Be prepared for rental property emergency repairs

What Are Rental Property Emergencies?

Professional property management companies collaborate with homeowners to maintain the value of their rental property. DenCO Property Management and Sales (DenCO) oversees repairs, ensures work quality, and keeps the properties in good condition. When tenants have a property concern, they should always contact their property manager.

Under most state and local laws, landlords must offer a warranty of habitability, which means the housing is watertight, has available heat, water, and electricity, is clean, and is structurally sound. Property managers should complete requested repairs as soon as possible to avoid legal and vacancy problems. Emergencies must be handled immediately or within 24 hours, depending on severity. Maintenance emergencies should be responded to within 48 hours. Property management companies need to inform their tenants when the repairs will be made, arrange appointments and property access, and explain any delays. DenCO maintains a bench of reliable service companies. If a company does not respond, we have a backup to render the needed services.


If something goes wrong at a rental property, when is it considered an emergency? Let’s start with the definition of the word emergency, which means something requiring immediate attention. If unresolved, the issue could endanger the health of the leaseholder or damage the home. True emergencies are outside the control of the property management company, so the tenant should call 911 first and do what is necessary to prevent any bodily harm. After leaving the premise, they should contact the property manager and inform them about the situation. Below are examples of actual emergencies.

Fire – Open flames or smoke in rentals warrant an immediate 911 call.

Natural Gas or Propane Leaks – If tenants smell rotten eggs when they enter their home, they should immediately leave the premises and call 911 and the local natural gas utility. The tenants must avoid turning on lights, making a phone call, or other actions that could create a spark. In Denver, the provider is usually Xcel Energy.

Maintenance Emergencies

Maintenance emergencies warrant quick action by the tenant and property manager to avoid property damage and health risks. Tenants should call their property manager to give notice of any issue.

Roof Leaks – Water dripping from a ceiling signifies a compromised roof. Slow roof leaks encourage further damage.

Carbon Monoxide – Malfunctioning water heaters, furnaces, and other gas appliances are common causes of Carbon Monoxide (CO) exposure. As of 2009, all dwellings in Colorado, including rentals, must have a functioning CO detector. If the CO alarm goes off, the tenants should leave immediately. Or, if the tenant feels a tightness across their forehead or a pounding heart, they should vacate the property. After leaving the residence, they should call their property manager and, if necessary, 911.

Flooding – Flooding is caused by broken water lines, backed-up sewer lines, broken outdoor faucets, or overflowing gutters. Outdoor faucets freeze, then ice follows the pipe into the interior of a home and splits it. When the pipe thaws out, water gushes out into the basement. Clogged gutters send water down exterior walls and into the house when it rains hard. The tenant should attempt to turn off the main water line first, then call the property manager. Time is of essence to save the carpet, drywall, and personal possessions.

No Electricity – Neighborhood power outages are beyond the control of the landlord and the property manager. Utilities work hard to restore power as soon as possible. Tenants must contact their local utility if the lights go out from windstorms, ice storms, or blown transformers. The tenant should call their property management company if they lose power within their home. Sometimes, circuit breakers are tripped and need to be reset. The property manager or tenant should take this opportunity to make sure all circuit breakers are operable.

No Water – Renters should call their property manager if they have no water. The local utility will complete repairs as quickly as possible if it is a broken water main. If the issue is on-premise, the property manager will call a plumber to fix the problem.

No Heat – A non-working furnace or boiler on a cold day is an emergency. At other times, the renter should submit a maintenance request.

Regular Maintenance

DenCO proactively keeps its properties habitable and all appliances and heating and cooling systems in good working order with its biannual and move-out inspections protocols, but sometimes things go wrong. Click here to see the benefits of bi-annual property inspections.

No Air Conditioning – No A/C on a hot day is not considered an emergency. If the A/C stops, tenants should call their property manager immediately. DenCO has a list of professional service companies that will respond to repair requests at a moment’s notice.

Clogged Drains and Toilets – A clogged sink or toilet is not an emergency. However, if the main sewage line is backing up into the home or apartment, that is considered an emergency.

Why is Quickly Responding to Maintenance Emergencies Good Business?

Promptly responding to maintenance emergencies creates goodwill and builds trust with tenants. Happy tenants are more likely to stay and renew their leases. They respond well when the property manager professionally fixes a maintenance emergency. Check out our blog on how to Increase Tenant Retention. 

Another reason to be responsive to calls from leaseholders is that the City of Denver and the State of Colorado offer tenants plenty of resources to make landlords meet all requirements listed in Colorado’s Maintain Habitable Premises law. Not responding to maintenance emergencies opens property management companies and owners to legal difficulties and risks. Noncompliance also has monetary penalties. So, it is best for all parties concerned that maintenance emergencies are taken care of promptly.

Property owners, if you are looking for a professional property management company that can handle all rental emergencies, please consider DenCO. DenCO manages over 150 rentals in the DU, Washington Park, and other neighborhoods in the Denver area and has been in business since 1990.