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Property Management Blog

Why we do NOT update owners about repairs until they are done

Why we do NOT update owners about repairs until they are done

Taking care of repairs is one of the major tasks for any property management company. Some of the owners may be hiring a property management company, precisely because they don’t want to deal with the repairs.

I can’t blame them. Repair requests always come in on Friday night. OK, that’s not really true, but it feels that way, and there are a fair amount of requests come in at evenings and weekends when you are relaxing. That is just the first step. Now you have to figure out which vendor to contact, which means you have to have a list of reliable vendors. After you contact the vendor, you have to set up the time that works both for the vendor and the tenant. Then the repair happens. Depending on how the property management contract is written, the property manager may contact the owner for approval of the repairs. Once the repair is done, you pay the invoice and record the transaction into software, at least that’s what we do. And at the end of the year, depending on the tax status of the vendor and the amount we paid to them, we may have to send a 1099 tax form to them. And this is just for one repair, so imagine if you have to juggle multiple repairs, you'll see that repair management quickly becomes time-consuming and complex.

You might have realized above that the only time that I may contact the owner regarding repairs is if the repair amount is above a certain amount that is specified in the property management agreement. That means if the repair is below the threshold, I will NOT contact the owner.

Why am I not communicating repair issues with their properties? Isn’t it important for the owner to know what’s going on with their properties? My answer to that is while each owner will feel differently, we believe that communicating with every little detail is not only unnecessary, it’ll be a time-wasting activity for both the owners and the property managers.

Imagine a large branch fell in a yard but caused no damage. The tenant of that property notifies me. If I notify the owner, who is probably busy doing something else, what kind of value is he getting? He’s not going to do anything about the branch because that is the job of a property manager. At best, he’ll just say, “OK, thanks for letting me know,” and move on with his life, knowing that the property manager will take care of it. Or worse, he’ll start to worry about things he doesn’t have to. I wonder if all the other branches are OK. I wonder how much it’ll cost to clean it up. I wonder when it’s going to get done, and so on.

Now, let’s look at the case of NOT notifying the owner. The first time he’ll find out about it is when he gets notified by email that the branch fell but is cleaned up and the cost will be $x. At that point, there’s really nothing for him to think about. Yes, there was a problem, but now it’s all taking care of.

In my opinion, that’s how it should be because at least one of the benefits of hiring property management companies is you’ll save time. By not constantly getting notified about issues and updates, you can concentrate your time doing other things.