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

As you may know, property management is not limited to normal working hours. You can expect a tenant to call you at any time of the day or night to report emergency property maintenance issues.

So, how do you handle this?

There are some 'emergency' issues that can wait until the morning, and there are others that must be handled immediately.

In this article, we are sharing what can be considered a property emergency, and what can wait until regular business hours.

What Constitutes a Property Emergency?

The first step is to know and understand what can be considered an emergency.

If a property issue only causes discomfort to your tenant, this is not an emergency. This type of issue can wait until normal operation hours.

Here are some examples:

  • A parking dispute
  • A lightbulb burning out
  • Malfunctioning of an appliance
  • A minor leakage
  • No hot water
  • Broken ice machine
  • Noise complaints


These types of issues are not threats to the tenants' health, assets, or safety. This means that they are not considered emergencies.

A property emergency is a property issue that is an immediate threat to the safety, health, or assets of the tenant. Such a property issue will require you to see to it immediately.

Examples of immediate property concerns include:

  • Flooding or a broken water pipe
  • A gas leak
  • Fire
  • Sewer back-up
  • Electrical issues
  • Carbon Monoxide Detection
  • No A/C during a heat wave
  • A break in
  • A broken door that can't be locked


How to Handle Property Issues

An issue might require your immediate attention, but how you handle the matter with the tenant is crucial.

Here are some tips that you can use to communicate with your tenant at such a time:

1. Open Communication Channels

Your tenants expect to be able to reach you during their time of need. It could be that just talking with you over the phone could be enough to calm them down.

During an emergency, make sure to give them very clear instructions on how to handle the issue. This will calm them down considerably and, depending on the tenant, might be enough to resolve the issue.

2. Documentation

When you get an emergency phone call, there won't be a written record like there would be for a normal maintenance request. That means that you should record the events yourself in the tenant's file. This will prevent any potential disputes or confusion in the future.

Note down what was mentioned on the call, the date the repairs were made, the next steps you agreed on and any necessary follow-ups that you discussed.

man talking on the phone

3. Emergency Contacts

As a property owner, there will be times that you may not have the skill, resources, or expertise to resolve the emergency issue.

For instance, if there's a pipe burst, you may not know how to fix it on your own.

Your tenants should always have the contacts of the different service providers apart from the fire and police utility contacts.

Should they have a burst pipe on the property, the first person they should call is the plumber on the emergency list. After getting in contact with the contractor or handyman, they can get in touch with you to inform you of the instance.

This means that you should have identified a few reputable service providers in the area who have agreed to work with you. This way, if a tenant calls them with an emergency maintenance issue, they can rush over and handle the problem.

4. Constant Communication

When you know there was an emergency, you should be engaging with your tenants every few hours to ensure that the contractor comes on time and to be updated on the progress of the matter.

This extra attention will be appreciated by your tenants.


5. Obligations as a Landlord

Choosing to be a landlord means that you are expected to meet a certain standard by the law. As a landlord, you need to stay updated with the provisions of country ordinances, State, and federal law.

Should you find yourself out of your depth, consider hiring a reputable and expert property management company that will ensure your property is in compliance with the law.


As you can see, while some maintenance issues aren't considered emergencies, others are. And when there is an emergency issue, it is your job to handle it immediately.

If you do a good job handling the situation, your tenants will be satisfied and they may decide to renew the lease when the time comes.

If you're tired of responding to emergency calls at all hours of the day and night, or don't have the expertise or practical experience needed to handle common emergencies, consider hiring a property management company like T.E. Johnson & Sons.

If you own properties in Greensboro, Lexington, or elsewhere in North Carolina, T.E. Johnson & Sons is here for you.

We are a full-service property management company known for our reliability, accountability and quality customer service. We manage a wide range of properties from multi-rental units to single-family homes. You can rely on us to comprehensively maintain your property and manage any impromptu maintenance requests.

Get in touch with us today and receive a full quote for our affordable property management services.

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