One of the biggest benefits of renting is having a landlord to take care of maintenance repairs and issues. Especially if they offer their tenants 24/7 maintenance. From leaky pipes to a kitchen drawer that won’t open, it’s nice to have someone on the property who can fix anything that goes wrong.
Sometimes, it can get tricky for tenants to understand who to call when something goes awry. Should they contact property management or immediately speak to maintenance? It’s up to the landlord to set expectations about when to call maintenance directly and when a repair item should be reported to management.
Apartment Maintenance vs. Property Management
The way it works in most apartment buildings is simple: tenants contact their landlord or property management for any items that need repair and the property management writes up a work order. The work orders are dealt with in the order they are received; ideally, most non-emergency repairs should be handled within a day or so.
Sometimes, emergency repairs happen after hours or are so serious that they need to be dealt with right away. If that’s the case, the landlord will sometimes offer a direct way to contact the maintenance team. The lease agreement should lay out the types of regular maintenance items the landlord will take care of, how long it should ideally take for these repairs to happen, and what the procedure should be for emergency maintenance issues.
What Items Are Routine Maintenance?
As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of renting is having a full-time maintenance man with working knowledge of a variety of things handy to do repairs should an issue arise. Routine maintenance items include things like a broken pull on a cabinet door, a recessed light fixture that’s not working properly, minor appliance repair, (this includes air conditioning), or a leak that has ceased but has caused water damage to the surrounding area.
For these kinds of items, tenants should contact the landlord/property management to fill out a maintenance request, and maintenance staff will generally address the issue in a day or so.
What Items Are Considered Emergency Maintenance?
Sometimes, a repair can’t wait a couple of days or something serious happens after business hours. Perhaps a pipe is leaking and the tenant can’t find the water valve to turn it off or they smell smoke coming from a circuit breaker box. These types of plumbing, electrical, and essential items are emergency maintenance requests and need to be dealt with right away. Generally, anything that involves out-of-control water, gas, or electrical repairs means that maintenance is required immediately.
Other items that aren’t quite as dire but also require fast attention are a clogged toilet in a one-bathroom apartment or a problem with a property-wide HVAC system. Should a tenant call their landlord for these types of issues, they should be addressed right away.
When to Call Maintenance Directly
Most landlords will be able to determine when maintenance is required immediately and schedule a fast repair accordingly. In addition to wanting to keep their tenants happy, a good landlord doesn’t want their property damaged by water or electrical problems. Generally speaking, a tenant should only contact maintenance directly if they’re directed to do so by their landlord, if an emergency repair is needed after hours, or if their landlord fails to take action on a requested repair of an item that is covered in the lease agreement.