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Tenant Emergency Request Guide

by hemlane

This is a guide to determine whether a maintenance and repair request submitted by a tenant is considered urgent. In the event that there is imminent danger to your health or safety (life threatening emergencies such as a fire, gas leak, or CO2 alarm), exit the property and dial 911 immediately.


Urgent Requests


  1. Water Leak
    When there is any flooding or constant water flow that cannot be stopped by turning off water for the entire home.
    Some examples include: roofs, sinks, toilets, and HVAC.
    While you wait for assistance:
    (a) Turn off the water source, which is either the line to the broken pipe or the main water supply line.
    (b) Put a bucket underneath any water pipe that may be dripping water.
    (c) Unplug any electronics in close proximity
    (d) Mop up any water that may be on the floor or causing damage.
    (e) Point fans towards any water that you cannot remove (e.g. in carpet or cracks).
    (f) Take photos in the event an insurance claim needs to be filed.

    Please make sure to check the troubleshooting guide for plumbing before considering this an emergency. A landlord/manager will charge back if this can be fixed through one of these steps.

  2. Water Heater
    When the heater has burst.
    (a)Turn of the water - There is usually a blue knob or lever on the pipe leading from the wall to the water heater. Turn this clockwise to turn the water off.
    (b)Turn of the power - You may either turn the water heater off (there is usually a power switch at the base) or flip the breaker to the off position at the main power supply.
    (c)The technician will drain your water heater when they arrive but if your tank is leaking heavily, you may want to drain it prior to the technician arriving to prevent damage. Please follow the directions below to drain your heater:
    1. Hook a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and run it outside on the ground. Make sure you drain the tank to a proper location such as a gutter drain or sink. Do not drain the water onto your lawn or driveway as sediment and rust from the tank can harm your grass or stain your driveway.
    2. Open the drain valve where the hose is attached.
    3. Open the pressure relief valve on top of the tank by pulling up on it.
    4. Allow the water in the tank to drain out.

  3. Heating
    When it is below 55 degrees farenheit outside. (65 degrees farenheit if young children, elderly, or sick people are present.)
    Please make sure that your maintenance request includes a photo uploaded of your thermostat reading as well. If you are not at the legal limits and its during the weekend, then we recommend purchasing a portable heater until a weekday scheduled appointment.

  4. Air Conditioning
    When it is above 95 degrees farenheit outside (85 degrees farenheit if young children, elderly, or sick people are present.)
    Please make sure that your maintenance request includes a photo uploaded of your thermostat reading as well. If you are not at the legal limits and its during the weekend, then we recommend purchasing a fan or small AC unit until a weekday scheduled appointment.

  5. Toilet Not Working
    Only an emergency when there is just one toilet in the home or all toilets are not functioning.
    Please make sure to check the troubleshooting guide for plumbing before considering this an emergency. A landlord/manager will charge back if this can be fixed through one of these steps.

  6. No Water
    Please make sure to call your local water company first to confirm if there is any work being done in the area or any issues with the account

  7. Electricity Outage
    Only an emergency after you have confirmed with the electric company that there is no outage on the grid and you have flipped the breaker to the home. For more electrical troubleshooting, please read our guide here.

  8. Burning or Melting Outlet
    When you see or smell an electrical outlet burning or melting.
    Unplug anything that may be plugged into the outlet immediately
    Additional recommendation: Turn off the breaker.

  9. Gas Smell
    When you smell gas or your carbon monoxide detector sounds.
    Exit the property to a safe distance and dial 911.

  10. Fire
    Exit the premises safely.
    Exit the property to a safe distance and dial 911.

  11. Lockouts
    While this is an emergency, most Owners consider this tenant responsibility (meaning the tenant has to pay for a locksmith to come out) unless it is caused by a malfunction of the lock. Lost or misplaced keys are usually not covered issues.


Not Urgent Requests


  1. No Hot Water
    No water is urgent but no hot water is not unless it has been more than 2 days without hot water.

  2. Toilet Backup
    Only urgent when the entire plumbing drain system is stopped (all sinks and drains). Please see above and also review troubleshooting tips here.

  3. Noise Complaints
    Can be dealt with by reviewing the local noise ordinaces near you and by calling 911. If you are in a larger complex where there is an onsite manager and all units are owned by one company, then you will want to notify the onsite manager.

  4. Assigned Parking Spaces
    Not considered an emergency.


Disclaimer: This is intended to help determine whether or not the request is urgent. These are general guidelines from what we have experienced to be high priority emergency requests with a rental, however Hemlane is not liable for any inaccuracies that may arise as a result of extraneous circumstances. In the event of a true emergency make sure to safely exit the premises and dial 911.

Photo Cred:
Alex Simon