Whether you’re a seasoned landlord or you’ve just recently gotten into the world of investment properties, emergencies at your rentals are always going to come as a hectic surprise. Whether it’s just a small kitchen fire or something much more serious, you can help ease the shock by being prepared—knowing who to call, what you’re responsible for, what your insurance will cover, and more. Having a good grasp on the ins and outs of how to manage and deal with an apartment or condo emergency in your Chicago rental units can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.
“Who You Gonna Call?”
Unfortunately, the Ghostbusters won’t be able to help you when one of your tenants overflows the bathtub into the unit downstairs, a refrigerator stops working, or a fire breaks out at one of your properties. Instead, you’ll want to have a list at the ready of on-call emergency response companies who can help out at your Chicago rentals. From fire mitigation services to roofers, electricians to plumbers, build up a list of trusted vendors who can solve the problems that always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times. Work with your property management company to determine which companies will be the most beneficial for your properties.
What Are You Responsible For?
If the emergency happens as a direct result of ignored or neglected repairs, such as a leaking roof that eventually collapses or an electrical fire due to faulty wiring, you can find yourself liable for a lot of damages. You should stress to your tenants to carry renter’s insurance, though, because damages caused by emergencies are typically not covered by the landlord’s insurance policy.
That being said, there are some things that you may be held responsible for, regardless of the cause of emergency, in addition to preventative measures. In terms of fire prevention, you’re required to provide a rental that is up to fire code, including having working smoke alarms in each room. Beyond that, you are required to get the rental unit back in living order following a fire, but your insurance company will most likely not cover any of your tenant’s losses. For that reason, to avoid any uncomfortable surprises, you should encourage your tenants to have renter’s insurance.
Floods are a different ball game: the landlord will typically have to have a separate policy for flood insurance, and it will be up to the tenant to find out if their renter’s insurance policy covers flood damage—many do not.
Whether you choose to compensate your tenants for finding alternative housing in the event of an emergency is up to you—some landlords will give their tenants the amount of daily rent (total rent cost divided by 30, multiplied by how many days the tenant can’t stay at their apartment), while others will simply offer to cover the cost of a modest hotel/motel during the clean-up or repair time. If you’re stuck on what you think you should offer tenants, your property management company can help advise you based on previous situations they may have had experience with and what will be best for your tenant-landlord relationships.
What Does Your Insurance Cover?
You probably already know by now that homeowner’s insurance is different from landlord’s insurance. If you didn’t know that, well, it’s time to get your policies changed. Landlords are usually required to carry greater liability against property damage, and these policies will also cover you in the event that your property becomes uninhabitable. Landlord’s insurance will also cover you in the event of lost income due to an uninhabitable property, whereas homeowner’s insurance would not (however, it should be noted that you can only be compensated for lost income due to emergency, not vacancies).
How Can Property Managers Help With Emergencies?
Beyond helping you compile a list of companies to call in the event of an emergency, property management companies can also coordinate with you and your insurance company in the event of an emergency, work with your tenants to resolve any residual issues from emergencies, and manage the aftermath of emergency clean-up and repairs. Working with a reputable property management company will mean that a majority of the hassle surrounding something going wrong at one of your Chicago rentals will be taken off your hands.
Finding Reliable Help for Your Chicago Investment Properties
If you’re tired of spending all of your time focusing on your investment properties and not enjoying any of the benefits of owning it, it might be time to get help. Here at Lofty, we believe that owning investment properties shouldn’t be your full-time job, and in order to help you live the life you deserve, we manage all of the busy work related to maintaining your properties as well as managing your tenants’ expectations and needs. If you’re ready to start enjoying owning your properties more, contact us today.
Speak with one of our experts to find out how we can supercharge your investment.