If you are a tenant, you must have submitted the so-called maintenance requests at least once in your life time. As the one renting the property, submitting the request is common and acceptable, but there are some things you need to know before you can actually send one to your property manager or the landlord. What should you know about the request?
Understanding the Concept of a Maintenance Request
As the name suggests, a maintenance request is a formal type of communication that asks your property manager or landlord to repair something in your apartment or house, like malfunctioning fridge or malfunctioning garbage disposal. Here are some common examples of such maintenance repairs:
- Pest control
- Leaks or cracks on walls or on the roof
- Plumbing, such as running or clogged toilet
- Window and door locks
- HVAC repairs, like broken (or malfunction) AC unit
- Appliances included within the unit
- Routine maintenance, like checking smoke detectors or cleaning air filters
- Water leaks and damage from sink, bathtub, ceiling, or other areas
Besides maintenance request, there is also the so-called maintenance emergency. This is a situation that requires immediate repair because it can lead to serious injury or harm, not only to the property but also to you as the inhabitant. Some examples of maintenance emergency are:
- Broken water line or flooding
- A broken gas leak or line
- No AC in hot weather
- A broken lock on the door
- No heat during winter or freezing weather
- Fire (but you should FIRST call 911)
You should know that power outages and locked out aren’t considered emergency although they can be inconvenient. Power outage comes from electric company, which means that maintenance doesn’t have the power to do anything.
Getting locked out can be solved by hiding an extra spot or calling the locksmith to help you get back inside. Your landlord or property manager can help you with providing contact number, but their responsibility is just about that. They aren’t responsible for opening the door or turning on the lights for you.
Submitting the Request
You should have no issue submitting the maintenance requests because it’s super simple and straightforward. You can call the property manager or the landlord. If you are required to undergo a more formal request, you can send them emails. Some tenants may include video recording to show the extent of the damage.
If you are renting an apartment, many of the (apartment) communities allow you to send the maintenance request through the provided online portal, so you won’t have to email or call at all.
Can You Fix Them Yourself?
Is it okay for you to make the fix on your own? Well, there are some small problems that tenants can fix on their own, like a clogged tub, changing the light bulb, or replacing smoke detector’s batteries. However, there are some problems that you should be left alone.
Just let the landlord or the property manager to do them. There are several possible outcomes resulting from your actions:
- You can violate the lease
- You may cause further issues and damages, and you would be considered liable for them
- You may hurt yourself
Damaged electrical sockets and broken appliances are examples of the repair that you shouldn’t do on yourself. These kinds of repair need the special treatment of a professional (such as HVAC technician or skilled plumber), so leave them to the pro.
If you don’t really know what you should do next, contact the property manager or the landlord. In most cases, they should be ready for discussion.
What if your landlord or property manager bails on you? You can follow up the request with mail. It would be better if you can include photos or videos, and you keep them for your documentation.
If you need to file for claim suit, you have the proof. After the follow up email, send another if the landlord is still unresponsive. Learn the local laws and contact real estate lawyers to help you with your case.
Be sure to read your lease agreement carefully. Don’t sign anything before you completely understand it. The information should be clear, transparent, and thorough, including about your rights and obligations, rent increases, and maintenance requests, so you know how to protect yourself. This is done to prevent yourself from scamming which finally will harm yourself. Buying or renting home now cant be careless, everything should be well prepared.
If you feel so doubt about this case, asking a professional like real estate agent perhaps will be helpful for you.