What Is Considered Emergency Maintenance in an Apartment?

By: ROS Team

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Maintaining your apartment in good working order is key, but not every repair is an emergency. Differentiating an apartment emergency maintenance request from a simple repair can aid you in saving time, worry, and, potentially, money.

In this blog post, you will learn what makes an apartment emergency maintenance, which will allow you to quickly take care of the issue and make your apartment, and your neighbors safe.

What Is Emergency Maintenance?

Emerge­ncy maintenance means those urge­nt fixes that are crucial. If not done­ promptly, these issues can cause­ serious harm to the property, pose­ risks, or harm the residents’ we­ll-being. These proble­ms need immediate­ attention, often outside of regular business hours, to stop any more damage or danger.

Commons Examples of Apartment Emergency Maintenance

apartment emergency maintenance
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In the event of a fire emergency in an apartment building, quick action is key. Dial 911 first. Emergency maintenance should verify that fire alarms are operational, all fire exits are free and clear, and fire extinguishers are in their place and operational.

Serious Pest Infestations:

Emergency maintenance is required to address serious pest infestations promptly to prevent health hazards and further property damage. This may involve deploying pest control professionals to assess the extent of the infestation and take appropriate measures such as fumigation or sealing entry points.

Gas Leak:

A gas leak is a severe danger to any resident’s safety. It is necessary for emergency maintenance workers to promptly turn off the gas, ventilate affected areas, and arrange for experts to inspect and repair gas lines.

Broken Locks, Doors, or Windows:

In any home, security is paramount. It is essential for emergency maintenance to promptly repair or replace broken locks, doors, and windows to safeguard the safety of residents and their belongings.

Carbon Monoxide:

Carbon monoxide leaks can kill people. Emergency maintenance staff should clear the place, and make arrangements for a professional to examine and judge whether or not malfunctioning heating devices or equipment is emitting carbon monoxide gas from their operations.

No Heat in Freezing Weather:

No heat on days, when it is freezing outside, can bring discomfort and health hazards such as hypothermia. Emergency maintenance should try to restore room temperature as quickly as possible, this should include fixing furnaces or boilers and bleeding radiators.


Flooding can cause extensive damage to property and pose safety risks. Emergency maintenance should act quickly to identify and stop the source of the flooding, pump out water, and implement measures to prevent further water damage such as drying out affected areas and repairing damaged pipes or fixtures.

No Electricity:

Lack of electricity can disrupt our daily lives and carry considerable safety risks, especially in situations that demand light and electricity for appliances. Emergency maintenance must ascertain the reason why power has gone out, address any inappropriate operation of electrical systems, and coordinate with utility companies to have this important means promptly restored.

No Air Conditioning in Hot Weather:

In hot weather, lack of air conditioning can lead to discomfort and health risks such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Emergency maintenance should repair or replace faulty air conditioning systems to ensure residents’ comfort and well-being.

No Water:

Water is essential for daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. Emergency maintenance should investigate the cause of the water outage, repair any issues with water supply lines or fixtures, and ensure residents have access to alternative water sources if necessary until the problem is resolved.

What Isn’t Emergency Maintenance for Apartment?

emergency maintenance for apartment
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  • Noisy Neighbors:

This is unpleasant, but it’s not considered an emergency maintenance problem. You should either talk with the neighbor or else go to your landlord/management office during regular business hours.

  • Broken Lights/Light Fixtures:

Unless the said fixture is located in a stairwell or hallway, and it’s a safety hazard, you should wait for regular business hours for the maintenance team to address the situation.

  • Non-working Appliances (Like a Stove or Fridge):

While inconvenient, non-working appliances can usually wait for maintenance to be addressed during regular business hours unless they pose a safety hazard or affect health (such as a broken refrigerator causing food spoilage).

  • A Broken Heater When the Temperature Outside Is Above 50 Degrees:

In warmer weather, heating issues generally are not considered an emergency unless they pose some health risk for the residents.

  • Locked Out of the Apartment:

While frustrating, being locked out of the apartment is not typically considered an emergency unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as extreme weather conditions or a safety concern.

  • Cosmetic Issues Like Cracked Drywall:

Cosmetic issues are not emergencies and can be addressed during regular maintenance periods.

  • A Broken Air Conditioner When the Temperature Outside Is Below 90 Degrees:

Air conditioning issues during cooler weather are generally not considered emergencies unless they pose a health risk to residents.

What May Feel Like an Emergency but Isn’t?

  • Minor Plumbing Issues: While a leaking faucet or a clogged drain can be inconvenient, they are typically not emergencies and can be addressed during regular maintenance hours.
  • Minor Electrical Issues: If a single outlet or light switch stops working, it may not be considered an emergency unless it poses a safety hazard. However, a complete loss of electricity or sparking wires would require immediate attention.
  • Small Appliance Malfunctions: If a microwave or a dishwashing machine stops working, it is not an emergency, no matter how inconvenient it may be because these issues can wait for regular maintenance.
  • Cosmetic Damage to Non-Essential Areas: Any damage to baseboards, trims, or other non-essential areas feels like an emergency but it can wait for regular maintenance too.
  • Non-Urgent Repairs in Common Areas: Loose railing or some minor damages are not safety hazards and are not classified as emergencies.

How to File an Apartment Emergency Maintenance Request?

If an emergency maintenance issue arises, act quickly. Contact your landlord or property manager as soon as possible. For immediate assistance, use the after-hours emergency number. Be clear in explaining the nature of the emergency and where you are located, and follow up with a written request to document the issue.

Apartment Maintenance You Can DIY

If you live in an apartment, you don’t have to be helpless for a little work. Well within the range of routine maintenance is changing air filters once every six months, replacing the batteries in smoke detectors, unclogging drains, and repairing leaky faucets—all items that can be handled easily with the use of common tools and a bit of knowledge.

This can save you time and frustration waiting for maintenance, and even help you become more familiar with your living space. Just remember that if you are under a lease contract or renting month it is important to confirm with the landlord first–there may be certain rules they have about this stuff!

Emergency Maintenance for Apartment: FAQ’s

What Is the Difference Between Planned Maintenance and Emergency Maintenance?

Planned maintenance is scheduled and proactive, involving routine inspections and repairs to prevent equipment failure or deterioration. It is planned in advance to minimize disruptions.

On the other hand, emergency maintenance is reactive and unplanned, addressing urgent issues and unexpected failures that require immediate attention to avoid further damage or safety risks.

How Long Does Apartment Emergency Maintenance Take?

While response times can vary, apartment emergency maintenance typically aims to arrive within hours of being reported. However, the repair itself may take longer depending on the complexity of the issue and parts availability.

Will the Tenant Be Charged for Emergency Maintenance?

Typically, renters do not have to foot the bill for emergency upkeep within their rental unit. Such issues are generally viewed as the landlord’s duty to guarantee the living space is safe and suitable.

However, it is wise to inspect the lease terms more closely and check with the property owner about liability, as there could potentially be some cases or stipulations where the tenant ends up responsible for costs.

Is Broken AC a Maintenance Emergency?

A broken AC might be an emergency depending on the situation. It’s generally considered an emergency during extreme heat, especially when vulnerable individuals like children or elderly are present, or if there’s water damage or electrical issues involved. In other cases, it’s best to contact your landlord for guidance.

Is No Hot Water a Maintenance Emergency?

No, it is not an emergency. It is inconvenient, but it does not cause a problem related to immediate health, life, or safety. Contact your landlord during the business hours to sort out the issue.

Is a Leak a Maintenance Emergency?

Some are, some are not. They are emergencies if they are contributing to flood levels, an intermediate health hazard such as a gas leak, or a potentially significant leak such as mainline leaks. For others, contact your landlord to assess the situation.

What if Your Landlord Won’t Fix Emergency Maintenance?

If your landlord refuses or neglects to address emergency maintenance issues, you must carefully document the problem and your communication efforts regarding the crucial repairs. Local tenant rights laws vary significantly from place to place—you’ll need to diligently examine the statutes that govern rental properties within your jurisdiction.

In some places, occupants are legally allowed to temporarily withhold rental payments until the owner addresses matters that endanger health or safety.

Emergency Maintenance for Apartment: Final Words

By familiarizing yourself with what constitutes a true emergency and what can wait, you can ensure a smoother living experience for yourself and avoid unnecessary stress. When in doubt, remember that it’s always better to err on the side of caution and reach out to your landlord or property manager.

Find a New Apartment With NY RENT OWN SELL

If the problem continues or more arises and you’re at an impasse with your landlord, it may be time to move on and move out. NY RENT OWN SELL can help you find a new apartment that meets your needs and provides responsive maintenance services.

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