Handling routine maintenance and repairs in your Atlanta, GA rental is a part of being a landlord. But so is handling middle of the night emergency calls.
No matter how well you take care of your investment property or how great your tenants are, you’re bound to get an emergency maintenance call from tenants at some point. Whether it be a leaking appliance or a fallen tree, these things should urge you to take immediate action.
Knowing how to handle emergencies maintenance requests is the key to minimizing the damage. That’s why today we’re going to share some of them most effective ways to handle emergency rental maintenance, so you know exactly what to do when something bad happens.
What Is an Actual Rental Emergency?
Sometimes tenants will call with what they think is an emergency maintenance issue. Yet, what they feel is an emergency may not be a true emergency.
Here’s a list of some things that are true emergencies:
- An intruder break-in, especially if there was theft or property damage
- Loss of power
- Broken windows
- Water leaks or flooding
- Gas leaks
- Electrical issues
- Loss of heat (winter) or loss of air (summer)
Any maintenance issue that is serious, damaging to your investment, or affects your tenants’ habitability is a true emergency and must be handled by the landlord right away.
5 Tips for Handling Emergency Rental Maintenance in Atlanta, GA
1. Explain the Differences to Tenants at Move-In
Sometimes the best way to handle emergency repairs is to be as proactive as possible. One of the best ways to do this is for you or your Atlanta property management company to explain what an emergency is and isn’t to your tenants.
Doing this will prevent unnecessary midnight calls. It will also reduce the frustration of showing up to a situation that can be handled during business hours.
Here are some of the most important things to explain to tenants when they move in:
- What is an emergency and what is a general maintenance and repair request
- Who to contact when an emergency occurs (names and phone numbers)
- How long it takes to handle maintenance requests (24-48 hours) and emergencies (within 24 hours)
- How to submit non-emergency maintenance and repair requests
- Things tenants should handle themselves (g., changing filters and light bulbs)
- Ways to help with emergency situations, such as how to turn the water off or reset breakers
- The best way to get to safety in the case of an emergency so no one is injured
Setting your tenants’ expectations from the start is the best way to avoid after-hour calls for non-emergencies.
Not sure your tenants will remember everything you’ve explained to them at move-in?
You or your Atlanta property management company should put together a simple welcome package for your tenants. This is a nice gesture that sets the tone for the tenancy. It also gives you an easy way to provide your tenants with all the information they need, such as emergency maintenance contacts.
2. Have a List of Vendors
As a landlord, you’ll be responsible for fixing all sorts of things. From leaks to locks, wiring to appliances, you’ll need to contact a variety of contractors. That’s why having a list of vendors you know and trust is so crucial to minimizing damage and getting things fixed immediately.
It’s even more important to have a list of 24/7 emergency repair vendors on hand. This way, if your tenant calls in the middle of the night with an emergency, you have a vendor ready to help right away.
Don’t waste time searching for an emergency contractor as the issue is unraveling at your rental. This will hurt you financially and your tenants will be more upset than they likely already are.
If you use an Atlanta property management company to manage your rental, make sure to ask them how they handle maintenance and repairs. They should have access to 24/7 contractors. If they don’t, they should have an on-call emergency maintenance crew to attend after hour emergencies. After all, handing rental maintenance and repairs (including emergencies) is one of the main reasons landlords use a property manager.
3. Have an Emergency Fund
Part of being a successful landlord is making sure you always have enough cash on hand.
If you set aside some money into an emergency fund, unexpected expenses aren’t so scary. Here are some tips for making sure you don’t have to dip into your profit should an emergency occur at your rental:
- Always separate your bank accounts so you aren’t tempted to spend the “wrong” money
- Never use the security deposit you collected to handle repairs, even in an emergency
- Calculate the monthly expenses for your property (mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, etc.)
- Work to save at least 3-6 months’ worth of expenses
- Set aside some of your profit every month to ensure your emergency fund is growing
You never know when an emergency might happen at your investment property. And unfortunately, no matter how bad it might be, you’ll be responsible for fixing a lot of it.
Don’t ruin your cash flow by not having some savings set aside.
>> Want to maximize your rental income so you have money for your emergency fund and still generate a profit? Contact us today and see just how much your rental property is worth. By setting the right rent rates, you can cover all your expenses (emergency fund included) and still generate a positive cash flow. <<
4. Require Renter’s Insurance
Sure, as a landlord you should always have homeowner’s insurance for your rental property. That way should an emergency occur, you can offset some of the repair costs with a settlement.
That said, you should always require your tenants to have renter’s insurance too.
Homeowners insurance will cover repairs to the structure of your rental property.
Renter’s insurance will help cover your tenants’ personal belongings if damaged. It will also help house them if your rental becomes inhabitable.
The last thing you want is to have to cover the cost of repairs and your tenants’ belongings because you didn’t require renter’s insurance.
5. Use the Emergency to Handle Other Minor Issues
No landlord ever wants to deal with a serious emergency in their rental property. Not only is it damaging to your property, but it can also be dangerous for your tenants.
However, you can use an emergency situation to prevent future emergencies. All you have to do is conduct a property inspection once the emergency is resolved. Doing this will give you a chance to find other minor issues that may turn serious if not taken care of right away.
Of course, any rental emergency is not welcome. But if you’re able to turn it into a positive and prevent future problems, that’s something to be happy about.
Are you looking into Atlanta property management companies hoping to find one that can help you with your rental property? If so, contact us today and see how we can help with everything from tenant screening to lease drafting, rent collection to emergency maintenance issues.
With electronic work orders, we have the ability to solve all your property maintenance and repair issues quickly. In addition, we perform routine property inspections, reducing the chances that a major emergency will occur in the first place.
Trust your Atlanta, GA rental property to us. We will focus on the satisfaction of both you and your tenants so you don’t have to deal with the stress of managing your property and your tenants don’t have to deal with the hassle of having multiple repair issues going unresolved.