As a landlord, you need to be prepared. Months and months could go by in a tenancy, and you don't hear a single little thing from your renters. But then, out of nowhere, you get the call/text/email/smoke pigeon (delete as appropriate) saying the boiler is broken. Or the shower is leaking. Or the washing machine no longer works.
Now the ball's in your court, and you need to react fast. After all, being a landlord means providing a product (your property) and a service to your customer (the renter). It's time to handle the repair request, but just how do you do it?
From responding to repair requests to determining the action you should take, maintenance and repairs play a significant role in the life of the landlord. So we thought it would be a good idea to write a guide on how to handle repair requests from renters.
What is a repair request?
Issues are bound to arise during a tenancy, from relatively minor things like replacing a bit of grout in the bathroom to more worrying stuff like the boiler breaking down. As the landlord, it's your responsibility to tend to any maintenance issues that aren't at the fault of the renter.
Essentially, you need to ensure the structure and exterior of the home is in good condition. Some of these include things like the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering, windows, external doors and pipes, as well as the pipework, basins, sinks, baths and toilets. You will also need to fix fair wear and tear on furniture if you furnished the property.
Your tenancy agreement will dictate your responsibilities when it comes to maintenance, so you should familiarise yourself with it before the tenancy begins. The same goes for the renter moving into the property.
How quickly should you respond to a repair request?
If the renter reports an issue with the property, it's in your best interest to respond as quickly as possible. Of course, there may be other factors at play, such as time differences if you're located in another country or you might not be able to respond if your busy or at work.
However, it might be worth sending the renter a text to acknowledge that you received their message and will get back to them. It's also in your best interests to sort repair out in a speedy manner so that it doesn't get worse – and potentially more costly – over time.
Do you need to handle repairs?
While it's your responsibility to pay for any repairs that need undertaking, you don't necessarily need to deal with the whole process. If you choose to hire a property management company, they will handle the day-to-day running of the home – including repairs and maintenance.
The property management company will get in touch with you to sign off on repair jobs, but they will handle the fundamentals, from finding a tradesperson to arranging the repair. If, however, you choose to manage the property yourself, you will be entirely responsible for arranging and overseeing maintenance requests.
Keeping a good relationship with your renters
One of the best ways to ensure smooth repair requests involves keeping a good relationship with your renter. That doesn't mean you need to be the best of friends, but mutual respect and a professional relationship will go a long way dealing with repairs with minimal problems.
If you change contact details, make sure that you update the renter. It also won't hurt to drop them a text once in a while, asking how everything is going. However your relationship evolves, you shouldn't be negligent or dismissive when they contact you regarding repairs.
The best landlord around
Having to deal with repairs can be a hassle, especially when there is a financial outlay. Though the costs can usually be set-off against your tax and the odd repair here and there is much better than an empty property or an unhappy renter who leaves as soon as the tenancy finishes. Handling repairs efficiently will likely lead to happier renters and longer tenancies.
Get more helpful information about being a landlord with our Landlord Resources page. And if you'd like to know more about letting your home with Movebubble, get in touch with one of our team and see how you can rent your home faster with Home Walkthroughs and Instant Bookings from verified renters.