Are Landlords Responsible For Plumbing Problems?

A landlord is responsible legally to keep residential rental property in livable condition. What is considered livable is defined by each city and state’s health code, but it would most definitely include the plumbing – within a certain limit.

A livable property means that that it all things, within reason, have been fixed or replaced prior to your taking occupancy. In most cases, a landlord or property manager will do a walk-thru with the tenant prior to moving personal belongings in and verify everything is in working order.

Plumbing Problems A Landlord Is Responsible For

In addition to making sure a rental property is livable prior to be occupied, a landlord is responsible for making any repairs during the time the property is rented. The nature of a plumbing problem and the terms of the lease agreement will determine what they are to fix and how long they have to get things fixed.

Circumstances Making A Residence Uninhabitable

The law varies from city to city and state to state, but they are specific about what type of plumbing problems make a residence unlivable. In the situation of a plumbing problems, a rental unit must have adequate sanitation, running water with hot and cold, and a properly connected sewage disposal system. A landlord is also responsible for having a working bathtub and/or shower, a working sink, and a working toilet.

Minor Issues May Not Fall Under Landlord Responsibility

Some plumbing problems do not make a rental property unlivable, like a dripping faucet or shower head. Unless this is specifically spelled out in the lease, a landlord will not be responsible for repair or replacing these items.

It is always recommended to review the lease before making a call to the landlord to see where the problem falls as who is responsible. Most rental agreements state that minor issues as such are the responsibility of the tenant. If the renter or a guest of the renter damaged plumbing, the landlord will not be responsible.

When Does The Clock Start Ticking On Plumbing Repairs?

Before a landlord can be held responsible to fix a plumbing problem, they must be made aware of it first. A written request is always best, or today, it would be by email, text message, or by online form furnished by the landlord’s website. Once they have received notification about a plumbing problem, they are allowed a reasonable amount of time to make the repair.

What Is A Reasonable Time To Fix Plumbing Problems

Depending on the nature of the plumbing problem and the scope of what is needed to fix the problem will be the factors that determine what is a reasonable time. Most of city or state laws allow the responsible landlord 30 days to make any needed repairs. In some cases, a shorter time may be the case, such as busted pipes that are flooding the rental unit.

Tenant Self-Help

In some cases when the responsible landlord cannot or does not make the need plumbing repairs in a reasonable amount of time, a tenant may pay for the repair and then subtract the cost from the rent or withhold a capped amount of the rent until the property is made livable by the responsible landlord.

Resources: Half Moon Plumbing Tulsa