What Counts as an Emergency Repair: A Guide for Landlords

As a landlord, it’s important to understand what qualifies as an emergency repair and how to handle them quickly and efficiently when they arise. While some issues can be addressed with a simple phone call to the tenant or property manager, sometimes a repair requires immediate attention. To help provide clarity, we’ve put together this short guide to understanding what counts as an emergency repair as a landlord.

What Is An Emergency Repair?

When it comes to residential property, an emergency repair is defined as any issue that creates an unsafe living environment for the tenant or poses an immediate threat to the wellbeing of the tenant. Examples of emergency repairs can include structural problems, gas leaks, water leaks, electricity issues, or blocked sewers. 

Responding Quickly To An Emergency

In most cases, emergency repairs will need to be completed within 24 hours. However, if the issue is considered to be critical, landlords will need to act even more urgently. It is important to have a plan of action in place for these types of repairs and to contact a qualified contractor as soon as possible. 

Making Sure The Tenant Is Informed

The first step in addressing an emergency repair is to ensure the tenant is aware of the problem. Landlords should make sure to communicate the issue to the tenant as soon as possible and provide a timeline of the repairs that will be made. This will help to alleviate any concerns and minimize any potential disruption. 

Safety First

It is important that landlords take every precaution necessary to protect the safety of their tenants. This includes ensuring that no one is using the property when the repairs are being completed and that all necessary safety protocols are being followed. Landlords should also make sure to have any repairs inspected to make sure they have been completed properly. 

Making Sure The Job Is Done Right

Once all the necessary repairs have been completed, landlords should inspect the work to make sure it has been done properly. If there are any issues, landlords should contact the contractor and let them know so they can correct the problem. 

Know Your Rights

When it comes to emergency repairs, tenants have certain rights that must be respected. These include the right to a safe living environment and the right to have their privacy respected while the repairs are being completed. It is important that landlords understand these rights and make sure to follow the law. 

Keeping Up With Routine Maintenance

The best way to avoid emergency repairs is to keep up with routine maintenance of the property. Regularly inspecting the property for any potential issues can help to prevent them from becoming more serious and also helps to keep the property in good condition. 

Understanding What Counts as an Emergency Repair 

By understanding what counts as an emergency repair, landlords can be prepared to address any issues that may arise in a timely and efficient manner. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the law and make sure to follow proper protocols can also help to protect the safety of your tenants and ensure the repairs are done correctly. 

What to Remember When Dealing With Emergency Repair Requests:

  • An emergency repair is any issue that creates an unsafe living environment for the tenant or poses an immediate threat to their wellbeing.
  • Emergency repairs should be tended to quickly, usually within 24 hours.
  • Landlords should communicate the issue to the tenant and provide a timeline of the repairs.
  • Take every necessary precaution to protect the tenant’s safety and have the repairs inspected.
  • Look into tenants rights for emergency repairs.
  • Maintain routine maintenance to help avoid emergency repairs.

Dealing with an emergency repair can be a daunting task for a landlord. However, by having a plan of action in place and making sure to follow all necessary protocols, landlords can be prepared to address any potential issues. With the right knowledge, landlords can be prepared to handle any emergency repair request quickly and efficiently.


Knowing What Counts as an Emergency Repair is a crucial aspect of being a landlord. As many emergency repairs have potential health and safety implications, it is essential for landlords to be prepared to handle them as soon as they arise. It’s important to both be aware of tenants’ rights and to follow proper protocols for dealing with emergency repairs. Taking these steps will ensure that tenants are safe and landlords can complete any necessary repairs quickly and efficiently.


What steps do landlords need to take when dealing with an emergency repair?

1. Identify the problem. Check if the issue can be solved without calling in a specialist.

2. Notify tenants of the situation and carry out a risk assessment to determine if there is a need for an emergency repair.

3. Contact a qualified tradesperson. Ensure that they have the correct qualifications and insurance to carry out the repair.

4. Secure the repair. Get quotes from multiple suppliers and consider any potential additional costs.

5. Work quickly. Make sure you don’t drag your feet when tackling the repair.

6. Inform tenants of the repair. Keep tenants informed of the progress and give an estimate of when the repair should be completed.

7. Document the repair. Make sure to document the entire process, including any invoices, quotes and contractor information.

What type of emergency repairs require the landlord’s immediate attention?

1. Fire or smoke damage

2. A major electric, gas, or plumbing issue that poses a health and safety risk

3. Severe water damage

4. Broken heating/air conditioning systems in extreme temperatures

5. Pest infestation causing health and/or safety issues

6. Structural issues that could cause immediate harm or property damage

7. Any other issue that poses an immediate risk to tenants or the property

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