Normal Repair vs. Emergency

Property Management Blog

Tenants have certain expectations from their landlords regarding repairs in their units. But there is a clear difference between usual repairs and emergency situations. As a landlord, you need to react to emergency situations almost instantly whereas you can take up normal repairs as a part of your routine repairs exercise.

It seems redundant to differentiate between normal repairs and emergency situations. But often it becomes necessary for a landlord to react differently to satisfy the expectations of tenants. You may perceive a situation requiring normal process of repairing but your tenant might consider it as an emergency. There are always tenants who feel that every situation demanding repairs is in fact an emergency and this is where the difference of opinion between them and the landlord crop up.

If you are the landlord, it is therefore important to set expectations that are real and not based upon the beliefs of your tenants. You need to make it clear to your tenants what constitutes an emergency and what is to be treated as a normal repair request. By discussing different situations with your tenants, you can clear any doubts in their minds and set their expectations right.

Understanding emergencies

A situation or event that has the potential to cause threat to life or the rental property is considered an emergency. A landlords needs to take corrective action whenever an emergency takes place on their rental property. Fire or smoke in your property needs immediate attention. There are also electrical and plumbing emergencies that can cause damage to your property or to the lives of the tenants.

You will no doubt rush to the spot upon hearing about an emergency. But you also need to inform your tenants what they should do in case of an emergency. In fact, tell your tenants that they should dial 911 first in case of an emergency and inform you later. You and your staff need to reach the premises as quickly as possible whenever there is an emergency in your property.

Understanding repairs

If a problem or event is not life and property threatening, it qualifies as a normal repair situation. Of course, it needs attention and action but not at a war footing or instantly as is the case with an emergency. If there is a leaking tap or a broken toilet set, it can wait until next morning when you can ask a plumber to attend to the problem.

There are different kinds of repairs that need to be tackled differently. But as a landlord, you should make it clear that attending to repair requests may take some time. In fact, repairs should be in your priority list and you should see to it that they are carried out in 24-48 hours depending upon their severity and the extent of difficulty they are causing to your tenants. You should also ask your tenants to cooperate with you and try to control the extent of damage so that the problem does not become out of hands by the time it is repaired.

Setting the expectations of your tenants

It is your responsibility as the landlord to set realistic expectations of your tenants regarding repairs. They should not believe that every small repair will be attended to in a short time period. Tell your tenants about the process of attending repairs in your property. Tell them what channel to use to report repairs and what to expect.  Once your tenants know what an emergency and a normal repair is and what they can expect from you, your relationship with them remains smooth and pleasant.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty. 

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