Real estate gets a lot of praise for being an excellent source of passive income, but in reality, it’s just not a standard 9-5. Different responsibilities may require landlords to work outside usual hours, like preparing your house for a showing or attending to emergency repairs.

On the latter, it can get tricky to determine which repairs require immediate attention, irrespective of time or day. In addition, depending on your rental agreement, landlords often shoulder the burden of some fixes. And even when they don’t foot the bill, tenants still need to keep them in the loop.

Do you wonder which repairs warrant after-hour calls? This article on the top 6 emergency rental home repairs answers all your questions right below:

Top 6 Emergency Rental Home Repairs

1. Fire Outbreak

A fire outbreak certainly warrants an emergency call after hours. Such an accident could cause severe damage to your rental property and even be fatal. In addition, just smoke inhalation can wreak severe damage on your lungs and lead to other respiratory complications. That’s why it’s essential for your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to always be fully functional.

Besides responding immediately if one of your fire detection alarms is down, you should also perform routine maintenance to ensure they’re at optimal functionality. You could also consider swapping to a smart detector which automatically alerts you when something is wrong and can help you prevent future accidents.

2. HVAC System Fault

Depending on the season, a broken air conditioner or heater could be a slight inconvenience or the difference between life and death.

When temperature peaks in the summer and drops in the winter, a faulty HVAC system could leave tenants liable to heat stroke or frostbite cases. It’s one of the reasons many states require a functional heating and cooling system as a warrant of habitability.

To avoid doing repair work under the scorching sun or in the middle of a snow blizzard, you should regularly clean and inspect your HVAC system. Professional Property Management Group of Northern Virginia can assist tenants in an emergency.

3. Water Leak

A water leak can quickly get out of hand and leave your house looking like a giant puddle.

Besides increasing your total utility bill, it can also cause severe water damage to your house and property. In addition, the dampness can also attract pests which threaten the safety of the residents.

Perform routine inspections of your water line to ensure they’re all secure and there are no holes. It would help if you also practiced weatherproofing your pipes during winter to avoid breakages. Also, remember to clear your gutters to ensure smooth flow and prevent water-logged roofs.

4. Electrical Issues (extended power outage)

Another fault that requires emergency repairs is electrical issues. An extended power outage is often more than a mere inconvenience.

It could mean no heat in winter or cool air in summer. Also, you risk all the food in your fridge going rancid, not to mention a significant drop in productivity.

Besides a blackout, an electrical issue can also instigate house fires or electrocute someone tampering with wires or using a device. Electricity is a fragile thing to work with, so it would be best to call in the experts.

5. Gas Leak

Another dangerous issue that requires a quick resolution is a gas leak. A tiny spark could ignite an inferno in your rental and wreak havoc on lives and properties. Besides, prolonged exposure can also cause natural gas poisoning.

Common signs that indicate you might have a leak include the smell of rotten eggs, hissing sounds, and physical symptoms like nausea and dizziness.

If you suspect a leak, shut off the gas immediately, then step outside to contact your landlord or 911. When managing rental maintenance, it’s crucial to include gas line inspections in your checklist.

6. Intruder Break-in

Finally, if there’s an intruder, such as a burglar, it’s vital to contact the authorities and your landlord immediately.

Such a break-in should prompt a conversation about heightening security, especially if you live in a neighborhood with a high-crime rate.

You can install surveillance cameras on the premises and opt for a high-tech security system as a preventive measure.

What Counts as Emergency Repair?

Any unexpected damage to your rental property can inconvenience the residents. However, not every fix counts as an emergency repair. Both landlords and tenants need to understand the difference.

Generally, any fault that causes immediate harm to the lives and welfare of tenant property, like a fire or flood, requires emergency repair. For example, burnt-out light bulbs, noise complaints, and no hot water can be inconvenient. But since they don’t threaten renters’ lives, belongings, or the house’s safety, they’re not considered emergency repairs. Hence, both parties can wait a few hours to a few days for a fix without enduring much discomfort.


There you have it! As a rule of thumb, a fault only warrants an emergency repair when it threatens the safety of tenants’ lives and properties. Fires, floods, or a break-in easily fall under this category and, thus, are emergency rental home repairs. An HVAC system fault during extreme weather, a gas leak, and electrical issues are also worthy of mention.

In a crisis, renters might not be able to reach the property owner easily, especially during long hours or if it’s a long-distance landlord. Thus, hiring a local expert to assist with your property management duties would be best.