What Maintenance Issues Are Emergencies And What Can Wait For Regular Business Hours?

Being a landlord is not a typical 9 to 5 job. While many people think that owning a rental property is a great way to earn passive income, being a landlord is not a side hustle. In fact, there are times when landlords need to spend more time tending to their rental investments than a typical full-time job.

One of the most important things that can greatly affect a landlord’s profitability is maintaining a good relationship with tenants. Keeping tenants happy and satisfied is crucial if you want them to stay longer in your rental home, allowing you to earn a continuous income.

However, in order to do this, landlords must tend to their tenants’ needs and concerns in a timely and compassionate manner. Addressing tenants' needs can occur during all hours of the day.

For example, when tenants need to report emergency repair issues, landlords are lawfully required to address them quickly. This is because it’s the landlords’ legal duty to provide a habitable property.

But what repair issues can be considered an emergency? This article will help you determine the issues that may be considered an emergency, and those that can wait until the morning.

Emergency Maintenance Issues

In general, maintenance issues that are considered an emergency are those that can potentially harm or injure your tenants. Other issues that can cause serious damage to the property are also considered urgent and need immediate attention.

yellow painted brick interior with broom and and fresh paint can

Here are a few examples of maintenance emergencies:


If heavy rains can cause flooding inside the property, rental property owners should address the repairs as soon as possible. Flooding can cause damage to the property’s flooring and structural integrity, as well as your tenants’ personal belongings.

Gas Leak or Broken Gas Line

Since any gas leak or broken gas line is a fire and health hazard, it should be fixed immediately. When left untreated, it can be a violation of the landlord-tenant law.

Broken Door or Lock You Cannot Secure

Broken doors or locks are a major security hazard that can cause serious problems if not fixed immediately. This is because the home is vulnerable to burglars, which puts your tenants and their belongings at risk.

Broken Water Lines or Frozen Pipes

Tenants will have difficulty accessing water when the water lines are broken or the pipes are frozen. If left unfixed for long, frozen pipes can burst and cause major structural damage to the rental unit.

No Heat in Winter or No AC in Extremely Heat

Heaters and/or air conditioners that are not working well can cause major health and safety issues, especially during extremely cold or hot weather. If your tenants report a broken heater or air conditioner, make sure to address the issue quickly.

two property experts looking over a blueprint

Aside from what was mentioned above, there are other issues that may be considered urgent and need immediate attention. These include:

  • Broken electrical lines can cause power interruption or potential fire hazards.
  • Leaking roof, which can cause damage to the flooring and your tenants’ belongings.
  • Water emergencies, including intermittent or no water supply.
  • Carbon monoxide detection issues are also health and safety hazards.
  • Sewer backup and flood, are health and sanitary hazards.

Non-Emergency Maintenance Issues

Other repair and maintenance issues that don’t pose major risks to the property’s security or health concerns for your tenants are not considered an emergency. If you are not sure how to determine non-emergent maintenance issues, ask the following questions:

  • Can the problem cause major damage to the structures of the property if left untreated for over a week?
  • Can the issue cause health and safety problems for the residents of the property?
  • Does the problem threaten the security of the property and the tenants?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should address the issue right away. However, if the answer is no, then you don’t need to rush to address the issues outside of regular business hours. Keep in mind though that any repair issues that are reported to you should still be tended to in a timely manner.

burnt-out lightbulb on a table

A few examples of non-emergency maintenance issues are:

  • Minor leaks
  • Minor cracks in the floor
  • Hot water is unavailable
  • Malfunctioning kitchen appliance
  • Parking disputes
  • Neighbor complaints or noise-related issues
  • Burnt-out lighting fixture

How to Handle Emergency Maintenance for Your Rental Property

It’s your responsibility as a landlord to provide a habitable place for your tenants. When tenants report emergency maintenance issues, it’s crucial to address them as soon as possible to prevent these problems from becoming bigger.

Ensure that you make yourself easily accessible to tenants, especially for maintenance emergencies. Give your emergency contact information to your tenants and inform them of the best ways to reach out to you for urgent needs. If you have someone handling emergencies provide their contact information as well.

In addition to this, it’s important to create a comprehensive rental agreement where you list all the responsibilities of you and your tenants. Make sure to include clauses about what issues are considered an emergency and indicate when tenants can call you even beyond business hours.

Finally, for any maintenance requests made by tenants, keep proper documentation and update them accordingly. It’s best to keep the tenants informed of what steps you have taken to provide a resolution to the problem and the timeframe when the issue will be fully resolved.

Bottom Line

Knowing which maintenance issues require immediate attention and which ones can wait is vital when operating a rental property. That said, if you are not comfortable dealing with emergency repair requests, it’s best to work with a professional rental property manager who can handle this task for you.

The property managers at Gifford Property Management have services in place that tenants can use for urgent repair requests. What’s more, we can help you with everything from marketing and tenant screenings, to rent collection and financial reports.

Contact the team at Gifford Property Management today to learn about our quality property management services!

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Andrew Gifford and his team of professionals are easily the best realtors and property managers that I have ever worked with. They provide first rate service in an extremely timely manner. Whether you are a landlord, tenant, or prospective real estate buyer, I highly recommend the services of Andrew Gifford and his real estate team for all your property needs!

Jeff Tillman