Plumbing problems can be disastrous. Your toilet may be clogged and overflowing but you need to use it. The bath could be leaking but you also need to take a shower and get to work. If you’re renting an apartment or house, how do you get those plumbing issues fixed quickly?
It may be tempting to phone a plumber right away to get an issue resolved quickly. But fixing plumbing problems can get pricey. And as a tenant, most major maintenance costs should be covered by your landlord. You may be wondering, can I call a plumber and charge my landlord for the costs?
When the plumbing goes, who should you call?
Generally, as a rental tenant, you shouldn’t be hiring a plumber if issues come up with the plumbing system in your home. Your landlord has a history of maintaining your rental building and may already have pre-existing relationships with plumbers. It may also be a fairly quick fix that your building manager can handle on their own.
We here, at Plumbing and Heating Paramedics, have a company policy that we only work directly with landlords. You can call and our friendly staff will help you out, but we will need to speak directly with your landlord about purchasing our services.
Usually, when you have issues with your plumbing, the first call should be to your building manager or landlord. You can also check your residential tenancy agreement which should clearly outline what you are responsible for looking after and maintaining versus what the landlord must repair. Though the plumbing, wiring, heating, and building structures, such as doors, walls, ceilings, and floors, are usually the responsibility of the landlord.
Responsibilities for repairing and maintaining plumbing systems in rental homes
The Alberta Residential Tenancies Act and Public Health Act state that landlords must ensure that their rental apartment, suite, or house is habitable and meets certain standards at the beginning and throughout the tenancy period. This is defined as “reasonably safe and in good repair at all times”. Rental homes must be in compliance with all building, health, fire, and safety standards.
Landlords are responsible for maintaining the premises as per the Minimum Housing and Health Standards. This includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electric services. But this doesn’t take away from the tenant’s obligation to not cause damage to those systems.
Make sure to contact your landlord as soon as possible if you have problems with your water lines, sinks, bath, or shower. If you’re renting an apartment or house it’s your duty to notify your landlord within a reasonable amount of time of any repairs that are needed of your home.
It’s best to put all repair and maintenance requests in writing and make sure to date it. Keep one copy and give the other to your landlord or building manager. This ensures that you have a paper record in case there is a dispute.
Repair costs cannot be deducted from your rent, under the tenancies act, unless it’s agreed to in writing by both you and your landlord.
What can you do if your landlord is not responding?
It’s best to always resolve issues first with your landlord, but there can be instances where this is fraught or they are nonresponsive. In some cases, if you decide to make major repairs to your rental home or building systems, the court can order that tenant’s costs for repairing the home be compensated by the landlord.
If you have to pay for major repairs to your unit and your landlord has been unresponsive, you can apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) or court. You can apply to compensate for the cost of performing the landlord’s obligations, recover damages, or have the rent reduced to make up for any benefits the tenant has lost because the landlord didn’t carry out their obligations.
As a tenant, you also have the right to apply for a reduction in rent or to terminate a rental contract if the home isn’t up to safety and health standards.
Managing your home’s plumbing system
We have a team of highly trained professionals at Plumbing and Heating Paramedics who are able to provide innovative, high-standard solutions to plumbing and HVAC problems. We give you a range of options to fix your home’s problems and always have fast and dependable service delivered with a smile. Give us a call and you’ll be chatting with one of our friendly staff members live on the phone, even on Christmas day.
How do you manage plumbing issues in your home? Do you have any questions about acquiring plumbing services? We’d be happy to hear from you. Please write any questions, thoughts, suggestions, or inquiries in the comments section below.