Maybe you’re not a professional Sonoma County property manager. You can still respond to tenant maintenance requests like an expert. When you’re responsive and accessible, tenants are more likely to renew their lease agreements and have a positive feeling about their rental home. If you avoid their calls and you’re slow to make repairs, you’re likely to face higher turnover rates.
Responding promptly to maintenance requests – even minor repairs – is an important part of protecting the condition of your investment and meeting the needs of your tenants. A well-maintained home is worth more money, and you want to increase your rental value as well as your sales value for when you’re ready to sell the property.
If you’re not sure how to document and perform the maintenance that’s done on your property, we have some tips for you.
Sonoma County Rental Property Maintenance Emergencies
No one likes to think about plumbing disasters in the middle of the night or fires in the kitchen. But, emergencies happen. Make sure your tenants always know how to get in touch with you. You’ll want to talk to your tenants during the lease signing so they understand what constitutes an emergency and what can wait until normal business hours. Emergencies should be reported by phone, as soon as the tenant feels safe. For example, if there’s a fire, you should not be the first call they make. They should call 9-1-1, and then get in touch with you.
Most importantly – be available. You never know when a maintenance emergency will occur.
Handle Routine Repairs with Urgency
While your tenants will likely need to call you on the phone if there’s an emergency, we recommend that you have them make routine repair requests in writing. They can send you an email or a text message and then you have the request and your response documented. This will help you prepare a history of the work that’s been done on your home, and it will also protect you against any claims that the work was not completed. Document everything in writing as much as you can. Ask them to send pictures when they’re submitting requests. This will help you diagnose the problem.
Once you’ve received the maintenance request, don’t sit on it. Even if it’s a simple garbage disposal repair or a door that’s come off its hinges, get someone over there to repair or replace whatever is malfunctioning. You are required to provide a safe and habitable home for your tenants, and you want to show them that you care about their comfort and their needs.
Put Together a List of Preferred Sonoma County Vendors
Make sure you have a reliable list of high quality, affordable vendors. You’ll need a plumber, electrician, general contractor, HVAC technician, exterminator, handyman, painters, cleaners, and landscapers, just to name a few. You’ll find that you get faster and better service if you have a relationship in place with these professionals before you need them.
Prioritize Preventative Maintenance
If you take a preventative maintenance approach with your Sonoma County rental property, you’ll cut down on the number of emergencies and surprise repairs that show up. For example, if you have an HVAC contractor inspect and service your heating and cooling unit once or twice a year, you’ll extend the lifespan of that expensive unit and reduce the likelihood that a major repair will be needed. This saves you money and stress, and it helps your tenants by ensuring the system is running efficiently and keeping their utility bills down.
A sound maintenance program allows you to retain good tenants, preserve the value and condition of your asset, and stay far away from code violations and enforcement agencies. If you need any help with maintenance, or you’re not sure how to structure tenant maintenance requests, we invite you to contact us at Prestige Real Estate & Property Management. We manage homes in Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa, Windsor, Sebastopol, Petaluma, and Rohnert Park.