If you’ve had a sewer back up or any type of flooding in a house, you absolutely know how crucial time is. Seconds can save you thousands. Water is fast moving and extremely damaging. Technology and my software system recently saved me thousands and weeks worth of remediation.
The other week I was at home watching my 3 month old daughter as my wife had a meeting she needed to attend. I was a little late getting home at 4:30 and my wife left ten minutes later at 4:40. My daughter and I started as we usually do, dancing, singing, me trying my best to make her smile and laugh. It was 5:15PM and I got the call.
“I have water coming up out of my utility closet.” -Tenant Unit #1
Now when you have water coming up the toilet, or shower, it could just mean those specific lines are clogged. Utility closet drains should not have water coming out of them. That is a main line clog. You don’t mess with main line clogs, ESPECIALLY in multifamily. In a single family, you have a single family that would be using the main line for all of your used water to get out and into the city main. In a multifamily, you’ve got multiple families using that same line. That means you could have multiple people showering, pooping, washing their dishes or washing their clothes. All of that water has to have a place to drain and if the main drain has a clog, it will make its way backwards.
Immediately I called the neighboring tenant to see if they had any water issue, but no answer. I signed into my property management software system and was able to “text property”, meaning I was sending 8 texts to all tenants.
“Everyone stop using water. There may be a main line clog. Call XXX-XXX-XXX if you have water coming out of your drain.”
Looking at my daughter, I yelled “Lets go! It is due time you get introduced into the world of Property Management.”
I packed her diaper bag, got some milk and bottles ready, as this could be a long night, strapped her in her car seat and we were off to the races to the property. I had called my wife, who ON THE BALL, knew I wouldn’t call her if it wasn’t an emergency, called me right back.
“We’ve got an emergency and I’ve got little girl. Can you meet me at the property?”
My wife actually beat me to the property, where we handed off our daughter and I began investigating the situation.
When I viewed the situation, a puddle the size of a large pizza was in both utility closets. Everyone received the text and had stopped using their water. Thank goodness!!!
The Situation Resolved
The night was long, because with a main line clog, you want to ensure the line gets cleared. Eventually, the rooter cleared the line (tree roots) and was able to get all water flowing in the right direction.
Water back ups usually result in water extraction, dehumidifiers and possible removal of drywall and carpet. It will require the current residents to find alternative living arrangements. After all of the removal, you then begin making all of the necessary repairs and remediation. Water back ups become expensive FAST.
It was amazing to hear from all four units that they had received my text and immediately stopped using their water. That quick text to the four units and 8 tenants saved me thousands of dollars in repairs.
The day immediately following, I took the opportunity to thank my tenants through the same software technology. I thanked them for their patience to build tenant relations, and I also reminded them about the importance of renters insurance.
My insurance representative Seth Gilbert, through Country Financial stated that “The cost (of renters insurance) is roughly $10-$20 per month depending on the coverage. For that minimal monthly cost you are potentially saving thousands in losses.” I had a tenant respond that, yes indeed they were seeking more coverage.
My property management software costs me around $4,000 a year, in one night, in my mind, had a 100% ROI.
If you can garner the power of technology to its fullest, it can absolutely be a lifesaver financially and emotionally. Technology is property management is just scratching the surface. It will be fun to see what and where it goes from here.