Maintenance Tips to Increase Retention and Reduce Turn Times

Steps property managers can take to ensure resident satisfaction and maximize lease renewals.

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The life of property managers is never dull. They often wear many different hats, from apartment marketers to legal advisors to go-to maintenance persons to —all the while making sure residents truly enjoy living in the community. As the manager of a property, you want to keep your residents happy because resident retention is the lifeblood of successful apartment properties.

One of the most efficient ways to retain residents—and keeping them happy—is to ensure that their apartments and the community amenities are well-kept, clean and functional. Here’s how to achieve that:

Use tech, establish communication

The pandemic has redefined the way residents and property managers interact. While remote communication is de rigueur these days, you should still keep your leasing office open for residents, but communicate clearly that your team will take their messages they send via email, phone or social media.

You can up your game and create a schedule for a set number of residents you call every day, for no other reason but to greet them and ask if there is something you can do for them. Make it a priority to complete their maintenance requests, then call them back and ask for feedback. This way you can easily see what can be improved in the level of service provided by the maintenance team.

Invest in a mobile app for work orders. It will help you, the maintenance team and the residents see the status of each maintenance request in real-time. Waiting for a work order to be completed can be frustrating, and technology can make the process transparent and easy.

Enable maintenance work to be done in the evening and during weekends, but make sure the residents are open to the idea that a “stranger” is at their apartment when they’re out at work or even when they are at home if they work remotely these days. Find a balance by scheduling maintenance technicians to work alternate hours between, say, 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, and always announce your residents when the technician will be at their place to resolve the issue.

Find good helpers, think green

Choose your maintenance team carefully. You want the people you hire to help with work around your property to be respectful and friendly. And if your budget allows, you can also provide maintenance workers with uniforms for a professional look. 

Be proactive. While the maintenance technician is taking care of a work order at a certain apartment, instruct them to check for water damage, leaky faucets, running toilets, sticky locks, dirty HVAC filters and any other issues that might come up.

Go green. Install water-saving faucets, showerheads and toilets, as these reduce leakage, last longer and are environmentally and cost-friendly. Additionally, switching to LED lamps will cut down on electricity usage, reduce costs associated with electricity bills and minimize the risk of short circuits. You can also invest in Energy Star-certified appliances—and don’t be alarmed by the higher purchase prices: The operating and maintenance costs will make the unit more energy-efficient, which will add to your residents’ satisfaction.

READ ALSO: Eco-Friendly Strategies for Property Managers

It’s easier and more cost-effective to prevent than to fix, so schedule regular inspections. Test the heating and air-conditioning units before your residents need them and check windows and doors to detect air leaks. Keep in mind that the building exterior and outdoor spaces are also important, so make a habit of inspecting exterior lights and conducting roof and gutter checks. Don’t forget to prune, trim and perform other plant maintenance as this helps with insect and pest control, proper plant growth and the overall safety of your property.

Although it is more difficult to handle inspections under the current social distancing measures, consider switching to virtual inspections and ask residents to send photos of the issues they notice in their units or around the property.

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