We had an embarrassing situation to come up with one of our tenants last night and it was all my fault.
I’m sharing it with you because I feel comfortable enough with all of you now to just come right out and admit my mistakes.
It all started around 4 PM when I got that "911 emergency tenant call". You know what I’m talking about.
"We don’t have heat."
The sun would be down in less than an hour, rush hour traffic had just started and our heating and cooling man lives in Murfreesboro, which is a good 30 miles out of Nashville.
I felt panic come over me as I listened to the tenant’s voice. My impression was it was just like she was putting in an order at McDonald’s drive thru.
"I’m Kaitlin, your tenant."
"We have at least two Kaitlins, Kaitlin. Which one are you?"
That’s what I should have asked her, but I didn’t.
But in fact, I got this Kaitlin mixed up with a Kristina who lives a few doors down. I know, I know, it was a brain malfunction, or an Alzheimer’s moment, as we call them at our house.
I imagined the worst. If it was the unit I thought it was, that meant the medical student in the tiny efficiency apartment would be affected too because he shared the same heat with the two girls in the big apartment. And it was gas, which complicated things even more.
What I should have done, was take a deep breath. I didn’t.
Then I should have asked Kaitlin to repeat which unit she was in. She hadn’t told me which unit in the first place. She had assumed I would know. With as many tenants as we have, it’s hard to know. That’s okay.
Which brings me to my take home tip for today.
Get as much info from them as humanly possible about the problem.
I did have the presence of mind to ask her how long the problem had been going on. Over 24 hours that she knew about.
Yeah, I know. She should have called earlier. We certainly gave her that lecture. Maybe we over-lectured her.
Okay, here’s another thing to remember.
Make certain your tenants understand basic economic facts. You can’t always get your man there when it’s so close to quitting time. It’s awfully hard to get anything fixed at 4 or 5 in the afternoon.
But miracles do sometimes happen.
We were able to get a call through to our man, Tony Lewis of Lewis Air. And as luck had it, he was actually in the area. He made the call, got the relay switch fixed, she had heat and everything was fine.
Except… well, anyway,the job got done. I don’t think the mayor could have gotten better service if I do say so.