Generally speaking, the Texas Property Code identifies emergency maintenance at rental properties as anything that affects the health, safety, and habitability of the tenants and the home. A lack of hot water is an emergency. A sewer backup is an emergency. A broken doorbell is not.
If you’re going to rent out a San Antonio property, it’s important that you understand the meaning of emergency maintenance and your requirements to fix it promptly. Your tenants have to understand the difference between an emergency and routine repair as well.
Discuss Emergencies with Your San Antonio Tenant
As you’re discussing the lease agreement before your tenants move into your property, spend some time going over what should be considered a maintenance emergency. There will likely be different ways of reporting needed repairs, depending on whether it’s an emergency or a routine fix. For emergencies, you’ll likely want a phone call as soon as a tenant can safely get in touch. Explain to your tenants that you don’t expect to be disturbed in the middle of the night for clogged garbage disposal, but a flooding kitchen is certainly a reason to call.
You want to be on the same page, and you want your tenants to recognize the urgency of those emergency repairs.
Floods and Fires are Emergencies
In San Antonio, we are likely to run into some intense weather from time to time. We get a lot of extreme heat and it’s not unheard of to have freezing cold temps and torrential rain, depending on the season. Weather is something you have no control over. Your tenants can’t control it either, but it can create an emergency.
There doesn’t have to be flooding or storms for a water emergency to occur at your San Antonio rental property. You must respond to such a situation immediately. Any water intrusion or leak must be treated as an emergency, and you’ll likely need to get a plumber over to the property immediately. It really doesn’t matter if the cause is a water heater leak, a pipe that’s burst, or soaked floors due to heavy rain. Water can be extremely damaging to your property and dangerous to your tenants. Not only do you have to repair the water damage, you also have to act quickly to prevent rot and mold.
Fires are also considered emergencies. While this is obvious, you want to make sure an emergency plan is in place for tenants who may have a fire at their property. If you own a multifamily building, be sure your tenants know how to exit the building safely. Your residents should understand the importance of calling the fire department or 9-1-1 before they call you.
Emergency Maintenance Involving Toilets and Sewage
When your tenant reports a toilet isn’t working, that won’t be an emergency in a San Antonio rental home that has three bathrooms. However, if you’re renting out a home with only one bathroom, a toilet that isn’t flushing has indeed become an emergency.
Any time there’s sewage in the house or a sewer line breaks, that’s an emergency that will require a cleaning and restoration crew.
If you need some help establishing an emergency maintenance plan or you’re not sure how the Texas Property Code would treat a specific issue, get in touch with us at OmniKey Realty. We’re San Antonio property management experts, and we also work with rental property owners in Dallas, Houston, and surrounding areas in Dallas County, Collin County, and Houston County.