No landlord wants the phone to ring at 3 a.m. with a tenant or the police reporting an emergency. But the more tenants you have, the more likely it is that problems will happen outside the regular work day. As you add properties to your portfolio and are dealing with an increasing number of tenants, a systematic plan for handling after-hours emergencies becomes critical.
After hours emergency protocols or plans detail how your tenants should deal with a variety of emergency issues, including when and how to contact you and when they should call 911 or the police. Depending on your level of experience and how many tenant issues you’ve had to resolve, anticipating what might go wrong can be a challenge. Professional property managers can use their wealth of experience to help you create an effective, comprehensive plan to use with your tenants. And, they can also be the ones to deal with the after-hours calls and the headaches that come with them.
Develop an Emergency Procedures for Tenants
Your emergency procedures should include instructions for dealing with various maintenance issues after hours, a lockout policy, and a way for tenants to reach someone to discuss a problem with the rental property. After-hours protocols should be clear, well-written policies that are provided to the tenant and posted on your website, along with an emergency number where you can be reached in case of a life-threatening emergency.
You should also make sure that law enforcement agencies can reach you easily in case of a dangerous situation on your property. Emergency protocols should also contain guidance for tenants about disaster preparedness.
Implement Emergency Procedures With a Property Manager
Experienced property managers can help you devise effective, comprehensive emergency protocols. In addition, they can also be the ones to deal with the frequent after-hours issues. For owners of multiple rentals, calls about plumbing emergencies, broken furnaces, and other urgent (and sometimes not so urgent) issues can really add up, and often when you are least able or willing to deal with them, including late nights and holidays. With professional manager’s experience comes expertise to plan for and handle any issues, and pros typically have deals with contractors to get quality emergency work done, and done for a fair price.
A property management company may recommend working with a professional call center trained to advise tenants on dealing with various after-hours issues, or management companies may have their own personnel on call. Depending on the nature and frequency of problems, a security company may also be warranted.
Appfolio has additional advice and suggestions for evaluating your after hours emergency protocols. Or read more about working with a professional management company that can help you to create and implement a plan and cut down on the hassles.