Why Haven’t You Fixed This Yet?
By Guy D Besley
You know the feeling, Christmas is fast approaching and the whole family is coming for Christmas dinner. All of a sudden you find yourself playing caterer, cleaner, menu designer, shopper, waiter and, of course, Chef! The pressure is rising you as you battle through the options of how you can possibly cook a turkey for 20 people, with all the trimmings, but you battle on anyway. The big day is planned! And a month out – what could possibly go wrong?
Then bang! The oven fails; which is fine, I mean how often do we use an oven in summer anyway? Except Christmas day, of course. So, you think that there is no need to worry because Christmas is still a month away… we will call the property manager in a few days’ time and they will fix it straight away! Because, after all, isn’t that what the property manager does, fix ovens?
So you finally get around to contacting the property manager, who of course realises that this is an oven and needs attending promptly, so the property manager sends a work order to the appliance repairer to get them to investigate and hopefully fix as soon as possible. In some instances the property manager has their hands tied because a fastidious landlord needs to be notified and approve of such a direction prior to the property manager engaging a repairer (or any other tradespeople). Meanwhile a few days has already passed since the oven broke down. Don’t worry, you think, it’s OK, there are still 3 1/2 weeks until Christmas…
Well, like most trades, appliance repairers are very busy, and I mean, very busy! They can’t come out to inspect the problem for at least 3 or 4 days as they are fully booked. Now, let me point out, if you owned the property (not a tenant) the same issue would apply, except most likely worse as the appliance service man would rank their “better” customer ahead of the once off oven repair. Of course, in this instance, your property manager is the better customer. This is because we give them lots of business every week and they hope that we will continue to do so, therefore, they look after your property manager as best they possibly can.
Now, back to your growing stress! The serviceman is booked and will be coming on Monday, but that’s OK because its still 3 weeks until Christmas, and surely they will be able to find the problem and fix it with plenty of time to spare. Not so likely, I’m afraid. Chances are there is one of 2 scenarios: scenario one, a part needs to be replaced; or scenario 2, the oven needs to be replaced. Simple right? I’m afraid not.
Let’s consider scenario 1, the thermostat is broken and needs replacing. OK, no big problem, surely? The property manager reports back to the landlord (after trying to get hold of them for a day or 2) that the thermostat is broken and needs replacing, of course the owner isn’t happy about the expense, but agrees to proceed regardless. The property manager then goes back to the appliance repairman and authorises the repair. No big stress, there is still two and a half weeks until Christmas.
But, the thermostat needs to be ordered, and guess what – not from Frankston, but Frankfurt! That’s a week for delivery, assuming all goes well. All is good; Christmas is still a week and a half away, so plenty of time. Oh no, it is Christmas remember? Everyone is now on a “go slow”, especially parcel deliveries who are inundated, so now the 1 week delivery is 2 weeks. OK, I think you get the point; the oven won’t be fixed in time for Christmas!
Maybe we should hope for scenario 2, a new oven is required… Well, there is a process here too; first and foremost are quotes. It is feasible and expected that a landlord would require three quotes for a replacement of an expensive item like an oven, and often a landlord will want to investigate themselves (as they are of course entitled to do). The process of gaining quotes can also be a long one. Why? I’m not really sure, but maybe people don’t really enjoy spending time quoting because they fear the likely possibility of not getting the work when they are so busy just trying to stay on top of the call outs. In short, delays will occur. I haven’t even mentioned the problem of size, what size was the old unit, what size is the available space? There might even be cabinetry to fit, these things are rarely “plug and play”, shall I dare mention compliance changes – no, lets not go there as well, that’s a whole other story!
Please appreciate that this is a standard situation, it happens all the time. It is not the property manager’s fault, it’s not the landlord’s fault nor is it the appliance repairer’s fault, and it is just the system and timing differences of numerous parties trying to fix a problem. This is, of course, the example of an appliance; appliances are the most difficult in timeline as often parts will need to be ordered, but please appreciate that this scenario also applies to all repairs and many maintenance issues.
The moral of the story is an easy one, even if you were the owner of the property these delays would still apply, and perhaps the delays would be even longer. So, consider this before giving your property manager a serve for the fact you need to cook your turkey on the barbecue this Christmas!
Side note: This is a true story, my oven is in fact broken and I can’t see it repaired in time for Christmas, but no fear, BBQ turkey it will be, and it will be spectacular!
With a long family tradition of living and working in the Local area, Guy has over 30 years of investment and asset management experience.
Guy brings to the Property Management team at Christopher Russell an eye for detail and a commitment to building strong and successful long term relationships. His warm, confident and respectful style makes Guy easy to work with in order to gain the best outcomes, for both tenants and landlords alike.
Firmly committed to our local community, Guy has a keen passion for sports – as a runner for his son’s Canterbury Cobra’s football team, as a competitor in triathlons, rowing, trail running and as a spectator for his daughter’s Camberwell hockey team.
More recently, Guy has focused upon his portfolio management experience, including managing high net worth clients’ investments (totaling over 230 apartments) in Port Douglas, FNQ. This experience has given Guy a unique insight into the importance of developing and maintaining strong working relationships with tradespeople, bodies corporate, property owners and tenants in a high volume, close proximity environment.
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