It’s inevitable that repairs will need to be made in a rental unit at some point. This often causes a lot of frustration for tenants who are waiting for the repairs to be made and for the property manager who’s trying to keep track of repairs on top of everything else.
Properly handling maintenance requests with a standard form and a clear procedure can help alleviate the frustration and stress involved with handling maintenance issues.
What is a maintenance request
A maintenance request is a standard form a tenant uses to inform the property manager of non-emergency repairs needed in their specific unit. A maintenance request is part of a formal process that ensures any maintenance issues are properly communicated from the tenant to the property manager and then to the maintenance staff.
A maintenance request can be a written form that is delivered to the property manager's office, or an online maintenance request that gets sent to each person that will be involved. Even if a tenant calls the property manager or maintenance staff, they should still submit a maintenance request form to create a record of the issue.
What does a maintenance request include?
A maintenance request form is intended for non-emergency repairs. Since maintenance requests are normally reviewed during normal business hours, they aren’t sufficient for issues that need immediate attention.
Problems such as a furnace not working in the winter, a broken pipe, flooding, or other emergency repairs should have a procedure for the tenant to get an immediate response instead of waiting for a maintenance request to be received, viewed, and passed on to the appropriate person.
Tenants should be able to contact somebody at any time with an emergency maintenance request
Common reasons for a using a maintenance request include:
- Broken appliances
- Washer dryer problems
- Small leaks
- Non-emergency HVAC issues
- Damaged doors or locks
- Damaged windows or window locks
- Minor safety hazards
- Other non-urgent matters
Sections of the maintenance request
A maintenance request includes the information a property manager or maintenance person will need to know who submitted the request, what unit they’re in, and what repairs they should be prepared to make.
Our maintenance request template includes the following sections:
The first section tells the property manager or maintenance staff who is submitting the request, how to contact them, and what unit or address the maintenance is needed.
The property manager or maintenance person will likely contact the tenant to schedule an appointment time to make the repairs, or request any additional information.
Type of issue
Knowing the type of issue the tenant is having will let the property manager know who they will need to contact to handle the maintenance request.
The electrical contractor probably isn’t the same person that handles pest control. Having the right professional respond to the request will ensure the repairs are done properly and in a timely manner.
Title of the issue
A short title of the issue should allow for easier communication between the tenant, property manager, and repair person. This will prevent confusion by having each party involved referring to the issue by the same title.
For example, three tenants could be having appliance issues, so a maintenance request titled “Dishwasher not turning on” will ensure everyone is on the same page as to which repair is being made when, where, and by who.
Details of the issue
The details will expand on the maintenance issue so the property manager knows if there are other people that should be involved and give them the information for them to be well prepared to handle the issue.
For example, the dishwasher not turning on might be further described to say that there’s no power to it at all, or that lights are still turning on but it just won’t run. Or it could explain what happened when it first stopped working.
This information can help make sure the problem gets fixed on the first visit instead of having to wait for somebody else to come look at it.
What else is a maintenance request called?
Maintenance requests can go by different names. Different landlords may refer to them by different names, but they’re still meant to serve the same purpose.
Maintenance requests may also be called:
- Landlord maintenance request
- Tenant maintenance request
- Tenant work order request
- Housing maintenance request
- Apartment maintenance request
- Work request
- Work order request
- Maintenance work request
- Maintenance work order
- Repair request
- Service request
Maintenance requests can be one of the most difficult pieces of property management. A system that involves maintenance request forms helps simplify and organize the process. This keeps tenants happy, and makes the property manager and maintenance staff’s jobs easier.
Tenants have a responsibility to fill out the maintenance request forms completely, and in a timely manner. Property managers have a responsibility to ensure the tenant’s request gets handled quickly and properly. Clear procedures and expectations with maintenance requests goes a long way to keep a property running smoothly.
Decided a maintenance request template is right for you?
To see how this might look all laid out, here's a maintenance request template from our partners at Avail. Like all templates, this is only a starting point and probably needs some customization. As such, we strongly encourage you to contact a real estate lawyer if you have questions about this template and whether it is right for you.
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