Who Pays For Plumbing Repairs in a Rental Property?

When your faucet leaks and the toilet gets clogged, who has to pay for the general plumbing service? The landlord or the tenant? 

Residential tenancy laws exist. However, laws regarding who is responsible for the repair costs at a rental property vary between states and local governments. It’s why it pays to check the local regulations when trying to address maintenance and repair issues. 

In general, though, a landlord is responsible for making a property safe, clean, and fit for tenancy. It involves making sure it’s in a good state of repair and there are no structural problems that could endanger the tenants or compromise their health and quality of life. They should also take action in case of pest infestations, flooding or other natural disasters. 

While it’s the case, there are situations when landlords may not be financially responsible. When it comes to some plumbing issues, the tenants are sometimes the ones responsible. This means they must know what to do in certain emergencies, from searching “plumbers near me” online to dialling a local plumbing company.

When are Tenants Responsible for Plumbing Service? 

Tenants also have maintenance responsibilities under majority landlord-tenant regulations. These include the upkeep of plumbing fixtures and appliances as well as shouldering repair costs for problems that are a result of misuse or neglect. Some examples include: 

  • Letting hair, food, oils and other residues to build up in the drains, thus causing clogs. 
  • Flushing diapers and toilet paper down the toilet, potentially resulting in a sewer line backing up. 
  • Pouring oils, fats, and grease down the drain, which clog the drains when they harden. 
  • Deliberately/accidentally breaking some parts in the toilet tank, prompting the toilet to overflow. 
  • Attempting to fix the issue yourself, but ending up worsening the problem. 

As a tenant, you are not responsible for the fair wear and tear on the property. You are, however, responsible for any damage you cause or by anyone whom you have allowed to enter the premises. 

It’s also your part to notify your landlord, in writing if possible, of what needs repairing. An exception is in the event of plumbing emergencies, wherein you could contact the landlord immediately while taking steps to address the problem. 

These include burst water pipes, overflowing sinks or toilets, broken water heater, serious leaks, or sudden water outages. Emergency situations as such constitute a part of the landlord’s duty to keep the unit fit to live in. 

So, Who is Responsible For the Plumbing Service? 

Anything beyond these, you can refer to your lease agreement to see who should be responsible for the repairs in this situation. It’s the reason why it benefits both parties to have these responsibilities clearly outlined in the lease and look over it before signing. Make sure to check specifically for maintenance clauses, indicating who should shoulder the costs in case of different plumbing scenarios. 

In the event that the lease doesn’t cover the situation you are in, see to it that you contact your landlord, explain the issue and ask them how they would like to handle the situation. Because, in some cases, they have a preferred general plumbing service provider to fix any issues. It’s up to them to decide whether you should shoulder a part of the repair costs. Again, if it’s determined that you or any of your family members or guests have caused the problem, the landlord has the right to charge you for the cost. 

If no mutual agreement is possible, you can then resort to other options such as reporting the issue to your local government, putting up with the problem until the end of your lease, or give a written notice to terminate your tenancy. 

Disputes with your landlord can be unnecessarily contentious and costly for both ends. Therefore, as a tenant, make sure to review your rights and know which damages you should and shouldn’t cover. At the same time, see that you do your part in maintaining the plumbing and the rental property as a whole. This way, you’re less likely to put yourself in a bad rental situation. 

Who should pay for the general plumbing services in a rental property? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment. 

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