Many people believe that investing in a rental property is a great way to earn passive income – which is true. But owning a rental property can never be just a side hustle. With the many responsibilities that landlords need to take care of, sometimes, they need to spend more time managing their rental business than they do on a regular 9 to 5 job.
One of the responsibilities that keep DIY landlords busy is handling tenants’ maintenance requests. Landlords should be responsible for providing a safe and habitable place for their tenants, they are also expected to handle any repair issues that may need immediate attention.
As a matter of fact, there are times when landlords have to handle emergency repair requests even after business hours. But what instances can really be considered an emergency?
This can be a complicated question, which is why we at Real Canadian Property Management have put together this guide, so you can understand what an emergency is, and what is not.
What Can Be Considered As Emergency Maintenance Issues?
In general, any maintenance issue that could potentially cause harm, injury, or cause serious property damage is considered an emergency.
A few examples of emergency maintenance issues are the following:
If the rental home is flooded due to heavy rains or an issue with a neighboring home, landlords should be responsible for addressing the repairs immediately. Flooding can cause damage to your tenants’ belongings, as well as damage to your property.
Broken Water Lines or Frozen Pipes
With broken water lines or frozen pipes, tenants won’t be able to access the continuous flow of water. Also, if left for too long, these pipes can burst, which can cause major structural damage to your property.
Broken Door or Lock You Cannot Secure
Broken doors or locks are a major security hazard that must be attended to as soon as possible. Your tenants will be vulnerable to potential intruders and burglars if the doors and locks are not repaired.
Gas Leak or Broken Gas Line
A broken gas line or gas leak is a fire hazard and is an emergency issue.
No Heat in Winter or No Air Conditioning During Extreme Heat
If the heater and/or air conditioner are not functioning well, it can cause major health and safety issues, especially during extreme weather conditions. Make sure to attend to this maintenance issue as soon as you receive a report from your tenant.
Other issues that may also be considered an emergency are:
- Electrical Issues
- Intruder Break-in
- Leaking Roof
- Water Emergencies
- Carbon Monoxide Detection
- Extended Power Outage
- Sewer Back-up and Flood
Maintenance Issues That Are Not an Emergency
While emergency maintenance issues need to be addressed right away, many repair requests are not. If you are not sure how to classify an issue as emergency or non-emergency, you can ask the following questions:
- Would it cause major damage to the property if left untreated for a week or two?
- Is it a health and safety hazard that can adversely affect your tenants?
- Does it threaten the security of your property and its occupants?
If the answer to all these questions is no, then the issue is not an emergency, and your tenants should not be calling you after business hours to request for immediate repair. But, any maintenance issues, even if they are not considered an emergency, should be reported to you during normal business hours.
Here are a few examples of non-emergency maintenance issues:
- Minor Leaks
- No Hot Water
- Burnt Out Lightbulbs or Fixture
- Minor Cracks on the Floor
- Kitchen Appliance Malfunction
- Air Conditioning Malfunction (if the outside temperature is below 90 degrees)
- Heat Malfunction (if the outside temperature is below 50 degrees)
- Noise/Neighbor Complaints
- Parking Disputes
How to Handle Emergency Maintenance for Your Rental Property
When handling emergency repair requests from your tenants, make sure to keep these tips in mind:
Write a Clear Lease Agreement
Your rental agreement should cover all the responsibilities you expect from your tenants, as well as your responsibilities as a landlord. In addition, it’s best to include all possible circumstances that you consider an emergency, so tenants will know when they are allowed to reach out to you beyond regular hours.
Document Every Maintenance Request
It’s crucial to keep a record of all requests, especially the emergency ones, to prevent any dispute later on. Keep a record of the conversations you had with your tenants, the actions that you have taken and when, the repairs made, and whatever steps you have agreed upon. Additionally, you should take note of any necessary follow-up you need to complete.
Make Yourself Accessible
We have learned that not all maintenance issues are urgent. But it’s important to make yourself easily accessible in the event of an emergency. Inform your tenants of the best ways to reach you in case they need to. Keeping your communication lines open for your tenants is a great way to build a healthy relationship with them.
Hire a Property Manager
Working with a professional property manager can help minimize, or even totally remove the stress of having to handle these maintenance issues. Property managers typically offer a 24/7 emergency hotline that tenants can contact for urgent repair requests.
In addition, reliable property management companies employ expert technicians and contractors who can handle repair requests skillfully.
Hopefully, this article has answered any questions you may have regarding when property maintenance is considered an emergency or not. But if you do have any further questions, Real Canadian Property Management Solutions has the answers you’re looking for!
Get in touch with us today by calling (780) 532-4900 and we will be happy to serve you.