Most landlords can handle tenant repair requests much more efficiently with the use of a tiny bit of technology. I promise, this is painless to set up and administer, and you will thank me, forever.
Here are the problems that need to be solved (aside from the cash to pay for the repairs)
- Tenant says she notified you about a repair. You think she is lying, or you might have forgotten, or she might have told someone else, who did not give you the message.
- Tenant sends you a written communication about a repair request, but you either overlooked it, it got stuck in your spam folder, or you read it and then forgot to do anything.
- You receive a repair request and then have to spend a significant amount of time contacting the correct repair person.
- You contact the correct repair person but forget some important detail about the repair request .
- You respond to the repair request, your repair person tells you the problem was caused by the tenant (teddy bear flushed down toilet, for example) or there was no problem at all (HVAC working fine, doing the best it can on a 104-degree day, for example)
All of this can be remedied with a simple online repair request system. It will
- Create a paper trail of proof
- Provide a tickler system you can review periodically
- Allow you to forward the exact repair request to your people, plus adding your own comments or instructions
- Allow the repair person to report back to you with the entire communication chain for that problem, and advise if there were no problem at all, or the charges should be billed to the tenant.
You can have your own online repair request system, FREE. You do it by creating a form with an online form service, such as Formstack.com or JotTot.com, or even Google forms. The service is free, with a limited number of forms or a limited number of uses per month. The limits are perfect for people like landlords. You will never exceed the "free service" limits.
Require all tenants to use the online form to report problems. Make sure your lease says that is the only acceptable method of reporting repairs. Don't worry if your existing lease does not say that. Just be rigorous about sending out periodic notices telling people about the new procedure. If anyone tries to call you, or send a text, simply refer them to the online form.
Once they complete the form, the system will generate an email to you with all the form information. You can forward that to your repair person, and add your own comments. He or she can then reply, with their own comments. You have a complete paper trail for future reference. Life just got a little bit easier!
If you need instructions, or want to see a sample form and how it all works, email me.
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