How Do You Tell A Routine Maintenance Request from a Real Emergency?

handy manDear Landlord Hank:

What the tenant thinks is an emergency needing repair and the landlord considers an emergency repair are often two different things. How do you as a landlord decide what is a real emergency vs. just a pesky tenant request? –Sam

Dear Landlord Sam:

In the beginning of the landlord/tenant relationship, when I’m giving tenants their keys, I explain what is an emergency and who to call (not text or email).

An emergency is an issue that can cause damage or injury to human life or the property, like a fire, flood, loss of air conditioning in Florida in the summer, sparking electrical outlets or circuit breakers, etc.

If there is a fire, call 911 and then me.

If there is a flood (meaning water running outside the area it is supposed to be in, like a toilet-supply line leaking on the floor, not a toilet “running,” or a tub with water coming out around it, not a drip from the faucet), then CALL ME, not text or email as I’m usually driving, so I can walk the tenant through turning off the water to the property to limit damage to the building and its contents.

We take tenant maintenance requests seriously and the requests are handled as quickly as possible.


Hank Rossi