No landlord ever likes to think about emergencies, but something will inevitably happen at your property that requires immediate attention. Hot water heaters will begin leaking and flood, the heat will stop working and trees will fall down and destroy fences, decks and roofs. It’s important to have a plan in place to ensure these emergencies are responded to immediately and correctly.
Establish who will be the tenant’s point of contact if an emergency does occur. This might be you, if you’re managing your property on your own, or a Grand Rapids property manager if you are working with a professional company. There are also after hours services that can take the calls and evaluate what needs to be done. Someone has to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and even on holidays. Emergencies are not going to occur only on Mondays through Fridays between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00. Make sure the tenant knows what the process is when an emergency occurs. They should know who to call and what to do.
The person or company who serves as the emergency contact needs to be able to evaluate the situation quickly and accurately. If the furnace stops working on one of the coldest days of the year, that’s an emergency. If a toilet backs up and it’s the only toilet in the house, that’s also an emergency. A clogged bathroom sink when there are two other bathrooms in the home does not constitute an emergency.
You’ll need a reliable list of qualified and reasonably priced vendors who are willing to take care of emergencies around the clock. You don’t want to find yourself looking for a plumber in the middle of the night on a Saturday. These relationships and contracts need to be in place already so professionals are responsive when you need them.
The best way to handle emergencies is to be prepared for them. Stay on top of preventative maintenance, inform your tenants of what to do if something goes wrong and have a solid plan in place that ensures every emergency gets the response it needs.
If you have any questions about how to prepare for these situations, or you’d like to discuss your options further, please contact us at United Properties of West Michigan.