“How come I can go through the rest of the year without a single repair issue at my house, but as soon as the rental season arrives, things start to go wrong?”


I have heard that lament from many an owner during Cape Cod rental season, and as an owner myself, I feel their pain.


A lot of owners blame guest abuse for some of the problems that come up, but in my experience it’s simply heavier usage during the rental season that finds the weak spots, if there are any.


Regardless of the cause, put yourself in the shoes of your rental guest – always a good way to look at things.


Imagine you have planned the perfect Cape Cod vacation for your family. You arrive at your beautiful rental property for which you paid several thousand dollars and things couldn’t be better. But when the refrigerator stops working, or the wifi won’t connect, people in your party start to get cranky. You’re staying only seven days, and even one day with an unexpected, major inconvenience starts to put a damper on that “perfect” vacation. You need the problem solved IMMEDIATELY!


Recognizing the need for rapid response, an owner, or a professional property manager must be easily accessible by cell, text or email while guests are in residence. A property manager should be authorized to take immediate remedial action. If you don’t do it yourself, your designated first responder must have a list of your preferred contractors, so that even if you can’t be reached, he or she knows exactly whom to call first.


Of course, at our rentals company, have our own trusted tradesmen for emergency repairs. Just recently we got a call from a guest at a home where the refrigerator had stopped cooling. We contacted the owner, who immediately OKed a tech visit. We suggested a local contractor who gives us preferential treatment because he’s grateful for all the business we have referred to him. He got the call at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and was at the property early Monday morning. The fridge was cooling perfectly again before 10 a.m.


The guests and the owner were relieved to put the problem behind them. And if those guests don’t come back to the property again the following year, it won’t be because there was slow response to a problem that came up.


Many repairs – broken toilet seats, torn screens, etc. – you may be able to handle yourself, if you’re handy and have the time. But one way or another, you need to have in place a reliable SOP to solve any problem right away. It’s the only way to keep the guests happy and eager to come back again next summer.