As a PM, I know that one important thing in property management that's often overlooked is repairs and maintenance. It’s critical today to regularly re-evaluate how your systems really stand up to the challenge of dealing with all those tenants, anxious landlords and busy tradespeople.
How many times have you spoken with the tenant, taken down the details of the repair, talked to the owner, gained approval, and then taken the next call, forgetting about the repair until the tenant calls you three weeks later?
This is something we have all done at some point in time, and the solution is systems.
Prioritise your day – your workload can be categorised into what is most urgent and what is not, and this applies to your repairs.
Your “ideal week” should be organised so that once a day, usually for around an hour, you're going to spend your time organising your repairs. Block out all calls and let the receptionist know that during this time, you are "out of the office". Allow yourself the time to deal with repairs and, more importantly, follow up on any repairs outstanding. Pending repairs should be followed up on a weekly basis, so this is an ideal time to do that.
Every repair that is taken should be lodged into your computer software (not written in diaries or on pieces of paper), and notes taken in the software after each conversation with the tenant, landlord and the action taken with arranging a tradesperson.
Repairs that are deemed urgent, such as burst hot water systems, blocked toilets and flooding kitchens, should be dealt with within the hour. Others that are not so urgent can be lodged as you are taking the details from the tenant, and dealt with in the allocated time, but no later than two days.
Check the managing agency agreement for authority and contact the owner for authorisation before sending details through to the appropriate tradesperson.
Most software programs will allow you to print out or view on screen a repairs and maintenance report so that you can analyse the progress of any outstanding repairs and maintenance.
This is a great tool to get into the habit of using, as you can follow up with those tradespeople that may be a bit slower in getting around to repairs, and find out what the issue may be, as well as follow up with tenant's when the work is complete.
As a tenant, there is nothing worse than feeling like you are being ignored or unloved by your property manager. The same goes for your landlord. So it's part of your juggling act to make sure that all parties are happy. After all, a happy tenant and landlord makes a happy property manager.
Bob is one of Australia’s leading authorities on residential property management. In 2005, Bob launched a property management procedural system called “The Bob Walters Property Management System”, a 1,200+ page “property management business in a box”. This System has been purchased by more than 400 agencies across Australia and New Zealand. He is also Australia’s largest selling author of property management audio/visual training products.