Do you know when to request emergency maintenance for your apartment? Sometimes, it’s fairly obvious. If, for example, you are standing ankle-deep in water and you are in the middle of your kitchen, you likely have a bona fide emergency on your hands and you probably want to request emergency maintenance. But what if the air conditioner is on the fritz or the heater stopped working? Is that an emergency? And if you notice an issue in the middle of the night, how do you determine if it’s something that could wait until morning or if it’s something you need to deal with immediately?
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what the situation requires. It’s very common for residents to have difficulty distinguishing an emergency from a non-emergency so let’s explore what might be considered an emergency, which situations may only need a routine maintenance request, and what types of things you could resolve on your own.
Your Title Goes Here
Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
What Is an Emergency?
Let’s begin by defining the term “maintenance emergency.” It is something that requires immediate attention. If left unresolved, the problem could result in injury, threaten one’s health, or cause serious property damage. For example, a suspected gas leak is always an emergency. Sometimes, the context matters, like a loss of air conditioning during a heat wave.
So, is it a maintenance emergency? There are three possible answers: yes, no and maybe.
A maintenance emergency is something that, if it isn’t repaired immediately, could cause injury, threaten your health, or cause serious property damage. These things could include:
- A broken water line or flooding
- Fire (call 911 first, then maintenance)
- A broken gas line or leak (natural gas smells like rotten eggs)
- A broken lock on your door
- No air conditioning in hot weather
- No heat in freezing weather
- A sewer back-up or leak that is flooding your apartment
What Isn’t an Emergency?
Not every maintenance issue is an emergency. If, for example, you have a minor drip under your kitchen sink that can be contained with a bucket, you’ll definitely want maintenance to take a look, but it isn’t an emergency. Here are some other situations where you could probably get away with submitting a routine maintenance request:
- A broken air conditioner when the temperature outside is below 90 degrees
- A broken heater when the temperature outside is above 50 degrees
- Your ice maker stopped working
- The stove burner isn’t lighting up
- There’s no hot water
- A lightbulb went out
- Loss of power (see below)
- Sink draining slowly
- Clogged toilet (after normal business hours hours)
- Noisy neighbors (call police non-emergency dispatch)
- Getting locked out of your apartment. We can assist during business hours and sometimes a little after but if you lost your keys at 1:30 am, please do not call the emergency line, get a locksmith and we can assist you in the morning. (see below)
If you determine that the issue isn’t an emergency, you should still go ahead and submit a maintenance request to be handled during normal business hours. Be aware that it may take a few days to get the issue resolved since the maintenance team will handle emergencies before tackling other repairs, so be patient.
Use Your Best Judgement
Sometimes, other factors may help you determine when to submit a maintenance request. For example, if you get up for a midnight snack and notice that your fridge isn’t as cold as it should be, this is a problem that needs to be solved quickly — but it could probably wait until morning if you keep the refrigerator door closed until then.
We have an emergency number but please refrain from calling or texting the number unless it is a real emergency
Getting Locked Out
Getting locked out of your apartment isn’t necessarily an emergency. You could call a locksmith to help you get back in rather than calling emergency maintenance. (You could also hide a key or give one to a trusted friend or neighbor so getting locked out isn’t an issue.)
If the power goes out, it could be an issue with the electric company. Maintenance can’t help in this instance, so call your electric provider and see if there’s an outage before you contact maintenance. Also, check to see if it’s the entire building or just your apartment. If it’s only your unit, try flipping the circuit breakers, reset the GFI breakers, and check the fuses.
Most apartment communities don’t consider a partial outage an emergency. For example, if a wall switch or outlet malfunctions, unplug your items and turn off the circuit breaker. This is usually considered a non-emergency, so submit your maintenance request during normal business hours.
Some Things You Can DIY
There are some things you could probably handle, such as a clogged toilet, a burned-out lightbulb, or a dirty air filter. While major or dangerous repairs are better left to the experts, smaller issues could be resolved quickly without a maintenance call. Some tools to have on hand include a plunger, some 9-volt batteries, spare lightbulbs, and air filters. To replace an air filter in your air conditioning unit, look for the current filter and note the size. Replace it with the same size filter by following the instructions that come with the new filter.
If your smoke detector is beeping because the batteries are low, replace them. Take the smoke detector down and locate its battery compartment. Swap out the old batteries with new ones. Don’t remove the old batteries and not replace them! That’s dangerous and could even be a violation of your lease.