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How to Handle a Maintenance Emergency Effectively

We all know property management is not a typical 9-5 job. From leasing, collecting rent, budgeting, marketing, and managing residents (plus all the other things we’re leaving out here), a property manager’s responsibilities can seem endless. But nothing quite prepares you for that first middle-of-the-night phone call: the inevitable maintenance emergency.

When the costs start adding up and the worries begin to pile on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, property maintenance and unexpected emergencies are an inherent part of the job.

Unfortunately emergencies happen, making preparation crucial. Quick response and well-defined procedures are essential for keeping your renters happy and your property in good condition. But before we get into that, it first might help to understand…

What Constitutes a Maintenance Emergency? 

Does your maintenance team understand what qualifies as a maintenance emergency? Sometimes it’s fairly obvious. If, for example, a water main breaks causing the entire building to flood. But what if the toilet is clogged or the oven stopped working? Is that an emergency? Clearly defining emergencies helps your team respond appropriately.

Prioritizing What Matters Most

When an emergency occurs, it’s important to respond quickly. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell what the situation requires. Train your maintenance team to respond promptly and prioritize tasks based on urgency. Ensure they understand the chain of command, have access to essential tools and resources, and are prepared to make quick decisions. A well-coordinated response can help mitigate further damage and restore things to normalcy. As a bonus, you could provide your residents a detailed list of what constitutes emergency maintenance.

Coordinating with Vendors

Depending on the maintenance emergency, you may need to turn to an outside vendor for help. However, the vendor pool is not as vast as we might hope, with roughly 77 percent of tradespeople acknowledging the insufficient availability of skilled hands, according to a report from Angi. Building strong relationships with reliable professionals before an emergency maintenance occurs is critical. Maintain a list of trusted contacts for various emergency scenarios, such as plumbers, electricians, or restoration companies. This will help you resolve maintenance issues quicker and minimize disruptions for your residents.

Remembering which vendor to send to which property is hard. If you’re using Connect247 to coordinate your maintenance, you can always keep a record of your preferred service providers for each property. Connect247 lets you configure dispatching rules to get service appointments booked at lightning speed.

Supporting Your Residents

A maintenance emergency can be a difficult time for the affected resident(s). Maybe their furniture was destroyed, or some sentimental items were lost in a unit fire. 

Train your staff to handle stressful situations with empathy and professionalism. Create a clear protocol for communicating with residents during emergencies, ensuring they receive timely updates and guidance on safety measures. By maintaining a calm approach, you can help alleviate anxiety and build trust with your residents.

Always be Prepared for a Maintenance Emergency

Whether it’s routine (i.e. a clogged toilet) or an emergency, Connect247 assures 60 second response times to all your residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Request a demo today to learn more.

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