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How Can Landlords Deal With Tenant Maintenance and Repairs?

Maintenance and repair issues can happen anytime in a renter's tenancy period. Tenants may call you and tell you that something went wrong - for example, a tenant complains of a broken faucet or a clogged pipe. You as a landlord need to decide how you are going to handle this concern. 

This article will guide you on how you can deal with maintenance and repair problems. 

On this topic, several questions arise: 

1. What are some tips to handle tenant maintenance and repair requests?

2. What are the different things (basic things) that your unit has to have?

3. How do you document the repair issue or problem area when you arrive at the rental unit to check it?

Let's talk about the first of these 3 questions. What are some tips to handle tenant maintenance and repair requests?

1. Confirm the issue

Regardless of whether you were alerted about the maintenance issue via phone call or text message, make sure to send an email to confirm the call or text message you received. The simplest way to do this would be to immediately email your tenant telling him/her that you just received his/her message letting you know about the problem and that you are to call him/her shortly to discuss it.  

Sending a confirmation will help you have a written record which you can look back anytime to check the details of the maintenance issue - the date and time it occurred, what you did about the request, and how the original request came in. 

2. Give your tenant a maintenance repair form (Can be downloaded in this module).

You can give a few copies of the maintenance repair form to your tenants. Because tenants are used to calling and texting from anywhere, they may not have immediate access to the repair form (if they left it at home). In that case, have the tenant scan the repair form so they can send it to you as soon as they can. 

3. Know that you are obliged to keep your rental property in habitable condition.

This means that the rental unit must have all the basics. If anything goes wrong with any of these basic areas in your rental unit, you should address this unless the tenant did something negligent to cause its damage. You can fix the damage yourself but charge it to your tenant. We have an invoice template for this. You can download the invoice template in this module

4. Handle the problem promptly. 

Make sure to respond to the tenant's request for repair immediately. If you get a message or phone call about a maintenance issue and you happen to be away from home, remember that you cannot delay responding to the issue especially if it's urgent. 

Under the law, tenants are allowed to resort to the option which is called "Repair and Deduct." This happens when there is a reasonable delay of the repair. The tenant can take action by doing the repair himself/herself and deduct the expenses from the rent. You want to prevent this from happening as much as possible because you want to be in control of the cost and decide which contractor does the repair. The best action would be to handle the repair yourself without delay. 

For the rest of this lesson, existing Landlord Prep students should log-in to the module entitled During the Tenancy - Maintenance Issues - Maintenance and Repairs.

Not a member yet? Join the Landlord Prep: Video E-Course and How-To Tutorials so you can access this section, download the maintenance repair form and invoice template, and get the complete DIY landlording course. This will help you stay knowledgeable and confident as a landlord.