Which Maintenance Issues are Considered Emergencies?

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emergency maintenance issues

Unlike regular 9 to 5 jobs, being a landlord does not have established hours since property management can include attending to emergency maintenance outside the common business hours.

How do landlords handle emergencies after hours? It’s important to be prepared since this can be expected while managing your rental home. This article will focus on situations categorized as emergencies, the process of handling them, and tips on preventing potential issues.

What is Defined as Emergency Maintenance?

To be able to resolve maintenance issues, one must have an awareness of what scenarios can be labelled as an emergency. Even if some situations can cause inconvenience, they’re not automatically categorized under emergencies.

Even if a problem happens beyond the workday hours, some maintenance issues can still be attended to in the morning. It’s the tenants and landlords who can make the best judgment in certain situations.

Here’s a list to identify what constitutes as a property emergency:

What is an Emergency?

It’s best to keep in mind that maintenance issues that could potentially harm or injure, cause serious property damage or threaten the health and safety of renters can be categorized under an emergency.

Below are some listed examples of maintenance concerns:

  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • Broken water lines or frozen pipes
  • Broken door or lock that can’t be secured
  • Gas leak or a broken gas line
  • No heat in winter
  • No air conditioning unit in extremely hot conditions
  • Electrical issues
  • Sewer backup and flood
  • Leaking roof
  • Extended power outage
  • Break-ins by intruders

What is Not a Maintenance Emergency?

If the situation does not threaten the health, safety or the state of the property then this isn’t labeled as an emergency.

non emergency maintenance

Below are some listed examples that can be reported for maintenance requests during normal working hours:

  • No hot water
  • Broken ice maker
  • No air conditioning (if the outside temperature is below 90 degrees)
  • No heat (if the outside temperature is below 50 degrees)
  • Malfunctioning appliance
  • Noise complaints
  • Minor leaks
  • Burnt out light bulbs or fixture
  • Parking disputes

How to Handle Rental Property Emergency Maintenance

Handling tenant requests is important, and a landlord must have a proper process to manage it. This leads to stronger and better relationships with your tenants, protecting your property.

Here are vital factors in dealing with property emergency maintenance:

  • Reachability
  • Emergency services
  • Open communication
  • Landlord responsibilities
  • Answering crucial questions
  • An understanding mindset
  • Documentation


Given that tenants rely on their landlords for emergency cases, a landlord must be reachable when an emergency occurs.

You’re not required to dash outside the bed past midnight, but you must be available to discuss things like handling situations, answering inquiries, and giving instructions with your tenants.

Emergency Services

A landlord must have access to police, fire, and utility services since rental property emergency maintenance can go beyond normal business hours. Be ready to have a vendor you can contact 24/7 when emergency events happen. Being prepared is the best way to deal with emergencies.

Open Communication

Landlords must continue to be in contact with tenants even after an emergency is reported.

Landlord Responsibilities

A landlord must be able to deduce what counts as an emergency that needs to be addressed promptly, what can wait and what the tenants can handle on their own.

landlord and tenant responsibilities

It’s important to note that emergency repairs must be done when situations affect the health and safety of the renters or lead to extensive property damage.

Repairs that don’t fall under an emergency can follow the normal process of providing notice to access the home and sending in a maintenance team to fix the issue during regular business hours.

Answering Crucial Questions

Being decisive in an emergency is critical. As a landlord, you need to get the facts of the situation. You can talk to an emergency response professional to determine the extent of the damage and how the situation occurred.

Finding out the answers lets you decide if the tenant may need temporary housing or if their insurance can cover for emergency assistance.

An Understanding Mindset

Remain professional even if a renter appears stressed, frustrated or emotional. Be calm in staying on top of the emergency situation. If the event does not warrant immediate attention, give instructions on filling out a maintenance request.

Give them your reassurance, especially to new tenants who may be confused about what constitutes an emergency.


Even if a maintenance emergency starts with verbal communication, a landlord must keep records of what transpired to prevent future disagreements.

lease or rental agreement

Write notes on the repairs performed, agreed action steps, and needed follow-ups. Once the repairs are completed, it’s advisable to make a follow-up with the tenant through email to further record the situation.

Hiring Property Managers

Successful landlords engage the services of trusted property management companies to take care of their rental investment. Choosing the best property manager requires careful study. It’s important to ask questions to learn what services and benefits they can provide to your rental home.

Here are factors to look for in a potential property manager:

  • Area of expertise. Some firms are focused on residential and multi-family units while some attend to HOAs, commercial and vacation homes. Make sure that the company you choose offers services that align with your own rental property type.
  • The number of support staff. This matters since having an adequate support staff can make the rental operations efficient. Support staff includes accountants, maintenance personnel, and administrative staff.
  • Services available. Check what services a property management company offers to ensure that you’re getting the most from the management fees you’re paying.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a top-quality property management firm in your local area, get in touch with Bigham & Associates. We have solid industry experience and outstanding customer service.

We’re also prioritizing maximizing your rental earnings and performing effective marketing, tenant screening, property maintenance, and repair, and most especially, handling rental property emergency maintenance! Call us today at (512) 339 8112 and check out our services.