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  • Writer's pictureKarel Costa-Armas

When to Call Management or Maintenance After Hours


Property manager handling emergency
HOA Management emergencies

 

Most managers and maintenance employees may be required to be on- call. As a matter of fact, most management contracts provide a clause for 24/7 service. What does that mean exactly? The intention for that “24/7” language is to provide a comfort level to the association that management will handle emergencies. It does not mean, however, that management will be available for every whim at any given time of day, night, weekend, or holiday.

 

A good manager should be able to communicate what will constitute an “after-hours” call. If you don’t explain the details to the board members or the nightshift security crew, a manager can find themselves being constantly interrupted at all hours of the night.

 

I have had two decades’ worth of experience in dealing with these challenges. There are board members that have been accustomed to calling management for all sorts of petty items with no regard for the manager’s or the maintenance team’s personal time at home. If a manager allows for this type of inappropriate after-hours communication, the level of stress will increase and your mental health will surely be affected. You’ll always be on guard and never share a peaceful weekend at home with family or friends. You’ll always feel as if something is going to happen at any second and you’ll be called to handle it (we can discuss at another time the “how-to of handling real after-hours callbacks).

 

Here are some notes I recently made to a security guard company, and I shared with the board so they too would get the same outline and set the same boundaries:

 

When to call Management After-Hours:

1.        Fire. A real fire; not a fire alarm (false alarm). Not a trouble signal on the panel.

2.        An active flood in a unit or in the common areas. Not a resident that came home after several days or weeks to discover old damage.

3.        Crimes to the association. For example, a burglary (break-in) to association property (clubhouse, commercial buildings, maintenance area).

4.        Serious crimes on association common areas. For example, a homicide or battery that took place on association property.

5.        Crimes or serious incidents involving employees of the association or board members.

6.        Suicide or death events on common areas.

7.        At the request of the Fire Department or police when they are on scene.

 

When to call Maintenance After-Hours:

1.        Fire. A real fire; not a fire alarm (false alarm). Not a trouble signal on the panel.

2.        An active flood in a unit or in the common areas. Not a resident that came home after several days or weeks to discover old damage.

3.        A break-in or burglary to the maintenance shop or work area.

4.        If the protocol for the building requires maintenance responds for both elevators (all elevators) being down and out of order.

5.        If there is something occurring to machinery that may appear to be getting worse. For example, a loud motor noise from an elevator room or a pool pump that screeching and causing a disturbance.

6.        Large street water main breaks (not irrigation heads that need to be replaced – make a note of those).

 

When NOT to call Management or maintenance but when to note an incident as a separate incident report and on security's daily activity report:

1.        A false fire alarm. This can be annotated in the daily activity report.

2.        A trouble signal on the fire panel.

3.        A police response that did not involve the common areas or a board member.

4.        Fire rescue or ambulance response for a resident’s personal matters.

5.        When only one elevator is down but there is another still working.

6.        To report minor maintenance issues. Please note maintenance problems on the security daily activity report and generate an email to management as well.

7.        A resident making a complaint that is not an emergency. Yes, they may demand you call management but do not call management simply because they are angry. Give them management’s contact email and phone number. If they feel they have an emergency, they can call the police or the fire department.

8.        A resident locked out of their home. Most associations have a policy that they will not open residents’ doors even if there is a key on hand at the management office. They can call a locksmith.

 

I hope these details help you a bit in understanding when a manager or maintenance should be called after-hours. I understand that there may be circumstances when a specific association’s protocols are different. A good manager will review the protocols and determine whether the processes make sense or should be amended and improved upon.

 

For more information, see more articles and videos at www.HomeownerAssociationConsulting.com .

 




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