, if you want to avoid such unpleasant situations, it’s best to communicate with your tenants because the repair process goes smoother.
Create a Maintenance Tracking System
Once you’ve created the outline for your maintenance requests, it’s time to make a standardized maintenance tracking system, so your tenants can report their issues at any time. This is an essential component of your maintenance procedure because it prevents such problems to arise and turn into bigger and most expensive ones.
Additionally, a maintenance tracking system has many benefits and can help you:
- Standardize maintenance requests: Creating an effective and easy method for your tenants to report any inconveniences about the property makes the process smoother for both of you.
- Keep up with the notifications: If you’re a busy renter or have many properties to handle, it’s easy to forget about urgent or non-urgent maintenance problems. However, a tracking system can help keep track of the requests by allowing you to receive notifications and deal with them within the deadline.
- Keep a record of which units you need to visit: Some units need urgent repair and maintenance, so you must stay organized and prepared to make repairs in the future. Also, it helps you decide whether your tenant is damaging the property further or not.
- Keep track of costs: The cost of your maintenance expenses may be less or more than you imagined to be. A tracking system can help keep track of each repair, so you know how much you’ve spent and prepare a budget for future requests.
Nowadays, technology is making everything easier for everyone, and renters are no exception. For example, you can use apps such as Rentberry to collect your rent online and skip the hassle of making monthly visits to the bank or your tenant. Similarly, some apps can facilitate your maintenance tracking system procedure, such as:
- Rentec Direct
- Landlord Studio
- Rent Manager
Respond to Maintenance Requests in a Timely Manner
When you establish a decent maintenance tracking system, some things may become easier for you to control. Regardless of the repair request, it’s your responsibility to respond to them appropriately and timely.
However, busy renters have a challenging time dealing with all maintenance requests at once. In fact, for over 61 percent of renters, maintenance is an overwhelming aspect of their job, mainly because they feel pressured to respond and deal with the repairs.
However, regardless of the severity of the issue, you have to let your tenants know you’re dealing with the issue to make them part of the loop. Whether you decide to repair the issue yourself or hire someone, ensure your tenants know about the problem, what was fixed, and if they need to know anything else about it.
Decide Whether You Want to Tackle the Issue Yourself or Hire a Contractor
Receiving a maintenance request isn’t the worst part. Deciding who should fix the issue is another aspect you should carefully think about. If you enjoy maintenance work and want to challenge yourself doesn’t sound so bad, but it isn’t always the best strategy.
That said, there are questions you must ask yourself, such as Do you have the time, or is the cost of the materials worth it? Not to mention if you’re not certified to deal with maintenance repairs, it’s better to leave it to the professionals.
In most cases, it’s advisable to hire a contractor to fix your repairs, mainly because they know how to fix the issue in no time. However, you also need to communicate with your contractor and tenant at the same time, so they’re all on the same page about what needs to be done and when they’ll be making these repairs.
Consider Your Budget for Maintenance Requests
Aside from keeping up with the maintenance requests, you should also have a financial game plan that allows you to be prepared for current and future repairs. Usually, most renters rely on three types of maintenance rules:
- 50 percent rule: Split your rental income monthly for repairs, insurance, maintenance, and other costs.
- 1 percent rule: Maintenance costs approximately 1 percent of the property value yearly. For example, if the property’s value is $350,000, then the maintenance will cost around $3,500.
- Square Footage Rule: When considering annual maintenance costs, you can set aside $1 per square foot. For instance, a 2,500-square-foot property needs $2,500 costs yearly.
Although these aren’t fool proof rules, they can help you prepare for future property maintenance costs. You can start by budgeting and setting aside funds beforehand, in case anything unexpected happens.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.