The most common question I get is: What do you do when something breaks and your rental home is not in your hometown? Meaning how in the world does a landlord organize tenant repairs?
That answer is simple.
Use your personal network to ask around for a reference. If you don’t have a personal network in the area of your rental property, use Google. Use Google search to find the needed service and then call them to get price quotes. Research those vendors, make a choice, and then send them out to your rental home to complete the job.
While the strategy is by no means perfect, I honestly have done okay. My problems have been fixed and the tenants are happy. While the repairs haven’t always been the cheapest I know that they were done quickly and efficiently.
Our Process to Organize Tenant Repairs:
- Receive repair request from tenant. Ask the tenant if they are okay with you providing their contact information to the repair man to receive calls.
- Find your vendor: Call either someone we have from previous requests, ask your network for a reference, or more often than not, Google your needed service.
- Once I find the vendor I call the vendor and set everything up. I usually provide a credit card number ahead of time. I set a price limit with the vendor for the service call.
- Once your contact with the vendor is set up then provide the vendor the tenant’s contact information.
- Vendor call the tenants directly to schedule the repair or service.
- Vendor makes the house call.
- Vendor either
- a) calls me to request permission to complete repair if it is beyond our set price limit established when I first call or
- b)they simply complete the repair if it is under our preset price limit.
- I confirm with the tenants that the service or repair is complete and that they are happy.
- If they are not happy with the service then I don’t use that particular vendor again.
- Receive emailed receipt from tenant to save for tax records.
I am sure there is a better way to do it. It is by no means a science. Over time I have slowly put together my list of vendors I prefer. We have repairs rarely enough that this method has worked well for us. While I am sure there are better methods this has worked very well allowing us to do all we do while managing from around the country.
A few tips to keeping everyone honest…
- I call the repairman that only I found – This way I know I have a neutral third party.
- Screen repair or service requests- I don’t just say yes to each repair request. Respectfully deny requests that are unneeded. Seeing one lizard or spider etc. does not mean a full pest control appointment is needed. A broken AC unit?- absolutely.
- Follow up on Fault– I always follow up with the repairman to see whose responsibility it would be to cover the repair. If the repair was needed due to something the tenant did I charge the tenant. (For example a leaky faucet would be my fault but a toilet clogged with a child’s toy would be the responsibility of the tenant).
While it is nice to have a team of reputable vendors before you move out of your home and turn it into a rental home I have built most of my teams through trial and error from a distance.
While it has its moments it is VERY doable.5