Property Management Blog

What Maintenance Issues are Emergencies and What Can Wait for Regular Business Hours?

System - Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Property Management Blog

As a landlord, maintenance requires a lot of work. Keeping up with maintenance during the day can be manageable, but what about after-hours emergencies? It is crucial to deal with emergency problems as soon as possible. Knowing the difference between an inconvenience and an emergency will prevent you from rushing to fix a situation that can wait until the following day.

Even the best tenants occasionally experience emergencies, so you need to be sure that you are not only abiding by the law, but also looking out for your tenants. 

In this article, Foothills Properties will go over which maintenance issues need to be addressed immediately and which can wait until regular business hours. 

Maintenance Emergencies

Any issue that needs emergency repair must be handled as soon as possible. That is to say, if the problem is ignored, it could result in an injury, significant property damage, or a threat to one's life. Overall, property emergencies cause a threat to safety.

Issues deemed as emergencies include: 

Gas Leaks

A natural gas leak is hazardous and potentially fatal. The risk of an explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning is present. 

Gas leaks are easy to detect since gas manufacturers add sulfur or a rotten egg smell to the gas so that you can immediately detect a leak. However, any attempt to create a flame or a spark can lead to an explosion. 

two people performing maintenance behind drywall

If you smell gas, turning off the gas line and any gas-using equipment should be your first action. Then both you and the tenant can leave the location and call emergency services. 


There are various causes of flooding in a home. A damaged water line or overflowing water from another unit are two examples. Other reasons include a sanitary sewer backup or an overflowing storm sewer. 

If they notice flooding, tenants should call for emergency maintenance. Flooding can occasionally put people at risk of electrocution. To prevent harm to personal belongings, carpet, and drywall, seek urgent assistance.  

Water Issues

Lack of water is a strong maintenance emergency. If fresh or hot water is not flowing into your home, tenants are within their rights to contact the property manager and request emergency maintenance. This should be an easy fix, and you should start the repairs right away. 

Another possibility when there’s an issue with water, is that there is a problem deeper than surface level. For instance, the main water pipe could clog. Alternatively, a booster pump or hydro-pneumatic storage tank could malfunction mechanically. This is still considered an emergency, but may take longer to repair. 

Not a Maintenance Emergency

A problem is not an emergency if it does not immediately endanger someone's health, safety, or property. However, they should still be reported as maintenance requests during regular business hours. 

someone on the phone outside

Here are some examples below: 

Locked Out

Being locked out of the property isn't always an emergency. Instead of calling emergency maintenance, tenants can seek aid getting back in by calling a locksmith. The neighborhood locksmith and the building manager should work together to rekey the locks, and the new lock must still work with the property's master key. 

Noisy Neighbors 

Emergency situations do not include loud parties or noisy conversations. Nevertheless, following up with management during regular business hours can be helpful to ensure that they take the necessary actions towards the noisy neighbors. However, renters should always report any suspected criminal activity since it could endanger their life. 

Handling Emergency Maintenance

Remain Calm 

The most important thing you can do when you get a call or text asking for emergency maintenance is to maintain your composure. Avoid losing your cool or criticizing the tenant. Instead of attempting to determine what caused the problem, take a moment to relax and concentrate on finding a solution. 

Gather as much information as you can while speaking with your tenant on the phone. Ask them to describe the current situation and what they perceive. 

Open Communication 

Landlords are required to keep in touch with the renters after reporting an emergency to the appropriate authorities. 

two people sitting and having open communication

Continue your conversation with the tenant to inform them of the vendor's anticipated arrival time and other instructions for maintaining the property's security until then. 

Evaluate the Situation 

After collecting information about the situation from your tenant, it's time to evaluate what is actually happening. Your renter could occasionally insist on urgent maintenance when, in fact, it can wait until the next day. 

If you've determined that the situation is urgent, you must decide what actions to take to fix the issue. Do you need to call a pro? Or, can you take care of the maintenance till a specialist can have a look? 

Educate Your Tenants

One of the best things you can do to lessen the number of emergencies that arise is to inform your renters about possible emergencies before they move in. This will help you deal with true emergencies more quickly and more effectively. 

Outline in detail what constitutes a true emergency, how to distinguish between a routine maintenance request and an emergency request, and any relevant contact information. This will help your tenant contact you easily should they need to. 

Assure your tenant that you will stay on top of regular maintenance. Although this comes with maintenance expenses, it is better to keep up with maintenance before it escalates. 


Being a landlord entails having to deal with maintenance, whether it's urgent or not. The greatest approach for successful landlords to maximize their investment is by working with a rental management company. 

With our expertise and resources, Foothills Properties Property Management and Realty can meet various maintenance requirements. Property owners have access to a 24/7 solution with our reliable vendor relationships and after-hours emergency rental maintenance hotline. 

The advantages of expert administration, however, go far beyond upkeep. All everyday activities, including marketing, accounting, leasing, and customer service, are managed by us. Call us right away to learn more about what our full-service property management approach can achieve for you.