How Prepared Are You for a Maintenance Crisis?

If you manage properties, any day can swing from calm to crazy in an instant. 


There’s a fire, a flood, a deep freeze that causes multiple burst pipes. 


While there’s often no warning about an impending disaster, you can be sure that an emergency will occur at some point, so it’s best to have a plan. 


Here are some tips on emergency preparedness: 


  • Develop a Written Emergency Plan: Establish a written plan outlining specific procedures and responsibilities for emergencies, such as plumbing leaks, electrical failures, HVAC malfunctions, or security breaches. Ensure that all property management team members are familiar with the plan and can easily access it.


  • Establish Clear Communication Channels: Ensure that you have a reliable communication system, which may include a 24/7 hotline or email alerts for tenants to report issues. Additionally, maintain up-to-date contact information for contractors, maintenance personnel, and critical team members who may need to be notified in an emergency. Virtual employees can continue working remotely even when physical offices are inaccessible or compromised due to a disaster. This ensures essential business operations can continue, reducing downtime and financial losses.



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  • Prioritize Safety: Ensure your emergency plan includes steps to assess and address potential safety hazards promptly. This may involve evacuating tenants, shutting off utilities, or securing the affected area to prevent further damage. 


  • Quick Response and Availability: Consider implementing a system for on-call property management where someone from your team is available around the clock to handle emergencies. Virtual employees can fill this role. This quick response can prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems.


  • Build Relationships with Reliable Contractors: Establish relationships with contractors for plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and general maintenance. Ensure they are licensed, insured, and capable of responding quickly to emergencies.


  • Conduct Regular Property Inspections: Conduct regular inspections to identify and address potential issues before they escalate. Check for signs of wear and tear, such as leaks, faulty wiring, or deteriorating infrastructure, and address them promptly to avoid emergencies.


  • Document Maintenance Procedures: Documenting maintenance procedures and creating an accessible resource library can be invaluable during emergencies. Include step-by-step guides for everyday maintenance tasks, such as shutting off water or electricity, and provide clear instructions for tenants on how to respond to different types of emergencies. Virtual employees can help you develop and maintain these documents.



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  • Maintain Adequate Insurance Coverage: Ensure your insurance policy includes coverage for property damage, liability claims, and business interruption. Regularly review and update your coverage to reflect changes in your property portfolio. 


  • Establish an Emergency Fund: Set aside a part of your property’s monthly rental income to build a reserve that can cover unexpected repair costs. Having funds readily available can help you address emergencies promptly without affecting your overall budget.


  • Educate Tenants: Provide tenants with clear instructions on reporting issues, including after-hours emergency contact information. Encourage them to take preventive measures, such as turning off faucets during extended absences or unplugging appliances when not in use, to reduce the risk of emergencies. 


  • Regularly Update and Test Emergency Equipment: If your property is equipped with safety and emergency equipment, such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, or emergency lighting, it’s essential to ensure they are regularly inspected, tested, and maintained. Compliance with safety regulations not only protects your tenants but also minimizes the risk of emergencies. 


  • Evaluate and Learn from Past Emergencies: After a maintenance emergency is resolved, take the time to conduct a post-incident analysis. Assess what went well and identify areas that need improvement in your emergency response procedures. Use this information to refine your emergency plan and training for future incidents.


Ultimately, being well-prepared and responsive in times of crisis can mitigate damage, enhance tenant satisfaction, and safeguard the long-term value of your properties.  


Our virtual employees can help you with many facets of your maintenance, emergency planning, response, and review. 


If you’re interested in chatting more about this, click here to schedule an appointment at your convenience. 


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