Maintenance calls could be a nightmare

7 Replies

As a landlord the only thing about the process that makes me rethink my decision to buy rentals are the maintenance calls. Not the repairs but the calls that come all times of the day and night. I really don't want to give up my cash flow to a property management company. The property management company stories that I have heard sounds like they could make the situation worse. Does anyone know of a service that can handle just the maintenance calls for me? I have tried the after hours answering services, I still have to take a call and make another call to the tenant. They are just a relay service.

I have a number set up through phone.com that I have programmed to make my cell phone ring during certain hours.  I have a full menu set up and use this number for advertising rentals, maintenance issues and for prospecting.  I have my tenants trained as to what is an urgent matter and what can wait until the next day during business hours.  For an urgent plumbing matter in case they can not get ahold of me, there is a plumber listed in the lease they can call.    Some of my tenants have my actual cell phone but I rarely get calls....and when I do, I am glad i did.

Chris has it right the one guy I work for with 108 units has 5 box voicemail box setup #5 is emergency and it describes what an emergency is.  People rarely call the emergency line.  This landlord just keeps the emergency line going right to my phone since he likes to leave town every other weekend. I hardly ever get woken up in the middle of the night. Even if you don't want to deal with that little bit you just got to find a contractor like me.

Originally posted by @Alan Howard :

As a landlord the only thing about the process that makes me rethink my decision to buy rentals are the maintenance calls. Not the repairs but the calls that come all times of the day and night. I really don't want to give up my cash flow to a property management company. The property management company stories that I have heard sounds like they could make the situation worse. Does anyone know of a service that can handle just the maintenance calls for me? I have tried the after hours answering services, I still have to take a call and make another call to the tenant. They are just a relay service.

 I think there is some myth of landlording floating around out there that if you're a landlord, you're going to be getting calls at all hours of the day.  I own 14 rental units and I really don't get that many calls.  And I've never gotten a 2am call.

I've never gotten a middle of the night call, although these days I shut off the cell phone at 10PM ;) 

But my tenants are told (and it's in the lease) what time I and my contractor are available by phone, although I will check email and texts outside those hours. Tenants usually text or email. When they move in, they're shown where the water shut off is. That's usually the biggest issue, something leaking.

Mine are told to contact through email.  I explain the them that it provides a written record which protects them and me if the relationship was to deteriorate.  

I illustrate an emergency warranting a phone call with "WATER WATER EVERYWHERE!!!" I reiterate that numerous times when lease signing.  They always email, because rarely is the above quote happening  

  • over the last 5 yrs it happened  a couple of times.......But I have a couple of maintenance guys I can rely on...

1. Basement flooded, HW tank was floating & horizontal & the electric panel was about to short out. Tenant was frantic & sent me a text @ 1am, but I was in Rhode Island for several days so I immediately text my maintenance guy who responded around 5am.

He couldn't do much until the flood waters subsided but by 3pm that day he had a new HW tank in & the electrical secured & tenant was pleased.

2. In a SFR we have it was 4am when the CO alarms went off. Her teenage kids had jammed a mattress into the basement furnace room & bent then broke the seal on the fce exhaust venting & the place quickly filled with high conc of CO.

We couldn't enter until it was cleared by the fire dept & the utility guys had already locked out the gas meter. My maintenance guy got there by 6am so we went for breakfast until we got the OK  to enter the building & discovered the damage.

That week I switched out the old fce for a HI EFF & eliminated the old exhaust venting.

CO alarm , they called the fire department at 2 am  and emailed me (the fire department explained it was a spider web). I didn't even know until the next day.

Water is an emergency but I haven't got that one.

Heat is an emergency and this was my most trying set of calls.   I had a furnace problem last year and we got very friendly with the boiler guy who finally figured out the issue after I went down and hung out waiting for him. 

One good tip I have is if there is an issue say in the 9-5 timeframe and it doesn't get fixed call again and make sure they are coming, get the phone number for the actual repair guy not the dispatcher.  This heat call occurred much earlier and I went down because if you kept pushing the button the heat would stay on for a while.  I was there late into the night because the call was canceled. I don't know how but lesson learned.  

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