You know you’re providing a great rental experience when you respond to tenant maintenance requests efficiently. Tenants appreciate it, too.
Responsive maintenance is an important part of your tenant retention plan. To avoid vacancies and turnover costs at your Charleston rental property, make sure you have a process in place to respond to those maintenance issues. It will keep you organized and show your tenants that you take their concerns seriously.
Prompt completion of tenant maintenance requests is also good for your investment property. Consistent and complete maintenance practices not only keep your residents happy and secure, they also protect the condition of your investment. Don’t risk deferred and unreported maintenance. It’s expensive, and it leads to deterioration and a loss of value.
If you have struggled to construct a consistent process for tenant maintenance requests, we have some best practices for you based on our experience as Charleston property managers.
Establish Processes for Emergency and Routine Maintenance
Having a process in place will keep your maintenance response consistent. It will also show your tenants what to expect.
Every repair request should trigger an immediate response. Some of the requests will be more urgent than others, however, and we recommend that you have two separate maintenance request processes: one for emergencies and another for routine needs.
- For emergencies, you’ll want your tenants to call you right away. Emergencies might include flooding or a sewer problem. If there’s a fire – that’s an emergency. A tree crashing through the roof? Also an emergency. You’ll want tenants to call you as soon as it’s safe to do so.
- For routine repairs, you might consider having a written repair request system. This will keep your needed repairs well-documented. You’ll have a clear trail of when the problem was reported and what was done. You can refer to those records later when there’s a need for maintenance again. You can use them if a tenant claims you never fixed something. Have all of your correspondence in writing around the routine repair that’s needed.
Communicate with Charleston Tenants
A good tenant relationship will help you maintain your home better. Make sure they understand your expectations. Communicate your process.
Tenants need to know how to contact you. They need to understand the difference between an emergency and a routine repair.
It’s not always easy to be available 24 hours a day. But you have to be, in case there’s an emergency.
Stress the importance of reporting maintenance issues right away to your tenants.
Let them know that you want to hear about every issue, no matter how minor, and you want to know about it as soon as it’s detected. This prevents deferred maintenance.
Remain Responsive to All Charleston Rental Home Repairs
Habitability issues are unacceptable when you’re renting out a property. Tenants need heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. They need access to electricity.
Adopt a sense of urgency – even to minor issues. When a tenant reports that a toilet isn’t flushing but the home has two or three toilets, it might not seem like a request you need to handle right away. But, you should still get to it as soon as possible. This will show the tenants that you’re responsive and you care about their needs. It will also protect the condition of your home. Small problems don’t become easier or cheaper with time. Don’t leave deferred maintenance for later. It’s better for your investment to fix and replace things right away.
Make Preventative Maintenance a Priority
One of the most important best practices when it comes to maintenance requests is this: don’t forget preventative maintenance. It’s rare that tenants will request preventative maintenance. They won’t necessarily know that the HVAC is due for a service call or the water heater should be inspected.
It still needs to be part of your maintenance response plan.
Preventative maintenance is the best way to keep your Charleston rental property in exceptional condition. It will extend the lifespan of your most expensive systems, and it will increase the value of your investment.
Have your HVAC system inspected and serviced annually. Clean out the gutters at least once a year, and have your home inspected for plumbing leaks and electrical issues. Don’t forget the landscaping and pest control.
Partner with Excellent Vendors and Contractors
This is a big one.
You need to partner with outstanding professionals who can help you maintain your property. We work with a fantastic team of licensed and insured vendors and contractors who give your property the attention it needs. We work with vendors who can get the job done right. They respect your property and your tenants. Our excellent relationships mean we don’t have to wait for availability, and we can make sure that the pricing is competitive and affordable.
You should create your own list of preferred vendors and contractors. Look for professionals who are licensed and insured, as well as reliable and reputable. You don’t want to wait for days to have a repair completed, and you want to make sure that if there’s an emergency, the workers you hire can be there when you need them.
Avoid cheap labor and supplies. It may seem like you’re saving money in the moment, but you’re actually at risk for spending more than you would if you simply invested in a higher standard of quality earlier.
Communicate as much as possible and always follow up to ensure the work is completed. This is also a good time to remind you that working with a Charleston property management company is the best way to keep your investment property maintained. You can rely on great vendors, responsive processes, and an online reporting system for routine repairs.
Contact us at Meridian Residential Group. If you don’t want to worry about maintenance, consider turning the Charleston property management process over to our team. We’d be glad to help.
Meridian Residential Group in North Charleston provides both single-family and multi-family property management in the Charleston, SC area, including in North Charleston, Summerville, Goose Creek, and Moncks Corner, among other cities.