Today, we are discussing maintenance emergencies in your San Antonio rental property and how you should respond. If you don’t have a plan in place already to respond to emergencies, we suggest you create a policy and a procedure that will help you effectively and efficiently handle these things. Your prompt response is important for two reasons:
It protects the condition and the future of your investment property.
It keeps your tenants protected and feeling secure.
We’ll tell you what we do at Mynd Property Management, and we’ll offer some advice on how to get a handle on this yourself if you’re managing a rental property on your own.
Identify What an Emergency Really Is
When a light bulb burns out, that’s not exactly an emergency.
The first thing you need to do is establish some boundaries and expectations about what constitutes an emergency and what doesn’t. At Mynd, we notify our residents about emergency procedures and the definition of an emergency before they even move in. We want to avoid any emergency calls that aren’t actually emergencies.
Every repair issue is unpleasant. A toilet that doesn’t flush in one bathroom is a huge inconvenience, but if there’s another working toilet in the house, it’s not an emergency. Make sure you and your residents are on the same page about emergencies. You don’t need your residents calling and texting at all hours for things that you simply won’t be able to respond to right away.
If the house is on fire or there’s a major leak that’s causing water to flood the home, those are obviously emergencies. Be clear and specific with your residents. Put the information in writing in your lease agreement, of course. But, it’s also worth it to have a discussion with your residents so they understand what you’re saying and how you define an emergency.
Rental Property Emergency Procedures
At Mynd, when an emergency occurs and our resident reports us, we immediately determine what needs to be done first. Our team handles the situation from start to finish, and while we’re taking care of things, we notify the property owner.
You need to be responsive, and you need to have a procedure in place. If you don’t already have a process in writing, you need to create one.
The most important thing you can do is stop the emergency as soon as possible. This starts by educating your residents. If the house is flooding, you don’t want those residents waiting for you to come over while the water rises. You want to make sure your resident knows how to shut off the water.
When you’re thinking about maintenance emergencies at your rental property, you want to make sure you’re prepared for them before they happen. Does your resident know where the shut-off valve is for the water? Do your residents know where the gas line is, and how to shut it down? These are things you can show them with pictures and instructions in your lease agreement or through an orientation process when they’re moving in.
Every rental property owner is afraid they’re going to get that call at 2:00 a.m. that something’s wrong. If you do get that call, you want your residents to be capable and prepared. Then, you can step in and take the necessary actions.
Above all, make sure the rental home is safe and habitable.
Get to Know the Texas Property Code
In San Antonio, the Texas Property Code determines what is and is not an emergency. If you aren’t familiar with the Texas Property Code, you should really educate yourself on it. Renting out a property in San Antonio or anywhere in Texas is nearly impossible if you don’t understand the requirements and responsibilities in this law. Each state and city will have its own requirements, but for us, the Texas Property Code helps us establish the legal definition of what an emergency is.
Following the legal definition of an emergency is not negotiable, and your standards and procedures need to follow the legal guidelines. There’s also good customer service. When you’re providing a great rental experience for your residents and you’re focused on retaining those good residents for the long term, you want to fix something right away whether it’s an emergency or not. Don’t leave things for too long because you’ll cause further damage to your property and you’ll have a frustrated resident who is not having their needs met.
Responding to maintenance emergencies with good customer service in mind is important. At Mynd, we will notify our residents of our plan and let them know what they should do. We’ll guide them through any actions that they need to take right away, and then we’ll assure them that the first available vendor will be at the property to completely take care of the issue.
Know the law and respond appropriately. Make sure you’re communicating well with your residents and have an established and written definition in place so they know what an emergency really looks like.
This can get complicated, so if you’re in doubt about the legal requirements of maintenance emergencies or you’re not sure you have the time and resources to respond to an emergency at your rental home, you need to consider working with a San Antonio property management company.
We’d be happy to help. Contact us at Mynd Property Management if you have any questions about emergency maintenance repairs in San Antonio or surrounding areas like New Braunfels, Converse, and neighboring communities.
We also have other opportunities to connect with us and learn more about investing in San Antonio. You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.