It is crucial to keep your rental property in good condition to ensure tenant safety and retention. From regular property inspections to seasonal maintenance, there are a lot of things you must do to ensure your rental is always in good shape.

Emergencies are an unavoidable aspect of owning a rental property. Sometimes, you and your tenants may miss issues like a leaky faucet before it’s too late. However, there are some times where issues like appliance malfunction can wait until regular business hours.

Our team of experts at DRP Management have put together this article to help you understand what is a maintenance emergency and what can't wait for the next day. Keep reading to learn more!

What Constitutes an Emergency Maintenance Issue?

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to deal with repairs in a timely manner to avoid driving tenants away and costly fines in near future. So, it is important for you to know what constitutes an emergency issue and what can wait till the next day.

Maintenance emergencies are problems that, if left unattended even for a short time, can pose a health or safety threat to your tenants or can cause considerable damage to your rental. Examples include the following:

Gas Leaks

A gas leak is a severe emergency that requires immediate attention. Gas leaks can pose significant risks including fire hazards and health issues. If your tenants smell gas or suspect a leak, ask them to evacuate the premises immediately. Then, contact the gas company and emergency services to deal with the issue.


Water Leaks and Burst Pipes

Water leaks and burst pipes can cause extensive damage to your property including mold growth, structural issues and increased utility bills. In case of this issue, you must shut off the main water supply and resolve the issue immediately to prevent further damage.

Electrical Issues

Electrical problems such as sparking outlets, flickering lights or a burning smell should be treated as emergencies due to the potential for fire hazards. If your renters encounter any of these issues, turn off the electricity at the main circuit breaker and contact a licensed electrician to further inspect the problem.

Sewage Backups

A sewage backup poses many health risks so it must be dealt with immediately. Also, this issue can lead to contamination and structural damage if left unattended for long enough.

Failing HVAC Systems

A malfunctioning heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system can be considered an emergency during extreme temperatures. In severe cold or hot weather, the lack of climate control can endanger your residents' health.

Roof Leaks

A leaky roof can lead to bigger issues such as water damage, mold growth and even structural damage. This not only affects the value of your property but also puts your tenants’ well-being at risk, especially during the rainy season or extremely cold weather.


If your renters ever complain about a leaky roof, you should ask them to place buckets to collect the water and contact a professional to repair the damage as soon as possible.

Malfunctioning Appliances

While not all appliance malfunctions are emergencies, issues with essential appliances like refrigerators or freezers should be considered urgent as they may pose significant health risks.


A break-in should never be taken lightly. If your rental property is broken into, you must prioritize your tenant’s safety and act promptly. Advise tenants to contact local law enforcement immediately to report the incident.

Also, you should encourage them to avoid entering the property until law enforcement declares it safe. Take the time to inspect the property and invest in security improvements such as upgraded locks or enhanced lighting, to prevent future incidents.

Floods and Fires

Floods and fires can significantly damage your property. Moreover, they’re a huge threat to your tenants’ well-being. If a renter ever calls you to inform you of a flood or fire on your rental, ask them to evacuate the premises and contact emergency services immediately.

Additionally, you can collaborate with professionals to assess the damages and make any necessary repairs promptly. If necessary, work and communicate with tenants to find them temporary accommodation.


What Maintenance Issues Can Wait for Regular Business Hours

There are many issues in your rental that constitute an emergency and should be addressed immediately. However, sometimes what tenants consider an emergency can wait for the next day. Maintenance issues that can wait for regular business hours include the following:

  • Minor leaks: A leaky faucet and other minor leaks can wait and are not considered emergencies.
  • Clogged drains: In most cases, tenants can use a plunger to fix clogged drains. If this doesn’t work, you can schedule a plumber to inspect the issue during business hours.
  • HVAC concerns: Non-critical heating or cooling problems can be dealt with during regular business hours.
  • Window repairs: Broken or cracked windows are not ideal but they’re not an emergency unless there’s extreme cold or rain.
  • Faulty light fixtures: Flickering bulbs or malfunctioning switches can be fixed later.
  • Minor roof repairs: Non-critical roof repairs can be scheduled for regular business hours.
  • Cosmetic repairs: Things like peeling paint and minor wall damage can be left unattended for long periods without causing further damage.
  • Landscaping: Routine yard maintenance tasks can always wait for regular business hours.

Bottom Line

As a landlord, understanding the urgency of various maintenance issues is essential for you to prioritize and address problems effectively. Emergencies such as floods, fires, electrical issues, roof leaks and break-ins require immediate action to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your residents.

However, non-urgent issues can be managed during regular business hours. Being prepared and knowing how to respond to different scenarios can help you ensure that your investment is always safe and profitable.

Consider partnering with our professional property management company DRP Management to streamline your rental management process. Contact us today to learn more about our services!