Undoubtedly, living at any property, you can expect things to break from time to time. Do you know what is considered an emergency maintenance situation? Sometimes, it can be undeniable in situations such as a severely leaking roof causing it to rain outside and inside your home. This certainly qualifies as an emergency, and requests must be submitted quickly. Other times, it may seem unclear as to what needs urgent attention. What if your oven stops working? Or your air conditioner isn’t cooling the home? Are these emergencies? What is considered an enormous inconvenience and emergency to a resident may not be an emergency when looking at the bigger picture. But, how can you identify an emergency or not? First, it is always a good idea to pull out your lease and read maintenance requests’ verbiage. Emergency maintenance may be identified as fire, flood, uncontrollable water, backed up sewer, electrical problem endangering life, or smell of gas. None of that sounds like fun. Let us break down a few situations that may fall under an emergency.
A maintenance emergency is something that, if it isn’t remedied immediately, could cause injury, pose a health threat, or cause severe property damage.
A few examples of maintenance emergencies can include:
- A sewer back-up if it is flooding your home
- A fire that is unable to be put out with your in-home fire extinguisher
- The smell of gas / broken gas line / or suspicion of a gas leak (natural gas has an identifiable smell of rotten eggs)
- Your roof is leaking and causes flooding and damage to the interior of the home
- A broken pipe, waterline, or flooding inside your home
- Air conditioning not working in sweltering weather
- Furnace not heating home in frigid weather
- Other electrical issues that, if not immediately repaired, could result in lasting damage, such as a fire
Every maintenance issue is not an emergency. For example, if you have a leak from your toilet that is minor and can be contained with a bucket or some towels, this is considered a routine maintenance issue but not an emergency. Furthermore, a small leak, while annoying, would be considered a routine maintenance request.
Here are a few examples of situations where you can submit a routine maintenance request:
- Your dishwasher isn’t properly draining
- The garbage disposal is buzzing
- There’s no hot water
- Your stove burner won’t light or heat up
- You have a clogged drain
- Your ceiling fan stopped working
- Your refrigerator is not cooling quickly
- Your HVAC system isn’t heating or cooling in weather above 50 and below 90 degrees
Many landlords and property managers expect their tenants to troubleshoot some issues before submitting a routine maintenance request. This isn’t because your maintenance team doesn’t want to help. Sometimes, things can be easily remedied with a quick DIY and will save you and the maintenance team time to tend to larger issues.
Below you will find detailed instructions on how to mitigate small maintenance issues in your home:
1. Smoke Detector won’t work when tested: Test with approved smoke detector smoke spray and replace the battery.
2. Smoke Detector beeps: Replace the battery and check for proper wire termination connection.
3. No power to plugs or switches: Check and reset breaker panel or replace blown fuses. Check and rest all GFI outlets (located in the kitchen, bathrooms, utility rooms, and garages). Check if the plug works off a wall switch.
4. Garbage disposal doesn’t work: When on, do you hear a buzz? If you do not hear a buzz, hit the reset button on the bottom of the disposal and test. If you hear a buzz, turn off the disposal and unplug it from the wall. Mounted on the side of the disposal or side of the cabinet is an Allen wrench. Put the wrench in the center shaft and twist back and forth (this un-jams the disposal). Remove the object, turn it back on, and test. Repeat until the object is removed.
5. No hot water: Check the thermostat on the tank for proper temperature setting. Check that thermostat is not set to “vacation.” Check and reset the breaker in the power panel. Check and reset the button next to the thermostat.
6. Hot water is too hot: Check the thermostat on the tank and turn it down.
7. Plumbing or fixtures leak: Turn off the water fixture, turn off the water at the supply line and notify Landlord immediately.
8. Toilet is plugged: Plunge and test.
9. No heat: Check the thermostat. Check that furnace covers are in properly. Check that a switch that looks like an ordinary light switch is turned on (located in or near the furnace room). Did you pay or disconnect the utility? Clean and replace filter and test.
10. Dishwasher won’t drain clean food out of the bottom of the dishwasher.
11. Dishwasher grinds or no water is coming in. Turn off; if there is no water on the bottom, pour two large glasses of water into the bottom and re-start. If the problem continues, call Landlord and discontinue use.
12. Refrigerator too warm or too cold: Check thermostat in the refrigerator is set correctly.
13. Water drips from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment. Remove all food and store it in a cooler. Turn off the refrigerator and allow it to defrost. Turn the refrigerator back on and replace food.
14. No Air Conditioning: Check all circuit breakers. Clean and replace filter and test.
Filing a Maintenance Request
Do not avoid maintenance requests! Although, some tenants feel as though they don’t want to bother their property manager with maintenance requests, so they don’t notify anyone. Any maintenance request that the property management team is responsible for should be filed as soon as possible. Further, if you fail to submit a maintenance request and the issue has escalated, resulting in damage to the property, you may be held responsible for any damages for neglecting to turn it in. A small issue now could turn into an emergency if it isn’t handled properly.
Additionally, if you have noticed an issue but are unsure of how to proceed, reach out to your property manager! Likewise, they will be glad to hear from you and can direct you toward a solution or suggestion. Your property manager will be able to explain if your issue is considered an emergency or routine maintenance.
Furthermore, if your property manager utilizes online maintenance requests, be certain to familiarize yourself with the platform. Undoubtedly, knowing how to submit a request will make your life less stressful should a maintenance issue arise.
At RentWise Property Management, we promise that we make every effort to act in our client’s best interests in every situation.
Interested in learning more about our services and how we can provide you with this type of service? RentWise Property Management. Less Hassle. More Happy.