Pandemic or no pandemic: there are times when something breaks and needs to be fixed. For landlords, this presents a problem. At a time when social distancing has become a key part of everyday life, at least for the short term, what are the safety concerns and potential legal ramifications of performing routine maintenance tasks?
As one of the best providers of property management San Antonio has to offer, we have developed a plan for dealing with maintenance during social distancing—and we're here to help you do the same.
Here's how to make sure necessary maintenance gets done—all while keeping you and your renters safe and secure.
A quick foreword: This article is not intended as a substitute for medical or legal advice. If you're facing a challenge that requires the skills of a competent attorney or expert property management, San Antonio landlords, reach out to us for more guidance!
Develop a Pandemic Maintenance Policy
The most important first step is to establish a protocol for how and when maintenance will get done and how you will prioritize different tasks. Obviously, there are certain repairs and maintenance tasks, like a burst water pipe or a broken essential appliance, that will need to take precedence; others may have to wait. In any case, it's important to establish which is which.
Handle Maintenance Requests Virtually
Depending on how many properties you manage, it might be simple to handle maintenance requests without face-to-face contact. If you only manage a single property with one or two tenants, you can probably handle requests for maintenance and repairs over the phone.
However, if you have multiple properties, you may want to set up an online platform for organizing requests. An alternative is to rely on the best property management San Antonio has to offer: they have dedicated maintenance lines to handle requests like this 24/7.
Determine What's Essential
During the pandemic, it's best to put non-emergency maintenance work on hold. If you are the owner of a single-family or duplex rental in San Antonio, chances are a lot of day-to-day maintenance is already the responsibility of your tenants (checking smoke detectors, replacing light bulbs, cutting the grass, etc.). But you are still responsible for making emergency repairs, so it's important to establish what is considered an emergency. Typically this would include things like:
- Burst pipes
- Gas leaks
- A lack of heat or A/C
- Electrical failures
- Leaks in the roof
- Blocked or broken toilets
- Broken (essential) appliances
- No water or hot water.
Decide When to Make Repairs
Timing is important: when essential maintenance or repairs need to be carried out, work with your tenants to establish a time that works for both of you. If the job requires you to enter your tenant's living space, it's best to try to schedule maintenance for a time when your tenant will not be home. If this is not possible, make sure your tenant is comfortable with you entering, and establish a protocol for sharing the same space.
It's important to stay informed and be flexible as this situation evolves. Keep tabs on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, as well as your local health officials, for updated COVID-19 information—and be ready to adjust your plans and policies accordingly.
Experts are expecting that we'll have to go through another round of illness come fall, so having a plan in place now to manage your maintenance during the next wave will be useful.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
Communicating with your tenants and planning maintenance carefully is essential both for your safety and theirs. It's also important for your own legal protection during the COVID-19 pandemic (we recently heard reports of a California woman who called her city attorney's office to report a landlord doing maintenance in her apartment without permission while she was home). To avoid these situations, be sure to always:
- Make your tenants aware of any policy you put in place regarding maintenance tasks, and which ones are considered essential.
- When maintenance is necessary, communicate with your tenants to establish what needs to be done—and when. If you need to enter your tenant's place of residence, be sure to let them know when you plan to arrive, what you will be doing, and how long it will take.
- Ensure that you and your tenants are on the same page regarding safety measures (i.e., social distancing, wearing protective masks) if you must be in the same space at the same time.
Work With Expert Property Management, San Antonio Landlords!
Dealing with maintenance during a pandemic can be hectic, confusing, and overwhelming. There are always benefits to working with qualified property management, San Antonio—but in these strange times, those benefits are more clear than ever.
- Property managers are the experts at handling maintenance and repairs, so you don't have to come into direct contact with your renters or enter their living space without adequate PPE.
- Working with a property manager removes all the potential headaches associated with maintaining your property. You can rest assured that all maintenance is being handled in a timely fashion by trained professionals.
- Property managers also have a great network of licensed and insured vendors on call whenever they are needed.
- You get landlord peace of mind from knowing that all laws and regulations are being closely adhered-to.
Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of working with the best property management San Antonio has to offer when you work with Real Property Management Campanas! We know that maintenance and upkeep aren't the only elements of rental property you may be struggling with right now.
That's why we also want to offer you access to our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook completely free! It's got tips inside from the experts in property management San Antonio landlords need. Stay safe and stay healthy: we're here for you!