How to Handle Maintenance Requests During COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed the way property management companies and landlords handle various situations, pushing everyone to be thoughtful in their responses and solutions. Even with the vaccines now available, the COVID-19 crisis has not entirely gone away, which means it’s going to take time to get back to a new normal. In the meantime, property managers and landlords in Honolulu, Hawaii, will have to be creative in the way homes are maintained, managed, and leased.
It’s not a good idea to avoid or defer maintenance requests on your property. It can lead to the overall deterioration of your home and cost you more in the long run. It’s essential to work with your vendors and residents to ensure that preventative and routine maintenance continues at your property in a way that is respectful and safe for your tenants. If you’re curious about how to move forward and handle any maintenance calls you receive during this time, we’ve listed a few ways to ensure you and your maintenance team are prepared.
1. Educate Your Tenants
Taking the time to be proactive with your tenants is essential to ensure that maintenance requests are still being submitted instead of ignored. Your tenants may feel a bit nervous about sending over a request, especially if they have not been letting anyone into their space during the pandemic. However, not reporting problems as they occur can damage your property and inconvenience your tenants, hurting both parties.
Instead, you need to be notified as soon as there is a problem, even if you won’t be able to fix it right away or it’s a minor cosmetic issue. Start by setting up a time to chat with your tenant over the phone to educate them on the importance of reporting any maintenance request as soon as possible, even if the issue isn’t urgent.
Allow your tenants to voice their concerns or hesitations about answering the door for maintenance. Take the time to discuss the safety procedures you have in place when you hire workers to fix any home issues. You can even allow your residents to tell you any maintenance requests they might have been holding onto during your phone call so that you can have a list of their issues on hand.
2. Prioritize Digital Communication
Did your tenants have to visit an office to get the help they needed or find you at your day job? In a time where we have instant access to phones, Facetime, Skype, and e-mail, everything can be handled through digital communication. Your tenants should know how they can reach you, what type of communication you prefer, and how soon you’ll answer their messages. It’s standard practice to always respond to your tenants within 24 hours. Tenants want to know that you’ve received their message and that you’re working on their issue, even if you don’t have an immediate fix.
If like Agency Rentals you use an online portal, ensure that your residents are signed up and that they understand how to use it. Make it easy for your renter to contact you with any issues they might be having.
3. Prioritize Your Vendor’s Safety
Just as much as your tenants may be nervous about having anyone inside their living space, your workers may be wary of entering their home. Take the time to talk with your vendors about safety procedures and work with them to ensure they feel protected and safe when handling any of your tenants’ requests.
To prioritize what needs to be taken care of, look through the list of projects that need to be completed at your property. Take the time to prioritize and measure the safety of your maintenance crew and residents against the needs of your property. This will help you determine what is necessary for your staff to work on and what doesn’t require an instant fix.
4. Add Extra Safety Precautions
Whether there is an issue with the air conditioning, electricity, water heater, or even a leak, you’ll want to get these issues fixed as soon as possible and still respond to these maintenance requests. Maintenance does not need to be delayed and can be done safely, especially if you’re willing to add extra safety precautions for your contractors and vendors. Standard security measures you may want to consider adding includes:
- Requiring safety equipment, such as gloves and masks, to be worn by your maintenance team, as well as having vendors providing extra cleaning of any surfaces touched during the repair process.
- Taking thorough notes and pictures of any maintenance completed, including writing down who was on the property, what was fixed, and how it turned out.
- Communicate with the resident to ensure they know the time and date to prepare for the visit. Try to encourage residents to be off the property when a repair is made to limit the amount of contact between both parties. If the tenant is unable to do so, encourage necessary social distancing requirements, cleaning of surfaces, and washing hands before and after the property is visited by the maintenance vendor.
5. Check-In with Your Tenants
Checking in with your tenants is the easiest way to understand what they need from you during the pandemic, as well as letting them know you care about their health and safety. Having clear expectations set on what type of maintenance requests will be prioritized and what might need to wait, such as cosmetic repairs, is essential to talk through with your tenant.
Serve Your Tenants with The Help of Agency Rentals
When maintenance providers, tenants, and property owners work together, it’s not hard to handle rental maintenance requests during COVID-19, keeping your investment property in good shape while maintaining your resident’s safety.
At Agency Rentals, we would be happy to help you with all of your Honolulu property management needs, especially as we navigate forward during these unusual circumstances. Contact us today to see how working with our team of Honolulu rental experts can help you easily manage your portfolio of properties.