August Maintenance Month: Commonly Asked Questions

For the month of August, we are focusing on Maintenance. Maintenance is such a vital part of Property Management and, at the same time, can cause the most headaches.

To start this month off, we are going to discuss some commonly asked questions from our clients:

1. Why can’t you use the vendor that I choose?
Does your vendor have the following?

  • Fair Housing Education
  • Liability Insurance Coverage of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence
  • Auto Insurance
  • Contractors License
  • Other applicable licensing or training (lead safe, builders, remediation)
  • Workers Comp Insurance
  • Willing to sign an agreement outlining how they will work within our system of managing your home.

If yes, great! Send them our way and we will sign them up for our approved vendors list!
If not, your risk is GREATLY increased by having them at your property. In our many years and thousands of work orders of experience, we have made mistakes with hiring inexpensive contractors. We have also made good decisions and saved our clients from lawsuits due to our diligence. Learning from those experiences, we will only work with our approved vendors list.

2. Why didn’t you charge the tenant for this work order?
First, lets define Normal Wear & Tear vs Damage.

  • Normal Wear & Tear: a repair that is needed due to something reaching its end of life or a malfunction – responsibility of the landlord.
  • Damage: a repair that is needed due to a resident or resident’s guest negligence or misuse of an item – charged to the tenant

The line between these two is very subjective. For every work order that comes through, we assess a situation for whether it is Damage or Normal Wear & Tear. We look at the following aspects:

  • How long has the tenant lived in the home?
  • What was the condition of this item before the repair was needed?
  • How old is the item in question?
  • Was this item on the inventory check-in sheet?

Keep in mind that as a landlord, the repairs will be paid first by you and then the resident will reimburse you. This is the process for charging a tenant:

  1. Work Order is requested or created.
  2. Work Order is completed and billed to owner. Then charged to tenant’s ledger.
  3. Invoice is paid by owner.
  4. Charge is paid by tenant within 30 days.

 

3. Can I get an estimate? How much does that cost?
Per our management agreement, we will perform any work that is under $300 to our discretion of whether it is needed. If an item is going to cost more than $300, we will get approval from you except in the case of an emergency (usually this is to prevent further damage from happening).
Some items are worthy of an estimate. Some items are not. If it is a routine item that we handle on a regular basis: i.e., stove, furnace, painting, cleaning, we already have an estimate in mind and a vendor that we know can provide the best value to you. 

If it is more extensive or complicated work, we will ask for an estimate from an approved vendor.

4. When will they fix it? Can you let me know what was wrong before they fix it?
In order to be an approved vendors with Access, you must have a quick turnaround time. Our vendors have to schedule the maintenance with tenants so we don’t know the exact time and date the work is completed. If a repair will cost under $300, you will not be notified prior to the work being completed. After a work order is completed, you can log into your portal to see the closing comments. If you need more details, please feel free to call ask!

 

5. Why is there a markup?
Because we are high volume customers with our vendors, we often get reduced rates. With our mark up, you are still getting a great deal. Here are the all the items we manage that are covered under the mark-up:

  • Working only with approved vendors.
  • Verifying Insurance and licenses are up to date.
  • Software to document and track all work order requests, invoices, and bill payments.
  • Envelopes, Stamps, Checks and ACH fees to pay bills.
  • Extensive communication with vendors, tenants, and clients to ensure work order completion.
  • Our knowledge and experience handling all of these items to reduce your risk of liability.
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Jennifer Bajema

About the author

Jennifer Bajema is the Co-founder of Access Property Management Group. She has worked in every part of the company, but now focuses on client education and business growth. Her experience in running a property management business is now over 10 years!

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