“Unplanned repairs” are two words you never want to have come up in the same sentence – especially if you manage or own a multifamily property. What can make matters even worse is if these unplanned repairs cause a safety issue and require immediate remediation. This could leave you scrambling for a quick solution, and more often than not paying a hefty price for it too.
Now we all know there’s no sure way to predict these unforeseen expenses, all you can really do is be as proactive as possible (and we’re sure you are) by controlling your maintenance and repair costs. This can help you establish a good Maintenance, Repairs, and Operations (MRO) budget and help you be better prepared when the unforeseen strikes. A great starting point is to identify building components that have a high risk of deteriorating. These components, if unresolved, can quickly become a safety hazard, and repairs can become quite costly.
Multifamily building components that can become a safety issue
Balconies – These probably have the highest chance of deteriorating due to the fact that they’re constantly exposed to the elements. If they’re not properly sealed and routinely inspected they can become a serious safety hazard. A tragic example of this took place in Berkeley, CA, back in 2015 where 6 died and 7 were critically injured when an apartment balcony collapsed. Independent experts said “it appeared rainwater had penetrated the balcony’s wood structure, causing dry rot that weakened it.” If it’s been over a year since you’ve had your balconies professionally inspected, we recommend getting this done sooner rather than later to help avoid any potential hazards.
Staircases – Another important component to take into consideration is the structural integrity of your building’s staircases. Whether they’re made from metal or wood, both require routine inspections to determine their reliability. In the instance of wood staircases, dry rot can become a serious safety issue and in most cases requires building a whole new set of stairs due to the difficulty of identifying the full extent of dry rot damage. Metal stairs can also succumb to corrosion, which can make them wobbly and unreliable – especially if they’re exposed to the elements. In both cases, completely replacing the entire staircase is almost always recommended.
Uneven walkways – This is probably the easiest one to identify, and the most common safety issue your tenants may run into (literally). If walkways in or around your multifamily become uneven or damaged, it can become a health code violation which can result in a potential lawsuit if a tenant were to trip and fall. We recommend posting up signage and/or blocking off the hazardous pathway immediately until you’re able to have it repaved by a professional.
When you’re ready to remediate your safety issues
These are just a few examples of potential safety issues that may arise at your multifamily property. Like we mentioned earlier, implementing a regular preventative maintenance schedule is a great strategy to gain control of your MRO budget and be better prepared for those unforeseen expenses and safety hazards. When you’re ready to start remediation, give us a call and we’d be happy to provide you with a consultation and preliminary estimate to determine the best way to get your multifamily property running safely again.