How do you handle maintenance requests after hours?
I am starting out and will have 6 tenants soon. I am a self-employed contractor and receive many calls during the day but I shut my phone off after hours as people have no respect of time off and I have 4 young kids that I want to spend down time with. Does anyone use a pager? How do the rest of you handle this?
1. We make it clear at move in that my wife and I are available from 8-5 and that our phones are shut off after that.
2. We then list "after hours emergency" numbers (heating, plumbing, electric)
3. We give a one page "difference between and emergency and an urgency" and let them know that if they call a workman after hours, and it isn't an emergency, they will be charged the diff between normal and time and a half.
4. To be fair, we have a maintenance guy (sub contractor who also works for others) who is basically sorta kinda on call all the time. We tell people to call him first. We have 48 units and get an average of one call every two weeks.
Glad to share these documents with you
Glad to share those documents with you if you PM me. I put my email address there. I'm not sure exactly how that triggered an admin edit, but so be it.
Josh, I am more your scale (full time job, part time landord 6-10 units).
One. As mentioned above, you want an emergency number just for the rare flood or burst pipe or broken window emergency to protect the property and from liability. It is an occupational hazard, but frankly quite rare if you keep your units well maintained and choose the right people.
Two. I actually do not dread the tenant requests about ten years in (I was apprehensive my first year or two). I actually welcome the chance to get in and improve a unit with a new hot water heater, or overhauling a toilet tank, or fixing a broken window crank. It lets me keep a good tenant ( and I try to pick good ones) by maintaining their satisfaction level. Plus, for my really long term tenants, I don't get in that often to fix the wear points. Remember the tenants are the eyes and ears of the property, there all the time. So they see and hear things I don't. They can catch a leak or problem early if given the right encouragement.
On logistics, I still like e-mail or text as I can get it anytime and am online all the time or can check my phone. This also lets me understand the situation, follow up as required, or direct the tenant. I can actually walk tenant (by phone) through things like a toilet clog, for example. I think you want to have some outlet to be available just in case. You may not need to rush right out for most things, but it is good to give tenants a chance to get the message through and some feedback... (even if you just say "thanks for letting me know of the maintenance issue, I will get on this Monday")..
An emergency number or numbers is a good thing to give tenants in case they can't reach you about an urgent issue. I would coach them through what would be considered urgent or not. Maybe even write the guidelines out on the same sheet with the emergency numbers. I put down the numbers for the local gas, electric and water providers so that service can be shut down if there is an issue, but I wouldn't authorize them to call in repairs without my consent or giving me a chance to assess the situation. That's just me though.