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What Qualifies as an Emergency Maintenance Request?

Granville County Tenant Holding a Bucket Under a LeakThe majority of Granville County property managers know that you need to respond immediately when a tenant calls with an emergency maintenance request. But which maintenance requests are emergencies, necessitating urgent attention, and which are less urgent? This is one of the more challenging questions that property owners handle since other problems, including those that result in discomfort or annoyance, are not true emergencies. Yet, other maintenance issues are severe enough to be addressed immediately or risk violating Landlord/Tenant laws or habitability code. Identifying the difference between the two can help you deal with all of your tenant’s maintenance requests with gusto.

Defining Emergency Repairs

One approach to figure out when you have a true emergency on your hands or not is to observe to what degree the maintenance issue could cause injury, serious property damage, or threaten your tenant’s health and safety. Any situation that fits this definition is usually considered an emergency. The examples of common emergencies are:

  • Gas Leak
  • Frozen or Broken Water Lines
  • Flooding or Water Emergencies
  • Fire
  • Carbon Monoxide Detection
  • Sewer Back-up
  • No Heat in Cold Weather
  • No Air Conditioning in Extremely Hot Temperatures
  • Extended Power Outage
  • Intruder Break-In

Is It An Emergency? It Depends.

It is essential to understand that certain maintenance items may be emergencies under one set of conditions but not another. For illustration, a broken air conditioner is not an emergency in winter weather. But in a heatwave, where temperatures exceed hazardous stages, it is definitely necessary. Neglecting to respond immediately to emergencies like these – including those that occur in the middle of the night – could violate habitability laws and, in the long run, bring serious legal trouble. This is particularly true if your inaction provokes your tenant to take matters into their own hands and coordinate or make the repairs themselves.

Non-Emergency Maintenance Types

On the other hand, some maintenance issues that, while upsetting, are not commonly considered emergencies except if there are extenuating circumstances. To give an example, a malfunctioning appliance, no hot water, or minor leaks may be irritating for your tenant but usually do not fall under the category of an emergency repair. These kinds of maintenance issues must be reported as a regular maintenance request, which you can accomplish during business hours.


For rental property owners, figuring out what constitutes an emergency maintenance issue and how to respond appropriately is a significant part of effective property management. If you know that you will be unable to respond to such requests or have other demands on your time, it might be appropriate to hire a quality Granville County property management company to do it for you. To learn more about what Real Property Management Impact offers rental property owners like you, contact us online.

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