Next to screening tenants, maintenance is the most important task that landlords take care of on a regular basis. Without regular maintenance, rental properties can fall into disarray and tenants can quickly begin feeling neglected and alienated. Not only does maintenance ensure that your tenants are happy and your property in tip top shape, but it also keeps your tenants and neighbours safe and protected. In most landlord-tenant relationships, maintenance requests make up the majority of interactions between both parties.
While all rental property maintenance is important, not all requests can be addressed immediately. This requires landlords to prioritize maintenance requests so that the most important issues can be addressed as soon as possible, with the less pressing tasks being addressed when the opportunity presents itself.
Emergency maintenance tasks need to be addressed immediately
The absolute highest priority maintenance issues are those which pose an immediate danger to your tenants, could potentially compromise the habitability and safety of the property, or issues that could be detrimental to its overall value. These include things like burst pipes, major water leaks, fires, and heating failure during winter months. If these issues aren’t addressed immediately, they can pose a danger to your tenants, affect the overall living conditions of your unit, and cause irreparable damage to the rental property.
Emergency maintenance is often something you’ll want to have contractors and other professionals on call to deal with – you should have a preferred plumber, electrician, and HVAC expert to deal with these tasks in a quick and effective manner to ensure that proper living conditions can be restored immediately.
Higher priority tasks that require your attention sooner than later
Some tasks are considered high priority, but don’t need to be addressed the minute the request is received. Things including leaking roofs, pipes or faucets, out-of-commission appliances like refrigerators and stoves, or pest infestations are very important maintenance issues to tackle, but aren’t necessarily considered “emergency” situations that put tenants in immediate danger. Like emergency maintenance, many of these items may require the knowledge and expertise of a skilled professional to effectively resolve the problem.
Prior to addressing these issues, you should first check in with tenants to make sure that all is well. This will show tenants that you’re aware of the problem, and give you and your tenant an opportunity to create a schedule for resolving the issue. Since these are things that can seriously affect the enjoyment of tenants, put your property at risk, and raise utility bills significantly, they should be dealt with in a timely fashion – especially if you want to make tenants happy and save yourself a headache down the line.
In addition to higher priority maintenance tasks, there are also medium priority issues that need to be resolved in a timely fashion, but are less damaging to your property and your tenant’s enjoyment. Things like debris removal after a large storm, season maintenance tasks, and preventative maintenance. Items like these can be dealt with whenever it’s convenient for your tenants, and can generally be completed by even inexperienced landlords.
Lower priority tasks that can be dealt with at your discretion
The majority of the lowest priority maintenance tasks are generally cosmetic in nature, allowing you to deal with them at your own leisure as they don’t interfere with tenant safety, nor do they diminish the overall long-term value of your property investment. Low priority maintenance tasks include things like replacing light bulbs, conducting minor drywall fixes, fixing interior doors, and repainting.
While these issues don’t need to be addressed immediately, your tenants will appreciate it when you work with them to solve minor issues. In terms of keeping tenants happy and your property looking its best, cosmetic maintenance shouldn’t be neglected – waiting too long to address these things can cost you tenants and affect curb appeal.
Creating a network of maintenance professionals and giving your tenants an immediate way to reach you in the event of an emergency is imperative to addressing and resolving emergency and high priority maintenance. By acting quickly and calling on professionals when it’s appropriate, you’ll be able to keep tenants safe and happy, and ensure that your investment is protected for the long-term.
If you just can’t seem to find enough time in the day to address rental property maintenance, consider enlisting the services of a Toronto property management company like HighGate Properties. Our experienced team works with residential landlords to handle emergency and regular maintenance, as well as tenant screening and day-to-day issues so that you can focus your time and energy on the important things in your life. To learn more about the Toronto property management and real estate services offered by the team at HighGate Properties, contact us today.