Is the landlord or tenant responsible for plumbing repairs? Landlords are usually responsible for minor repairs and routine maintenance, while tenants are responsible for damage or issues they cause.
Plumbing is one of the most common maintenance issues that tenants face in a rental apartment, and it’s often a big cause of conflict between landlords and tenants. When a plumbing issue occurs, the tenant must be able to know how to get it fixed and who is responsible for making the repairs.
Tenant Rights to Repairs and Maintenance
Under most state and local laws, all rental properties are obligated to meet the minimum standards of habitability. This includes things like electrical systems, plumbing, and ventilation. Landlords are required to make necessary repairs at their own expense to meet minimum housing standards.
If an apartment or condo doesn’t meet these requirements, tenants have the right to request immediate remedy from your landlord. If the landlord does not make necessary plumbing repairs, then tenants can take legal action against their landlord.
Is the Landlord Responsible for Plumbing Repairs? Yes, But Check The Lease
When plumbing issues arise that were not caused by the tenant, then the landlord is responsible to make plumbing repairs. That being said, tenants should check their lease regarding plumbing problems.
Generally, a rental lease agreement will clearly state who is responsible when plumbing issues arise. While not every potential issue will be itemized, the lease will state when a tenant is responsible and when the landlord is responsible.
The tenant must do what they can to prevent plumbing damage and mitigate issues as quickly as possible. This includes only putting flushable things in a toilet, keeping drains clear, and alerting the landlord of leaks and blockage immediately.
A landlord must promptly make the needed repairs if they are discovered and documented in writing by a tenant. The law requires that the landlord provide you with a written report describing any necessary repairs, as well as the estimated cost of those repairs, at the tenant’s request.
In most situations, landlords are responsible for the following plumbing repairs:
- Leaking pipes
- No running water
- No hot water
- Broken fixtures
- Clogged drains
- Low water pressure
What Plumbing Repairs Are Tenants Responsible For?
Can a landlord charge a tenant for plumbing repairs? A tenant is only responsible for plumbing repairs for damage that the tenant caused. In other words, tenants do not need to pay to repair plumbing issues that they did not cause.
For example, a tenant does not need to hire a plumber to unclog a toilet backed up with normal waste. Most rental leases state that a tenant must keep a plunger in the apartment to remedy standard toilet clogs. But if the tenant tries flushing a roll of paper towels down the toilet, then the tenant will be expected to hire and pay a plumber to fix the issue. Other examples include:
- Plumbing damage caused by guests
- Plumbing damage caused by pets
- Issues that don’t fall under normal wear-and-tear
- Any plumbing damage if the tenant failed to alert the landlord
Frequently Asked Questions
If a landlord hires a property management company, the property manager does not pay for repairs. They communicate between landlords and tenants and schedule contractors to do repairs at the landlord’s expense.
A landlord can only charge a tenant to unclog a drain if the tenant was responsible for the clog. For example. a landlord cannot charge to unclog a drain caused by a faulty pipe, but they can charge for excessive grease build up.
Tenants are responsible for clogged toilets, shower drains, and sink drains unless the clog is a result of a broken appliance or damaged piping.
Landlords do not have to be present for repairs, however it is their choice whether they want to oversee repairs.
A landlord is required to fix a sewage backup as soon as they are notified by the tenant. If the landlord does not do so before the unit becomes inhabitable, then tenants have the right to withhold rent and hire a plumber at the landlord’s expense.
Repair and deduct laws state that tenants can deduct plumbing repair costs from their monthly rent, given the repairs are minor, reasonable, and less than $500 or half of the monthly rent.
Landlords pay for plumbing issues that are not the fault of the tenant.