Apartment make-ready maintenance requires some planning and thought. The tasks required generally differ slightly from property to property, and there can be issues between team members when everyone is not on the same page (or even reading from different books.)
Here are some tips that can be used to ease the make-ready process:
Have a clear organizational system. All people involved in the make-ready need to understand the steps. In other words, if your property is keeping track of the steps on a dry-erase white board, ensure everyone understands any abbreviations, color code, or format. In addition, make sure the whole team is documenting their contribution as required to keep the board up to date.
Have a “Turn Time Expectation” in mind for all scheduling. We all are aware of the apartments in our communities that will need a demolition crew before the apartment can be painted. Let’s be realistic and figure out a way to schedule so that leasing staff can plan a move in date, and the maintenance staff can prioritize tasks. (Most companies I speak with settle on three to five days.) This time can be adjusted if needed if renovations are taking place.
Don’t fix anything you’re your first time in the apartment. Use this first inspection to document needed repairs that may be outside the norm. This would be where we take pictures for resident charges, if any, and make notes for any specialty contractors such as tub resurfacing.
Go left to get it right: Have a plan of attack for the vacant apartment’s maintenance needs. I was taught to start at the front door and follow the left wall all the way around the apartment. This way the technician can be assured that once they get back to the door the entire apartment has been inspected and you know what needs to be done to do it the right way.
List then fix. During that first trip around the apartment, focus on what needs to be done instead of doing it. Make a complete list of parts and tasks that are needed to get the apartment ready. This will cut down the amount of trips to the shop for parts.
The best method to ensure that make-ready tasks are not overwhelming is to keep open lines of communication. The office team should know what stage of the make-ready every vacant apartment home is in, and the maintenance team should always know the top priorities at all times.
Paul Rhodes is the National Maintenance and Safety Instructor for the National Apartment Association Education Institute.