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What Maintenance Issues are Emergencies?

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A rental property requires extensive routine maintenance, which may require attention at all times during the day and night. As a landlord, it is your duty to provide a habitable and secure home for your tenants. This suggests that you need to handle service requests quickly.

If you are the owner of an investment home, it is essential to understand what qualifies as an emergency maintenance issue so that appropriate action may be undertaken. It’s equally important to know which maintenance issues may wait till business as usual because they’re not as urgent.

By the course of this piece, you will understand the distinction between maintenance concerns that need to be addressed right away and those that could wait a little bit longer.

What Maintenance Problems in Property Management Are Considered Emergencies?

An emergency involving maintenance is one in which there is a danger of significant property damage or probable human injury. Even though a small leak under the sink is annoying, it doesn’t need to be fixed right away.

However, if the small leak is allowed to persist and promotes the growth of mold, that might be considered a maintenance emergency.

property manager on phone call

The property management or landlord should address the following more immediate maintenance issues:

  • Fire.
  • Flood.
  • Water loss.
  • Roof leaks.
  • Losing power.
  • Entry by an intruder.
  • No heating in the winter.
  • Violating the building code.

Of course, if a power outage or a water scarcity occurs as a result of homeowner activity, tenants cannot count on the landlord to fix them. Even though the situation is urgent, the landlord might not have to find the renter’s temporary home while the issue is being remedied.

Building code violations might vary depending on the type of dwelling you live in, such as a single-family home or an apartment. To find out whether elements like broken windows, railings, or electrical problems are breaches, examine your city’s ordinances.

Which property problems fall under the category of non-emergency maintenance?

The following corrective actions are often not viewed as emergencies, yet unforeseen events might materialize out of nowhere. As a result, even if a maintenance request should be addressed to the owner or the property management company, it might not be answered outside of usual business hours.

Some examples of non-emergency situations involve:

  • Minor leaks.
  • Obstructed pipes.
  • Dripping faucets.
  • Running toilet.
  • Noise complaints.
  • Parking problems.
  • Appliance problems
  • Inadequate water supply.

home maintenance tools

Ideas for Dealing with Emergency Maintenance on Rental Property

How a landlord handles tenants’ demands is important. In addition to ensuring the security of your property, it fosters a good landlord-tenant connection. Here are a few essential components for managing urgent maintenance on rental homes.

Understand your obligations as a landlord.

There are many layers to negotiate in both emergencies and repairs. Consequently, landlords must distinguish the difference between what demands need immediate attention, what can wait, and what the tenant is in charge of.

The tenants’ safety or substantial loss of property may be at risk due to urgent repairs. Therefore, landlords must handle these issues with great care.

Define and address the key questions.

Since it’s impossible to predict emergency situations, it is imperative to act swiftly and effectively when one occurs. It’s important to have a plan and trusted maintenance professionals for these scenarios.

Locate the emergency response specialist in charge and request that they evaluate the damage and determine what transpired. Does the tenant require temporary housing? Whose benefit does the occurrence serve?

Does the tenant’s insurance provide coverage for unforeseen costs? What needs to be undertaken subsequently will be determined by the answers to these questions. In any event, stay in constant, open communication with your tenants.

man doing property inspection


An after-hours event doesn’t necessarily require you to get out of bed and rush there. However, a landlord must still be reachable in case of an emergency. Ensure your tenants know how to get in touch with you the quickest so you can answer questions, give instructions, or just stay in the loop.

Open intercommunication.

After reporting an occurrence to the appropriate authorities, landlords are obligated to stay in touch with their tenants. Say you offer the tenant some guidance and call an emergency plumber.

Yet, communication with your tenant doesn’t stop there. The vendor’s estimated timeframes and any additional directives for preserving the property’s safety until then should be discussed with the tenant as you continue your engagement with them.

Complete the paperwork.

When a service request follows the correct steps, an official statement ought to be produced. Crisis situations, on the other hand, demand a more rushed series of events that often begin with a verbal phone conversation.

Therefore, in order to avoid disputes or confusion, landlords should keep a record of the events in the tenant and property file. Note down the talks that took place, the corrections that were made, the approved next steps, and the necessary follow-up.

person writing on paper

Bottom Line

Any landlord who wants to flourish must have a good working relationship with vendors for both urgent and regular maintenance. Even if emergencies cannot be predicted, you can still be prepared in case one happens. Therefore, it’s essential for landlords to develop an emergency repair plan.

The most effective approach for established landlords who want to maximize their overall worth while addressing many tenant issues is to hire a property management company.

Since 2003, McCaw Property Management has been assisting owners of residential properties in finding tranquility. We take great satisfaction in being Dallas & Fort Worth’s best property management company.

Although managing a rental property in Texas can be quite stressful, it can be a lucrative real estate investment. We bring a wealth of experience to the scene as your expert property managers, which may help you get the most out of your real estate investment.