When the News is Bad, What Do You Do?

    We recently had a house flood when a tenant flushed a feminine product down the toilet. The daylight basement was totally flooded and we immediately had to call out ServePro a professional water extraction expert. A call to the owner had to be made to tell them that the house had flooded and the cleanup costs would be considerable however the owner was not at home and we had to proceed with at least the water mitigation clean up or the insurance company may not pay off extended damages like mold which could occur if left unattended even a day.

    Of course, no one wants to make that call, to tell the owner the bad news. However that is part of our job duty. As Property Managers we must look out for the best interest of our owners at all times.

    But, when the call is made, I think it should be as soon as possible and with as much information as possible. The information should include the initial known costs and the likely future costs to complete the repair. It should also be noted that the repair and cleanup is a possible insurance matter. That might soften the blow to the owner’s pocketbook.

    I think the best way to handle this is to put yourself in your client’s shoes. “Mr. Owner, I know this is upsetting, and I am upset too. I am sorry to have to deliver this news to you. Here is how we can solve the problem.” Having the solution along with the problem will go a long way to making the call much easier to swallow.

    In this case we had no choice but to put the tenants into a hotel for several days while the clean-up was under way. The insurance company praised us for our quick action which save them literally thousands of dollars and surprisingly they did not go after the tenant for payback, saying it was just an accident.

    Author by: Don Leske