Keeping Tenants Happy: A Landlord’s Guide to Emergency Maintenance Requests

What if someone else’s emergency suddenly became your emergency?

For some, this may sound like drama. For landlords dealing with tenants, it’s a daily concern!

To keep your sanity as a landlord, you need to know how to handle emergency maintenance requests. Keep reading to discover our landlord’s guide to handling tenant emergencies!

Knowing What’s Really An Emergency

We’ve put together a solid guide for emergency maintenance requests. However, the first step is for a landlord to understand what is (and what is not) an emergency.

Anything that may be a genuine threat to a tenant’s safety or life is, of course, an emergency. And it’s your obligation to try to take care of it right away.

Other times, though, it’s more of an inconvenience than an emergency. Something like a faulty dishwasher or garbage disposal may be annoying, but to be frank, these are problems you can tackle in the morning.

It can be tough for tenants to hear that their problems aren’t real emergencies. But they must understand that you can’t personally fix every tiny inconvenience in the dead of night.

Below, we have outlined the top emergency maintenance requests and whether they are truly an emergency or not.

Smelling Gas

Number one with a bullet on “emergency problems” is if the tenant smells gas. The actual source of the leak could be several different things, but each threatens their health and safety.

For example, leaking gas creates a fire hazard. Ask the tenant to turn off the gas valve and then take their family to a safe distance from the home.

Carbon monoxide leaks are a slightly different threat. If the tenant detects carbon monoxide, have them shut their windows and get out of the house.

In each case, you’ll need to call public safety officials in to deal with the threat.

Toilets…Depending On the Home

Everyone can agree that clogged toilets are annoying. But are they a real emergency? It actually depends on the house.

Simply put, if the home has only one bathroom, then a clogged toilet needs to be taken care of quickly. As in, 48 hours or less after it is reported.

However, you’ll definitely stay on the tenant’s good side if you have it fixed in less than 24 hours. Otherwise, they’ll have nowhere to relieve themselves and will be unlikely to renew their lease when the time comes.

If there is more than one toilet, then it’s less of a priority. And no matter how many bathrooms are in the house, make sure the tenant has attempted to deal with the problem themselves before you call a pro.

Other kinds of clogs should be treated similarly. If you need a local pro to help you handle drain cleaning, be sure to learn more before your tenants start calling!

Electrical Problems

What if the house doesn’t have any power? Does this count as an emergency? This is another scenario where the answer is “yes and no.”

Such a problem is often caused by fuses blowing or even by the tenants not paying their electricity bill. Such cases do not qualify as emergencies and can be dealt with in a standard time frame.

If the electricity dies and there is no such underlying cause, though, you should treat it as an emergency issue. This is because it may be a symptom of a larger problem and it’s in your interest to figure things out sooner rather than later.

Heating Issues

Sometimes, the heater is not working in someone’s home. Is this an emergency situation? As you might imagine, it depends on the temperature outside.

When the heat dies in the middle of summer, it’s not really a big deal. You’ll be able to get their heater working well before a lack of heat can affect their safety or quality of life.

If the heat dies in the middle of winter or whenever the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the tenant’s safety and health may be in legitimate danger. Treat this as an emergency and fix things as soon as possible.

Cooling Issues

Problems with the air conditioning in a home are like problems with the heater. It’s only an emergency based on the exact temperature, such as when temperatures are 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.

If the temperature outside is reaching such temperature, then having no AC is a real emergency. Otherwise, it’s an inconvenience that can be fixed within standard operating hours.

Keep in mind that too much heat can be particularly dangerous to children and animals within the home.

Sudden Flooding

Sometimes, an emergency issue is a little more obvious. For example, a flooded home is an emergency you need to take very seriously.

Flooding water from leaks and extreme weather threaten every aspect of the house. This includes everything from the tenant’s prized possessions to those new wooden floors you just had installed.

And if you take too long to deal with the water, you may end up with mold, creating an even more dangerous environment. Ask the tenant to turn off the water valve if it is an internal leak and to try to contain water in buckets if it is an external leak.

The House Is On Fire

Speaking of obvious emergencies: when the house is on fire, you must take action right away!
It would be best to have safety devices near that can help put out the fire but beware also of defective ones like the recently recalled Kidde fire extinguishers.
Fire represents a danger to your house, the tenant, and the tenant’s entire family. If they contact you about a fire, you need to contact emergency services right away.

Emergency Maintenance: The Bottom Line

Now you know how to handle emergency maintenance requests. But do you know who can help you grow your business as a landlord?

We are experts in real estate development. To see how we can help expand your business, check out our developer services today!