Should you respond to tenants in two hours?

Posted by
on Mar 10, 2016

It’s a constant debate faced by property managers: How quickly should you respond to requests from tenants (apart from just “ASAP”)?. Well, research conducted by StatisFacts Research, states that most tenants expect to have their issues and communications dealt with in under two hours - that’s any phone call, email or other forms of communication addressed in two hours or less…  

Two hours you say?

Two hours might not seem like a lot of time to respond to a tenant request, especially in the case of an issue which requires approval from the landlord, and for a technician or tradie to be sent out to the property. But this is not to say that you have to drop everything you’re doing and run over to the property yourself, spanner in hand, the very second a tenant complains of a slightly leaky kitchen tap. Rather, this simply means that you should at least respond to and acknowledge a non-emergency tenant request as quickly as possible after you receive it - even if it is a quick acknowledgement message that “you’re looking into it”. After all, before the two-hour rule came the “two-minute rule”.  

Tips for quickly handling tenant requests

There’s no doubt that responding to your clients quickly is important for any good property manager, so we’ve put together some top tips to ensure you keep your tenants (and therefore, your landlords) happy by being timely with your responses.  

Acknowledge that you have received their request

If the issue is not urgent but isn’t something that can be answered or solved with a single email response, then let them know that you’ve received their request, and will be taking steps to action it by a specific date. Then, actually keep your promise to deliver on this date, and if you can’t for any reason, give a reason why.  

Use apps and software to help you keep track of all requests and comms as they come in

No matter how much of an email gun you are, everyone needs a helping hand with keeping organised, especially if you manage a large portfolio of properties on behalf of your clients. A property manager mobile app keeps everything from communications and current job statuses in the palm of your hand - literally - while you’re on the move conducting meetings, inspections, and open houses.  

Express compassion and understanding - i.e don’t forget to be human!

There’s nothing worse than an aloof property manager who seems irritated whenever you ask them for something. Ensure you are compassionate and show empathy in your tone of voice and language. The last thing you want to do is make good tenants feel guilty whenever they ask you for something - This could lead to small problems going unreported, and over time, becoming larger (and more expensive) issues for your landlords.  

Ensure your tenants know who to contact in the case of an emergency

In the case of emergencies, such as a gas leak or electrical issue, it’s important to get an expert out to to the property immediately. This is firstly to keep your tenants safe, and secondly, to avoid those 3 am phone calls to your mobile when you’re not the person who is best equipped to handle the situation.
Ensure you give your tenants a list of emergency contacts, including details of who they should get in touch with in regards to the case of a gas leak, electrical emergency, emergency plumbing issues, or storm damage. A list of contacts for your specific state’s emergency services is always good to keep on hand as well. If it’s an issue that tenants are expected to repair themselves, as set out in their tenancy agreement, you can provide the contact details of a suggested service provider in the area, but ensure you reiterate that these repairs will need to be addressed at the tenant’s expense. Some examples include repairing any panes of broken glass caused by the tenants, or calling a locksmith if they get locked out of their property.