In an effort to increase and improve maintenance, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said it would cut the number of notice of inspection days by more than half, to two weeks. In the past, HUD would allow extensions up to four months.
All of this has shed light on something property managers should have but sometimes don’t - an ongoing preventative maintenance plan. Unlike studying for the test the day before the exam, your grade will always be better when you put in the work ahead of time. We’ll show you how to ace your next maintenance plan!
It’s Time to Take Preventative Measures
Preventative maintenance is critical to creating safe environments for residents. Every year there are stories in the news about injuries caused by faulty facilities. In 2017, residents in an Atlanta complex, ceilings’ collapsed in the middle of the night. The complex had begun work on the roof but only after residents had begun complaining about leaks and there had been issues with the roof long before. Many even complained of not being notified that that work was being done.
We’ve put together reasons why a plan works along with practical tips to ensure you avoid emergencies - minimizing your liability.
The week back at your property after a conference can be overwhelming. Your inbox is full, inspections are approaching, and your brain is still running a mile a minute with everything you learned at the show.
Give yourself (and your new contacts) a day or two to adjust back to your regular routine before you reach out. You don’t want your email to get lost in their own flooded inbox, do you?
Benefits of a Plan
Planning is nothing new but it takes time. There’s always a battle between what’s important vs. what’s urgent and the urgent needs always seem to take priority. With a plan, we’d argue that maintenance requests could become less urgent. We put together a list of the top reasons we think having a preventative plan should be in place without question.
Preventing Accidents and Casualties
In the above story, there were no fatalities when the ceilings collapsed but there are so many stories where that isn’t the case. There will always be incidents out of your control but for the things you do have authority over, you should make sure things are structurally sound and residents are following rules.
Limiting and Reducing Liability
Hopefully, you’re encouraging residents to purchase their own renter’s insurance but taking care of major issues keeps you out of legal trouble. Unfortunately, residents don’t always follow your safety guidelines. They keep gills on patios, animals they shouldn’t have, or don’t take time to understand the rules in general.
Residents can be a liability. Inspect, repair, and document units. As red flags appear, take the time to tackle them.
Maintaining a Reputable Reputation
Preventative measures help you maintain a good reputation for new and existing residents. In fact, a study conducted in New York Rentlogic, an independent multifamily rating company, in conjunction with Radius, found that 93% of respondents rate quality a top demand when searching for an apartment.
Building a Practical Plan for Preventative
At this point, you may be wondering where to begin. We have a few suggested places starting with your residents. There are also software tools on the market that will help you manage these needs.
Listen to your Residents
When your residents start submitting requests about small issues make sure they’re not bigger ones. Small leaks, mild pest problems, little dips in floors can all become major issues if they’re not inspected further.
Even surveying your residents can help support maintenance along with retention. According to ResidentRated, a national resident satisfaction survey program, 75% of respondents said they felt management cared more when they were asked to complete a survey. Get their feedback on what areas need the most improvement or what they’d like to see improvements on.
Time to Budget
You need to set a budget aside just for preventative costs if there’s not already one in place. Roofs need patching and replacement in the long run, common areas need refreshing, and structural components of buildings should be inspected by professionals every few years.
This should be funded over a long period of time or can be subsidized with investor dollars.
Take Notes on Conditions and Conduct Internal Inspections
What’s the condition and age of your buildings, when was the last time items were replaced or upgraded in the units, the list goes on. Every so often you should be monitoring the inside and outside condition of facilities, vacant spaces, and keeping detailed records to track replacements, upgrades, and damages.
Your maintenance crews will also become more efficient. Preventative measures creates opportunity to find small issues before they become big. This helps keep your crews from becoming backlogged.
Questions to Consider
- What gaps are in my current maintenance plan?
- How old are the units and the appliances, fixtures, ect. in them?
- What tools am I using to track maintenance needs?
- How often do your inspections take place?
If you're interested in beginning a preventative plan and in tools to help you support it, then schedule a live demo with us today.
We recently co-hosted a webinar with Multifamily Insiders titled Mastering Maintenance: Understanding Your Building’s Exterior – The First Line of Defense for Your Property. You can sign up to receive the recording here.
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