Property management – Property management companies, landlords or property managers should establish firm policies and procedures related to repair and maintenance. In addition to providing a process for tenants to report repair and maintenance problems to them, the procedures should include steps for property management companies, landlords or property managers to perform frequent maintenance inspections and track requests made by tenants. A good repair and maintenance system allows property management companies, landlords or property managers to prevent potential problems by identifying and fixing them before they become major, maintaining effective communication with tenants, and reducing potential legal liability.
Property Management – The following steps should be part of property management companies, landlords or property managers repair and maintenance process:
• Clearly set out the responsibilities for both you and your tenant for repair and maintenance in your lease or rental agreement. Remind tenants of your policies and procedures to keep your building in good repair in every written communication by printing it at the bottom of all routine notices, rent increases, and other communications.
• Use a written Landlord-Tenant Checklist, inspect rental units, and fix problems before new tenants move in. Once a year, inspect all rental units and keep copies of the completed checklist in your file.
• Don’t assume your tenants know how to handle routine maintenance problems, such as changing light bulbs or blown-out fuses, or unclogging a sink drain.
• Make it a point to explain the basics when the tenant moves into the unit. Include a brief list of maintenance “dos and don’ts” as part of your move-in materials.
• Encourage tenants to immediately report plumb- ing, heating, weatherproofing, or other defects, or safety or security problems. Handle repairs as soon as possible but definitely within the time required by state law. Keep the tenant informed.
• Keep a written log of all complaints. This should include a space to indicate your follow-up. Keep a file for each rental unit with copies of all com- plaints and repair requests from your tenants, and your response.
• Twice a year, give your tenants a checklist on which to report any potential safety hazards or mainte- nance problems that might have been overlooked. Respond promptly and in writing to all requests, keeping copies in your file.
• Especially for multi-unit buildings, place notices in several places around your property about your determination to operate a safe, well-maintained building and list phone numbers for tenants to call with maintenance requests.