How are you guys handling work orders?

7 Replies

I am having some issues with my tenant and HVAC issues. Is there any type of process that you guys use when there is an issue with the property, then dispatching a company out to fix it?

I am thinking about establishing something in my rental contracts where we have to have the work order emailed to us any time between Mon-Fri 0900AM-5:00PM. We then have 48 hours to dispatch a service company out there to the home to fix the issue. If the tenant is not there during the scheduled time that the service guy shows up, they are paying the service fee.

I say this because I have a tenant that expects me to dance around her schedule and its becoming an issue…What is your process to these types of issues?

The presence of the tenant should not affect the servicing of a critical piece of equipment. We put a lock box on the property in a location where our service staff can get the keys. Alternately, the service staff will stop by our leasing office to pick up with keys on their way to the job. If entry to the unit is required, the tenant must be notified according to the legal notice period (24 hours in most places). Their presence is not required. 

For most HVAC related work, we design our buildings so that the mechanical closet can be serviced from a locked closet in the common area hallway. This does not require unit access or tenant notification.

We have a system for problem notification. This is usually a hotline number. Our front office will determine how time critical the fix is. It could be an emergency (plumbing leak), or a routine maintenance issue (change the filters). It will get scheduled accordingly. In every case, the key is to communicate with the tenant and set expectations appropriately. Problems arise when there are long periods of silence with no communication. The tenant is left feeling like nobody cares. Rapid response is the key. You can say that the fix will happen in 4 days, as long as you respond quickly.

@Victor Menasce it sounds like you have some sort of condos or apartment complex. I have two residential homes, I don't think a lock box would work here, or would it? I think I am going to incorporate some sort of process where she has to submit a work order. A normal rental company runs about 0800am to 0500pm each day Monday-Friday. You can't expect to send a text at night and have someone out there immediately….There is a process. I have to nail this down asap.

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Respond to the tenant this way ,  Mrs smith , we received your request to have the HVAC serviced , we contacted the service company and they will be there between 8 am and 4 pm tomorrow, tuesday . Please be there or have some one there to let them in the house to service the unit .    " I cant be there then I had plans  " 

I understand that it was short notice , we wanted to get them out there quick as possible , their next opening is a week from next tuesday , shall I have them come then ? 

She will change her plans .....or sweat 

Explain to the tenant that you have no control over the service mans schedule ,everyone has to wait for AC service in the summer .   

I often put tenant and contractor in touch directly and let them figure out scheduling. Contractor knows to check with me before getting into anything expensive

@Matthew Paul I love your way of communicating lol….I was thinking that same exact thing. Thanks!

Upon signing of the lease I tell my tenants to call my office any time of the day or night if they have an emergency, and I would take care of it immediately.  (I'll be right over).Then I would list what I considered an emergency.

  • Leaking Roof
  • Toilet constantly running
  • No heat
  • No water
  • Gas smell

Then I would tell them that any general  repair requests other than the above must be submitted to me in writing and they will be taken care of in the order they are received.

Once I receive a repair request either for an emergency or a general repair, I would call my work crew (or my husband and I would go over there immediately) and take care of the problem.  When I would get back to the office I would type up a work order in QuickBooks, print it out and keep it on my desk until the repair was completed.  (Our work crew would have to FAX US or E-MAIL us) their invoice for the job done in order to be paid. Then I'd mark the work order completed and file it in the property address files. Both in QuickBooks and in real file cabinets. 

For General Repairs I would fax the work order to my work crew, r e-mail them  and they would then do the job and fax over or e-mail their invoice to us for the work done and I would pay them post haste.  They were responsible for contacting the tenant and scheduling the appointment.  (Both for General Repairs and Emergencies)

For Emergencies tenants are usually there.  But for general repairs it's  a different story so this is what I would tell the tenants at the signing of the lease and it is in the lease as well.  If an appointment is made and our workers go out there to take care of the repair and you do not show up to let him in, then you will be charged a $75.00 service call fee.  And the tenants definitely were billed for it.  Because many didn't show up, and our guys were sitting in the driveway waiting for them.  The $75 went to our work crew for their time being wasted. 

All our workers have a master key to all of our properties, however, I prefer to have the tenants be there when someone comes in because they will always accuse you of stealing their lap top, Rolex Watch, and the $10,000.00 they have in a sock in their drawer.  But if they don't show up a 3rd time then we issue a 24 hours notice that we will be entering the premises to take care of that repair without them being there.  

Nancy Neville

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