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What Qualifies as an Emergency Maintenance Request?

Ravenna Tenant Holding a Bucket Under a LeakMany Ravenna property managers understand that you need to respond immediately when a tenant calls with an emergency maintenance request. However, which maintenance requests are emergencies that need immediate attention, and which are less urgent? This is one of the most challenging questions for property owners to answer since certain problems, even if they cause anxiety or irritation, are not true emergencies. In spite of that, other maintenance issues are severe enough to be addressed immediately or risk violating Landlord/Tenant laws or habitability code. Understanding the difference between the two can enable you to deal with all of your tenant’s maintenance requests quickly.

Defining Emergency Repairs

One approach to recognize when you have a true emergency on your hands or not is to evaluate to what degree the maintenance issue could cause injury, serious property damage, or threaten your tenant’s health and safety. Any problem that would meet this definition would typically be considered an emergency. Common emergencies include:

  • 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 imperative to realize that certain maintenance items may be emergencies under one set of conditions but not another. For instance, a broken air conditioner is not an emergency in cool weather. But in a heatwave, where temperatures reach dangerously high levels, it is definitely required. Failing to respond immediately to emergencies like these – including those that occur in the middle of the night – could violate habitability laws and, in due course, lead to serious legal trouble. This is particularly valid if your inaction pushes your tenant to take matters into their own hands and coordinate or make the repairs themselves.

Non-Emergency Maintenance Types

In opposition, other maintenance issues that, even though inconvenient, are not mostly considered emergencies except if there are extenuating circumstances. For example, a malfunctioning appliance, no hot water, or minor leaks may be inconvenient for your tenant but commonly do not fall under the category of an emergency repair. These kinds of maintenance issues should be stated as a regular maintenance request, which you may take care of during business hours.


For rental property owners, understanding what constitutes an emergency maintenance issue and how to respond appropriately is an essential element of efficient property management. If you realize that you cannot respond to such requests on time or have other demands on your time, it may be advisable to hire a quality Ravenna property management company to do it for you. To learn more about what Real Property Management Valor Team offers rental property owners like you, contact us online.

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