When a tenant moves onto your property, you are required to help them uphold a particular quality of life. That means offering your residents ready access to unit maintenance. That said, it is just as important to ensure that you and your janitorial contractors get protection from tenant misuse. A maintenance request policy makes it a little easier for you to control how your tenants interact with your on-site staff.
The Benefits of a Maintenance Request Policy
Establishing a maintenance request policy may seem like additional paperwork for both you and your tenants. However, the benefits of these policies include (but are not limited to):
There is nothing that serves your business quite as well as a paper trail. When your tenants file maintenance requests, your policies can require them to keep a copy of their request, word-for-word, on file. This paper trail lets you stay on top of the work your tenant has done, limiting the complaints that tenants can make at a later date regarding their unit’s condition.
Preventing Misuse of Appliances
If you have older appliances in your apartments, your residents may not be particularly content. These parties, in turn, may misuse your appliances in an attempt to request replacements. While you can always upgrade the devices in your lots to better meet your tenants’ needs, you should also protect yourself from this sort of treatment. Maintenance request policies can subsequently include an inspection of any apartment damage to detect signs of tampering.
Limiting Tenant Refurbishment
To what degree your tenants can modify their apartments is up to you. However, some tenants may try and rely on your maintenance team to fix their mistakes. If, for example, a tenant wants to install new shelves in their apartment but makes a significant dent in your wall, they may blame the damage on faulty materials. Your maintenance team, if well-protected by your request policies, can still repair that damage but charge the tenant for expenses rendered.
Protecting Your Maintenance Team
Not all maintenance request policies need to have something to do with the degree of damage that appears in your units. These policies can also explicitly protect your maintenance team. With that in mind, you can include stipulations such as:
- A resident must always be present when a member of the maintenance team is in the unit.
- The maintenance team has 72 hours to respond to a request for maintenance unless the tenant is facing an emergency.
- Tenants may not contact the maintenance team outside of working hours or complain about their units.
When you make a point to keep your maintenance team well-rested and safe from retaliation, then you do a service to your staff. You also ensure consistently effective work across all properties where these parties work.
Writing a Maintenance Request Policy Into Your Lease
You can work with an attorney to include maintenance request policies into your complex’s initial lease. However, if you want to add these policies after your tenants have signed their lease, you may want to keep templates for lease addendums on hand.
Before establishing maintenance request policies, make sure you sit down with the janitorial team you have on contract. Ask them what kind of protections they would like to have and how you can make their lives easier. With an attorney present, work out the wording in your lease to make maintenance request policies as efficiently as possible. As a group, you can establish your complex’s rules as well as tenant consequences for their violations.
Do You Really Need One?
Maintenance request policies protect both your property and your maintenance staff from inadvertent tenant abuse. When you integrate these policies into your lease, you let tenants know what kind of repairs they’re entitled to and how they need to communicate those needs to the janitorial team. Your policies can even go so far as to outline the best ways for your tenants and maintenance teams to communicate with one another, all while protecting you from any on-site damages that may arise over time.
If you’re not sure where to begin when drafting your policies, reach out to a property attorney in your area. You can work together with a representative from your janitorial contracting company to ensure that your lease is comprehensive in its protections.