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


Most property owners in the industry know that property management is not a typical 9-to-5 job. A large amount of time and planning is needed for maintenance. Any form of maintenance involves planning, resources, and time. 

Effective repair policies depend on having a clear knowledge of what constitutes an emergency and what does not, as well as having a procedure for handling both. It’s crucial to be prepared for these situations by being aware of how to handle them. 

This article covers what defines an emergency, how to respond to calls received after business hours, and what you can do to prevent problems.

What Is Categorized as Rental Property Emergency Maintenance? 

In order to develop a system that effectively handles maintenance requests, it’s crucial to distinguish between urgent rental maintenance and routine maintenance that can wait. 

When a maintenance issue is expected to cause harm, significant property damage, or endanger the health and safety of a resident, the situation may be deemed an emergency. 

You have a limited amount of time to respond to an emergency maintenance request, fix the problem, and guarantee the safety of your rental property for your tenants. 

Here are some emergency maintenance examples to keep in mind:

  • Damaged water lines or frozen pipes
  • A leaking or flooded roof
  • A gas leak 
  • A fire 
  • Inadequate heat in winter
  • Prolonged power outages or electrical problems
  • Robberies that cause safety concerns or property damage beyond normal wear and tear 

Non-emergency Maintenance

It’s not necessary to consider each discomfort or inconvenience that renters encounter to be an emergency. Often, tenant complaints do not constitute an emergency.


Some issues that could arise in the late evening hours might be classified as maintenance concerns, but they can be resolved later in the morning during more regular working hours.

Tenants and landlords must use their best judgment in this situation. There is no need to treat these problems as emergencies because they do not endanger your renters’ health or safety. 

Although you’ll want to deal with them quickly, there’s no need to do it right away or outside your typical work hours. 

Examples of non-emergency rental maintenance include: 

  • Noise complaints
  • Parking conflicts
  • Minor leaks
  • Slow-draining sink or bathtub 
  • A clogged toilet
  • Malfunctioning electronics 
  • No hot water
  • No air conditioning

How to Handle Urgent Maintenance on a Rental Property

Engage in Open Communication

Once an emergency has been reported, constant communication is still necessary. You can’t merely get in touch with a maintenance technician and do nothing more. 

Spend some time chatting with your tenants to reassure them of the actions taken, the technician’s arrival time, and how to handle the situation right now while the technician is not yet present.  

It’s a good idea to check in with your tenants to know if they are content even after the problem has been fully resolved. This will safeguard the relationship between yourself and the tenant. 

Have a List of Emergency Contractors at Hand

It’s critical to have access to emergency services like the police, fire department, and gas company. However, landlords also need a trustworthy network of vendors they can rely on in times of emergency necessity. 


While finding someone during regular work hours can be easy, what happens if a pipe bursts in the middle of the night? Compile a brief list of reputable, around-the-clock service providers available for sudden maintenance needs. 

Have an Understanding Mindset 

Neither the landlord nor the tenant wants to deal with an emergency. A tenant calling you in the middle of the night can be angry, terrified, upset, or experiencing a variety of other emotions.

Even though you can also be alarmed and upset about the possible harm to your property, always keep a professional demeanor and respond to emergencies as they arise.

If a tenant contacts you about something that isn’t an emergency, gently explain why and give them instructions on how to submit a repair request in the future. 

Even if you give your tenants emergency maintenance recommendations for your rental property, it’s possible that some calls will fall outside of those guidelines. 

Instruct Your Tenants on What to Do 

There may be some circumstances where your tenant can assist in fixing the issue. Give your tenant guidelines on what to do in this case. 

Finding a temporary solution might make the issue much more tolerable and less harmful until you or a professional can arrive. 

Respond to the Important Issues 

Since no one can predict when an emergency will occur, taking prompt, clear action is essential. 


For instance, try to understand what is happening after you are on the scene of a fire. Find the emergency response expert in charge and ask them to assess the damage and figure out what happened. 

Does the tenant need a place to stay in the meantime? Who is responsible for the situation? Does the tenant’s insurance cover unexpected expenses? 

The solutions to these queries will determine what has to be done next. No matter what, keep in constant and open communication with your tenants. 


As a responsible property owner, it’s up to you to ensure that your rental property is habitable. You should also research what that entails in your area. Prioritize urgent maintenance requests that can jeopardize your health and safety or harm your property. 

It can be very difficult for someone who has just begun their rental business to ignore such calls, even if they come in the middle of the night. You may even constantly worry about and wish to safeguard your property.

This load can be lessened by hiring a property management company to look after your rental property. Home Choice Property Management is aware of the time and effort required to effectively manage an investment property. 

We’ll collaborate with you to ensure you receive excellent returns on your investments without having to deal with the burden of property management on your own. Contact us today to get started!