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What Qualifies as an Emergency Maintenance Request?

Tigard Tenant Holding a Bucket Under a LeakMost Tigard property managers know that you need to respond immediately when a tenant calls with an emergency maintenance request. But which maintenance requests are emergencies, demanding prompt attention, and which are less urgent? This is one of the more challenging questions that property owners need to answer since certain matters, even ones that result in distress or are burdensome, are not true emergencies. Then again, other maintenance issues are dangerous enough to be addressed immediately or risk violating Landlord/Tenant laws or habitability code. Noticing the difference between the two can help you to manage all of your tenant’s maintenance requests confidently.

Defining Emergency Repairs

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

  • 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 necessary to understand that certain maintenance items may be emergencies under one set of conditions but not another. As an example, a broken air conditioner is not an emergency during chilly weather. But during a heatwave, where temperatures hit alarming levels, it absolutely is. 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, generate serious legal trouble. This is especially the case if your inaction triggers your tenant to take matters into their own hands and coordinate or make the repairs themselves.

Non-Emergency Maintenance Types

Alternatively, other maintenance issues that, although bothersome, are not basically considered emergencies unless there are extenuating circumstances. For instance, a malfunctioning appliance, no hot water, or minor leaks may be inconvenient for your tenant but regularly do not fall under the category of an emergency repair. These kinds of maintenance issues should be considered as regular maintenance requests, which you can undertake during business hours.


For rental property owners, recognizing what constitutes an emergency maintenance issue and how to respond appropriately is a significant element of good property management. If you find you cannot respond to such requests quickly or have other demands on your time, it might be time to hire a quality Tigard property management company to do it for you. To learn more about what Real Property Management Assurance offers rental property owners like you, contact us online.

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