How to Identify Emergency Maintenance Issues in Your Rental Property

Emergencies can occur at any time, so landlords need to be prepared to receive the occasional late-night call or maintenance request outside regular business hours.

As a landlord, it’s important to know how to handle after-hours emergencies so you can prevent severe issues from escalating. When left unattended, some problems can lead to costly property damage and safety issues.

But before calling a 24-hour repair service, you should assess whether the situation is an emergency or if repairs can wait until the following business day.

Situations that inconvenience renters aren’t always emergencies. A lot of scenarios can wait to be resolved during regular business hours. As such, determining which situations are emergencies is a critical skill for landlords.

Defining Emergencies

At times, it may be unclear whether the issues your tenants face are emergencies. Keep in mind that the problem is an emergency if your tenant’s safety is compromised. Always be sure to prioritize the health and safety of your tenants when issues arise.

Below are some examples are emergency maintenance issues that you should address immediately:

  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • Pipes freezing
  • Broken doors and locks
  • No heat in winter
  • No air conditioning on extremely hot days
  • Electrical and wiring problems
  • Sewer backup
  • A leaking roof
  • Gas leaks

Routine Maintenance Issues

If the issue your tenants report doesn’t put your tenant’s health and safety at risk, then the problem likely isn’t an emergency.
a contractor in a blue plaid shirt inspects a hanging light fixture and replaces a lightbulb
Below are some examples of non-emergency issues that landlords can address during regular working hours.

  • No hot water
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Noise disturbances
  • Faucet leaks
  • Parking issues
  • Burnt out lightbulbs

How to Handle Emergency Maintenance Issues

Since tenants rely on landlords to resolve emergency maintenance issues, you should have procedures in place to help you solve problems efficiently. This will keep your property and tenants safe and ensure your renters trust you, which can help ensure your tenants will stay for the long term.

Consider the following when creating your emergency maintenance plan.


If renters can easily contact a landlord during emergencies, they are less likely to panic. Sometimes, renters may reach out to discuss issues and confirm they are an emergency before filing a formal repair request.

When you’re easy to contact, tenants will be more likely to contact you before an issue on the property can escalate.

Emergency Services

It’s essential to keep the contact information for emergency services such as police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) on hand. Contacting these services may be necessary during an emergency to ensure your renters' safety.
A property manager in a black suit who is receiving an emergency maintenance call from a tenant sits at their desk and arranges repair services on their laptop
It’s also crucial for landlords to have a solid network of vendors that can provide 24-hour service for your rental property. Creating a support system in this way will help you ensure emergencies can be addressed as quickly as possible.

Consistent Communication

Even after an emergency has been resolved, continuing to communicate with your renter is important. Keeping your tenants apprised of any developments will help you earn their trust.

Answering Questions

In an emergency, landlords must quickly decide on next steps since tenants will need instructions on how to proceed.

As such, landlords should strive to be prepared to provide their tenants with crucial information and an outline of how they should proceed during emergency maintenance situations.

An Understanding Perspective

While it’s normal for different emotions to come forth during emergencies, landlords should always be compassionate and understanding. Allow your tenants to express what’s on their minds and offer them support and guidance by sharing vital information.


Emergencies are usually hectic, which results in communication being conducted over the phone. But, documenting the situation is still important.

Be sure to make a written record of what happened, and what actions and repairs were performed while remedying the issue. Find time to contact the tenant through email to ask for feedback and keep a record of these follow-ups.

Hire a Property Management Company

One way landlords can ensure all emergency, and non-emergency issues are solved is by hiring an experienced property management company. These experts will ensure your property is maintained, your tenants are well taken care of and that all emergency issues are resolved quickly.
a property manager in a black suit reaches across the contract and pen laying on their desk to shake a landlords hand
Before hiring a property manager, reflect on the following.

Areas of Expertise

Different companies specialize in different niches. One company may be an expert at taking care of multi-family units or commercial buildings, while another might focus on managing HOAs or vacation rental homes. Check the specialization of a property manager before hiring them.

Support Staff

With an experienced support team, your rental property will bring in a healthy profit and remain in its best shape. Support staff include accounting personnel, maintenance staff, and administrative clerks.


Before hiring a property management company, check what services they offer so you’ll know whether their services will meet your needs.

Bottom Line

Determining the severity of maintenance issues can be difficult, no matter how long you’ve been a landlord. However, having this skill is critical to reducing your stress and ensuring your rental property remains in great shape!

If you need help managing your tenant’s maintenance and service requests, or any other aspects of property management, reach out to Limestone Country Properties today! Our expert team is ready to turn your investment dreams into a reality!

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Janice Vargas