When property managers are asked to handle maintenance issues, the first thing we do is to look at whether the problem is considered a mandatory fix or a discretionary fix. Mandatory maintenance issues would cover things that the state of Oregon requires owners to maintain, such as plumbing, wiring, roof concerns, furnaces, the water supply and any appliances that are provided with the property. These things are required by law to be maintained by the owner. The property manager will likely get those repairs done in the quickest and most cost effective way possible.
Landlord and tenant laws dictate how quickly certain repairs need to be done. Owners and property managers often set up spending limits for these types of repairs. For example, you might set a limit of $300 or $500 or $1,000, and if a mandatory maintenance request comes in that will cost less than the agreed upon spending limit, the property manager will have authorization to spend money on that repair without the owner’s permission. Having those pre-established limits in place can help property managers decide how quickly to handle maintenance issues, and whether the owner needs to be bothered with an approval.
Discretionary repairs will likely require the property manager to get in touch with the owner to find out whether the owner wants to make the repair. These are repairs that the owner is not required to do, so the property manager will not move forward without approval. Many property management companies have their own maintenance contracting department, or they might use independent contractors when appropriate. At Moore Property Management, we use independent contractors that are licensed, bonded and insured. We have developed some excellent relationships over the years with qualified contractors and we know they will get the job done right the first time and at the best rates.
Find out what the hourly rates are for the maintenance vendors your property manager is using. You should ask about the rates for general maintenance workers such as a handyman as well as the rates for appliance repair people and skilled professionals such as plumbers and electricians. Most of those professionals will charge a higher rate than an independent contractor, and it can mean a difference of paying $85 to $90 per hour versus $40 TO $45 per hour. If we can get the work done by a handyman, we will so that our owners are able to save money. You also want to ask your property manager whether an override charge applies to any maintenance work that is handled, because you will want to factor that into your cost and your maintenance budget.
If you have any questions about how we handle property maintenance at Moore Property Management, please give us a call or visit us at www.blog.lmooreinc.com.