When you’re a landlord, one of the inevitable aspects of the job will be repair work. It’s just a fact of life that sometimes, things break. While a broken appliance or plumbing mishap might be an inconvenience to you, it’s important to remember that it’s a quality of life issue for the tenant. They’ve got nowhere else to go, and they’ll be looking to you for a quick solution.
There are a few reasons why it’s important to get things fixed in as short a time frame as possible. For starters, the law has a lot to say on the topic. Depending on where you are, a “reasonable” amount of time is set for fixes to be made by the landlord, as soon as they are informed of a problem. Secondly, an ongoing problem is going to spell bad news for your relationship with your tenant. If you want to retain them, you’ll want to sort out their issues as quickly as possible.
Some repairs are more important, time-wise, than others. These are considered emergency repairs. Flooding, lack of electricity or running water, or a broken heater are certainly in the realm of emergency repairs, because they go beyond mere inconvenience; your tenant could suffer considerably without prompt repair, and the law is certainly on their side, no matter what state you’re in. Reasonable time here may be just a day or two, or up to a week. The longer the problem persists, the less happy your tenant will be.
For lesser, non-emergency repairs, the general rule of thumb is a 30 day maximum time limit. This means stuff like a dripping faucet, broken handles, and other inconveniences that nonetheless can be worked around. As long as the unit is still livable, and you’re making a good faith effort to get a repairman in there as soon as possible, the law is on your side. However, the tenant may not be.
This is why it’s important to go above and beyond the bare minimum laid out by law. Not only will a bad repair experience sour a tenant on the idea of renewing their agreement, it might lead to bad word-of-mouth for you and your rental property. Once you’ve been informed of a necessary repair issue, it’s best to get someone in there to fix it as soon as possible. If it’s something small, you might be able to do it yourself. If it’s a big repair, requiring specialized skills and tools, you’ll want to put your money down and send in a plumber, electrician, or whoever is qualified for the situation.
As with many investments in life, it’s best to spend money now to keep making it in the future. Your tenants will be happier and your bank account will be fuller in the long run.