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How to Effectively Handle Emergency Maintenance in Your Rentals

One of the last things you want to deal with as a landlord in Oklahoma City is an emergency maintenance call from your tenant. It could happen at any time, but it always seems to be at the most inopportune times.

As a landlord, you have a responsibility of making sure your tenants have a safe place to live, which means tending to any repairs required in the property. So, if there’s an issue, you must make sure it’s remedied in a timely manner.

Emergency maintenance isn’t something to take lightly, though. Now, you may be wondering what constitutes an emergency? How do you handle emergency maintenance?

Fortunately, you’ve stumbled across this article! We’re going to share some of the best advice to handling emergency maintenance for your rental in Oklahoma City and one secret that will change the way you maintain your rental forever.

Water dripping from ceiling


What is Emergency Maintenance?

First, let’s define what exactly is emergency maintenance. You’re probably familiar with the phone calls concerning broken appliances or drafty windows – the routine stuff.

Hopefully, you haven’t had a call that needed immediate attention. While some situations may seem like an emergency to some tenants and landlords, they usually can wait until the morning or a day or two later.

Below is a list of true emergency situations that require immediate attention:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Break-in
  • Frozen pipes
  • Gas leak
  • Broken windows or doors
  • Broken heater in the winter

If your tenant experiences any of these situations while living in your rental property, then it is considered an emergency. This means you’ll have to tend to it immediately and find a solution for the tenants.


What Isn’t Considered Emergency Maintenance

We’ve discussed what can be considered an emergency. Now, let’s identify situations your tenant may experience that is an inconvenience but not necessarily an emergency.

Situations that don’t require emergency maintenance include:

  • Burnt out lightbulbs
  • Malfunctioning/broken appliance
  • Small leaks
  • Noisy neighbors
  • Broken air conditioner
  • Broken water heater

As a landlord, you should definitely fix these problems as soon as possible. However, they don’t require immediate attention where you need to go to the property in the middle of the night.


Prepare Tenants for Emergencies

When a new tenant moves in, you should create a welcome packet for them. In this packet, include important information about the property and the neighborhood.

Instructions for how to handle emergencies should be a section in this packet. You can create a protocol system your tenants can follow and a list of what is considered an emergency (see the section above).

In case there is an emergency, provide solutions your tenant can do before your or someone else can get to the property. For example, if a pipe bursts, tell your tenant how to turn off the water. While this may be common sense to you because you own the property, your tenants may not be aware.


Always Be Within Reach

Your tenants should always have a way to reach you in case of emergency maintenance at the property. It’s unacceptable for you to turn off your phone at night or ignore your tenants if they need immediate help.

If you go out of town for a week or two on vacation, designate a trusted friend to watch over your rental properties. Inform your tenants you’ll be away and give them your designated person’s contact information. If anything goes wrong, your tenants can call them for help.

While it’s important to set boundaries with your tenants, such as not taking calls after a certain time, you must still be available at all times in case of an emergency.


Discuss the Emergency Issue

If for any reason there is an emergency maintenance issue at your property and your tenant calls, discuss the situation before you leave your home.

There are too many times where a tenant says there’s an emergency, and the landlord arrives at the property to find that it isn’t an emergency at all, just an inconvenience.

So, ask your tenant to explain the situation and if they feel safe in the property. Talk it out, and you can both decide whether the issue requires immediate attention. If it can wait a few hours or even a day, then it isn’t an emergency.


Have a List of Repair Services On Hand

When you first purchased your rental property, you should have created a list of contacts you would need for maintenance and repairs. If you don’t have this, it’s time to make it as soon as possible!

At a time when you’re faced with an emergency maintenance situation, you don’t want to be searching the Internet for the first contractor or repair service you can find.

Having a list of contacts that you’ve already vetted and trust will take a lot of the stress out of handling emergency maintenance at your Oklahoma City rental property.


Document the Event

If there is a major issue, which emergency maintenance situations usually are, make sure to document everything that has happened. Take photos of the damage and write down statements from your tenants.

Get a firm understanding of the situation and proof if necessary. This will be helpful if you need to file a claim with your landlord or homeowners insurance company or your tenant’s rental insurance.

If it’s the case of a house fire or break-in, make sure you receive reports from the authorities who conducted the investigation too.


Tell Tenants to Call 911

Ensure that your tenants know to call 911 in case of dangerous emergencies, including a robbery, break-in, or fire, before they call you. They should take care of themselves and the house before they let you know what’s going on.

Some tenants, since they know you’re the owner of the house, may feel inclined to call you first and see what they should do. Remind them to call for emergency services first if necessary.


Never Get an Emergency Maintenance Call Again with Real Property Management Resources

Do you really want to be woken up in the middle of the night and dragged out of bed to deal with an emergency maintenance issue at your rental property? Probably not.

Now you don’t have to. When you hire a property management company, they will professionally handle all of your tenants’ maintenance requests for you – both emergency and routine.

Real Property Management Resources is Oklahoma City’s leading property management company. We are dedicated to helping landlords optimize their rental properties’ profits and take care of their tenants with the best customer service and property maintenance you find anywhere else.

Call us today to discuss how we can take over the maintenance and management of your rental property so you can spend your valuable time doing those things you really want to do.

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