Here are 6 winter maintenance best practices to be pro active and keep your rental property residents informed of actions they should take before they call.
Strategic planning makes all the difference when successfully managing a multifamily community throughout the seasons. Waiting until changes in weather hit could leave you in a bind. As winter approaches, implement a plan to help your team continue to provide an exceptional living experience.
Is your multifamily community ready for winter? Here are some best practices to better prepare for the change in seasons.
1. Be Proactive and Prepared
Year after year, we know changes in seasons will present the same challenges at multifamily communities. Set your teams up for success by reviewing protocol and pre-ordering supplies you may need for anticipated maintenance requests, such as heating-system repairs.
When in doubt this winter, be proactive and err on the side of caution. Prepare your teams and help residents enjoy a warm and cozy winter in their homes.
2. Check your Systems Year-Round
During the warmer months, all systems should not only be checked but turned on during routine inspections. If equipment is not in use during a specific time of year, it is still crucial to check that everything is properly functioning. For communities in climates with mild winters, this is even more important because heaters and fireplaces are not used frequently.
When you get comfortable and stop thoroughly performing routine maintenance checks, things can quickly turn into a maintenance emergency. Regular maintenance tune-ups help eliminate unexpected breakdowns and stop problems before they occur. Control the controllable to stay ahead of the game.
3. Keep Residents Informed
Encourage residents to test their HVAC prior to changing seasons, ensuring that it is functioning properly. For a seamless transition from season to season, transparent communication regarding winter preparation is imperative.
Residents need to be informed of any actions they should take to keep themselves safe this winter and receive a list of proper contacts in case of emergency. Over-communicate with them and make sure none of their questions are left unanswered.
4. What should you do when a winter-maintenance emergency occurs?
Unfortunately, unforeseen issues may arise despite a service team’s best efforts. In such instances, make sure the resident is comfortable and work with them to determine a desirable solution if an immediate one is not available. Remain calm but confident – this creates trust and shows that you have the resident’s best interest in mind.
5. Build Relationships with Vendors
Develop relationships with reliable vendors who offer consistent quality and support. The assistance of trusted vendors helps speed up repair processes and ensures issues are fixed the right way, the first time.
Work together to plan ahead with your vendors. Replacement parts are still quite difficult to obtain, especially when needed in a pinch. Stock up on inventory, and secure contracts before you need them.
6. The Importance of Trust
Encourage your residents to report any maintenance issues promptly. Reiterate to them the importance of bringing anything that is seen as being “off” to your team’s attention – the sooner, the better. It may end up being nothing, but chances are, if a resident notices something of concern in their home, it is a problem and needs your attention.
About the author:
Derek Studebaker is a manager of facilities and services at Mark-Taylor. With tenured experience and well-deserved recognition as MFS of the Year and AMA Team of the Year, Derek diligently heads a portfolio of Mark-Taylor communities’ service teams.