Rental Maintenance 101: Why Landlords Should Follow Up On Repairs

Every landlord dreads the call from their tenant informing them of a flooded basement or leak in the roof. While these situations can be costly and stressful, there’s also a silver lining. Tough situations are an opportunity for you to put your interpersonal skills to the test. Show off your superb landlord skills by providing friendly, professional follow-up on repairs.

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It shows your tenant that you’re on top of maintenance requests

Maintenance issues are consistently one of the most common complaints made by renters. Many have had negative experiences with previous landlords and may expect their requests to be ignored. Exceed their expectations by being receptive to their needs and proactive. Once you’ve responded and arranged for the appropriate repairs to be made, contact them in one or two days. It can be as simple as a quick phone call, email, or text, depending on how you communicate. A follow-up demonstrates that you value the property and treat the rental and the landlord-tenant relationship as a professional endeavor.

Tenants can provide valuable information

When you check in with your tenants about recent maintenance, a lot of the information that they provide you will be related to their satisfaction with the process. As an added bonus, your tenants can also provide you with excellent feedback on the service provider. Maybe the roofer said that the leak has been taken care of, but your renters will be able to confirm that.

If you have a go-to plumber or electrician, this is the time to see how they’re doing. It’s important for you as a landlord or property manager to know that your investment is in good hands. Find out how easy they were to work with and whether or not the issues were completely fixed. If your renters interacted with the service provider and had a poor experience, then you might want to start looking for a new go-to company.

It opens the lines of communication

Ask any landlord and they’ll tell you that they’d rather know about a problem sooner, rather than later, and they would prefer to arrange for the repairs, rather than have a tenant try and make the fix themselves when they don’t have the expertise.

So how do you get your tenants to communicate with you? The simplest way is through positive reinforcement, which is a behavioral technique that gives a reward after a desire behavior is displayed.  When your renters come to you with maintenance issues, provide them with a positive experience by showing them that you listened to their request, took the necessary action, and followed up with them. If they feel good about the experience, then they will be more likely to repeat that action in the future. Bottom line: reward the behaviors that you want to see from your renters.

Happy Tenants = Happy Landlord

The landlord-tenant relationship doesn’t have to be a contentious one, and it can benefit you financially to be attentive to your tenants’ needs. Tenant turnover is costly and finding new renters can be time-consuming. It’s much easier to keep the renters you have that to look for new ones each time the lease is up.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

If the issue was lengthy or a great inconvenience to the tenant, thank them for their patience and consider adding a special touch, like a gift card to their favorite coffee shop or restaurant. (This does not replace any large inconveniences that you may have had to compensate, for instance, if you put your renter up in a hotel because they could not reside in the unit until repairs were made.) A small gesture can go a long way. If you have many units, then you can streamline the process to make it scalable. Consider drafting a follow-up email that encourages feedback, or even a satisfaction survey so that you can easily gather feedback from multiple people.

You can’t go wrong with a simple follow-up. You’ll gain valuable insight into your maintenance process and find out if your service providers are meeting your expectation. You and your tenants will improve your communication style and establish trust. Plus, your tenants will be happy, which will make you a lot happier. Be genuine in your communication and take feedback into consideration.


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