Ever found yourself pondering over the urgency of a maintenance issue? Landlords are often found determining between what constitutes a genuine emergency that demands immediate attention and what can reasonably wait for regular business hours.

Striking the right balance between prompt action and prudent decision-making is crucial in ensuring both tenant satisfaction and property preservation.

Keep reading this article to know more about what maintenance issues are emergencies, and which ones can be handled during business hours.

What Is Considered Rental Property Emergency Maintenance:

  • Major Water Leaks: A swift response to burst pipes or significant leaks is needed to prevent extensive water damage.
  • Gas Leaks: Immediate action to address gas leaks should be taken for tenant safety and overall property well-being.
  • Heating or Cooling Failure in Extreme Temperatures: Rapid resolution during extreme weather conditions are important to ensure tenant comfort.
  • Electrical Issues: A urgent attention to electrical problems is needed to prevent safety hazards and potential damage.
  • Broken Locks or Windows: Swift repair is needed to maintain property security.

What Is Not Considered a Maintenance Emergency:

a worker using a push pull screwdriver on the floor

  • Minor Plumbing Issues: Routine plumbing concerns that can be addressed during regular business hours.
  • Appliance Malfunctions: Non-urgent repairs for appliances that don't pose an immediate threat.
  • Cosmetic Repairs: Aesthetic fixes or non-essential improvements that can wait for scheduled maintenance.
  • Pest Control: Routine pest issues that don't pose an immediate threat to health or safety.
  • Landscaping Matters: Non-emergency landscaping or gardening concerns can be scheduled for regular hours.

Tips for Handling Rental Property Emergency Maintenance:


You should ensure that tenants can reach you promptly in emergencies by providing multiple contact methods, such as phone, email, and a dedicated emergency line.

Clearly communicate the importance of reporting issues immediately to prevent further damage and ensure a quick response.

Consider implementing an online portal where tenants can submit emergency requests 24/7, providing an additional convenient avenue for communication.

Emergency Services

Maintain a list of reputable emergency service providers for various issues like plumbing, electrical, or HVAC.

Establish relationships with these professionals in advance, ensuring they are familiar with your property for swift and efficient resolution in critical situations.

Regularly update this list to reflect any changes in service providers. Additionally, negotiate service agreements with these providers to prioritize your property in times of urgency.

worker with many tools around his waist

Open Communication

Foster open lines of communication with tenants by creating a straightforward reporting system for emergencies. Clearly outline the steps tenants should take in case of an emergency and provide them with a quick-reference guide.

Regularly remind tenants of the importance of reporting issues promptly to mitigate potential risks and damages. Consider conducting periodic emergency response drills to ensure tenants are well-prepared and aware of the procedures.

Landlord Responsibilities

Clearly define landlord and tenant responsibilities in emergency situations within the lease agreement. Outline the specific scenarios considered emergencies and the expected response times.

Emphasize the importance of collaboration during emergencies, ensuring that both parties contribute to a resolution. You can also provide tenants with a comprehensive guide that details the emergency protocols.

Answer the Vital Questions

Equip yourself with answers to common questions tenants might have during emergencies, such as estimated response times, expected actions from their end, and potential temporary solutions.

Providing clear and concise information helps alleviate tenant concerns and builds trust in your management.

Consider creating an FAQ section on your property website or distributing informative pamphlets to tenants, addressing common emergency-related queries.

A Mindset of Understanding

Approach emergency situations with empathy by acknowledging the inconvenience tenants may face. Express a genuine understanding of their concerns and reassure them that you are committed to resolving the issue promptly.

three people sitting around a conference table having a conversation

A compassionate approach fosters positive landlord-tenant relationships, even in challenging circumstances.

Consider implementing a feedback system to gather tenant opinions on the emergency response process, allowing continuous improvement based on their experiences.


Keep thorough documentation of all emergency maintenance requests, responses, and resolutions. Maintain a centralized system for tracking and archiving this information, including timestamps and details of actions taken.

This documentation not only aids in monitoring trends but also serves as a valuable reference for future property management decisions.

Regularly review and analyze this documentation to identify areas for improvement in emergency response procedures and overall property maintenance.

Proactive Property Inspections

Conduct regular property inspections to identify what is considered as regular wear and tear and potential maintenance issues.

By scheduling routine assessments of critical systems, such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, you can avoid minor problems escalating into bigger issues.

This proactive approach not only minimizes the likelihood of emergencies but also demonstrates a commitment to preventative maintenance, fostering a safer and more secure living environment for your tenants.

Additionally, use inspection findings to update your emergency response plan and improve overall property resilience.

Establish Emergency Fund

Set aside a dedicated emergency fund to address urgent repairs promptly. Having financial resources available allows for swift action without delays associated with budget approvals or insurance claims.

calculator with money around it

Regularly review and replenish this fund to ensure it remains adequate for potential emergencies.

Having financial preparedness minimizes downtime during repairs, showcases your commitment to property maintenance, and instills confidence in tenants that their living conditions are a top priority.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, navigating the balance between rental property emergencies and routine maintenance is crucial for landlords. Being accessible, fostering open communication, and understanding tenant concerns are key.

Implementing proactive measures such as regular inspections and emergency preparedness training contributes to a safer living environment.

For those seeking additional support, consider working with a professional property management company, like Mark Thomas Properties.

We can provide valuable expertise, and while exploring such services, landlords can enhance their property management strategies and ensure the well-being of both their investments and tenants.