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Who’s pipeline is it anyway? Your plumbing responsibilities

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Plumbing problems can happen in all kinds of homes and properties, and when you’re renting, it can be unclear whose job it is to get the issue addressed – yours or your landlord’s? The answer depends on the circumstances, and any pre-arranged agreements you’ve made with the property owner.

Likewise, when it comes to general maintenance and caring for the pipelines and plumbing assets, there will be different levels of responsibility between you and your landlord. 

Below we’ve detailed whose job it is to deal with different plumbing responsibilities so you know how to handle your pipes and what to do if a situation arises. 

Tenant plumbing responsibilities 

First things first – what is your role when it comes to your pipes and plumbing? 

Before you got the keys to your home, you would have signed a Residential Tenancy Agreement that outlined your obligations and the plumbing responsibilities for issues that arise during your rental period. This may differ depending on the property owner or real estate you’re renting from, but there are a few obligations that will remain relatively consistent. 

Taking care to prevent damage

While it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure a property is safe for you to move into, it is your job to keep the property in working order and maintain functional aspects. This means taking care of your plumbing to prevent issues from arising.  Don’t flush or wash anything down drains and toilets that could cause blockages, clean out your gutters to prevent build-ups, and generally keep things clean. 

Not making alterations or updates 

As a renter, you are not able to alter or make additions to your plumbing without approval. For example, if you want to change the configuration of your bathroom and install new fixtures, you absolutely cannot do so unless the landlord has given explicit consent. 

Repairing issues you’ve directly caused 

If any plumbing damage is directly caused by your actions or the actions of a guest, you will generally be responsible for fixing it. You can call in a professional plumber to help you with this.  

However, you should know your rights so you aren’t made to be responsible for things that aren’t your fault. Damage that is not considered your responsibility includes: 

  • burglaries
  • natural events 
  • fair wear and tear

Reporting damage  

Whenever you become aware of plumbing damage, you need to inform the landlord as soon as possible – even if you were the cause of the damage. If left too long, the problem can worsen and you may be forced to pay the full cost of repairs since the delay caused the issue to snowball. 

Landlord plumbing responsibilities 

Now, what are the landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to plumbing? As noted above, a lot of this will be outlined in your Residential Tenancy Agreement. However, it helps to understand the general standard so you aren’t made responsible for things that aren’t on you.  

Emergencies 

Fixing an emergency plumbing issue is the landlord’s responsibility. Examples of an emergency include: 

  • Burst or severely leaking pipes 
  • Broken or blocked toilets 
  • Gas leaks 
  • Roof leaks 
  • Storm, fire, or impact damage 
  • Flooding 
  • Damaged water cylinders. 

If any of these occur, you should inform your landlord or real estate manager ASAP. If things go wrong after hours, you will likely need to reach out to a plumbing professional directly just to get the issues addressed as quickly as possible. In this case, you may be required to pay the initial expense, but you should be reimbursed by your landlord or real estate agent. 

Maintenance

Not all damage will be considered an emergency. However, if there are plumbing assets that are suffering from wear and tear, it is still the landlord’s responsibility to get them fixed. If there is a leak, issues in water pressure, or a slowly draining sink, you should let them know and they will action repairs. And, if pipes are on the older side, they should be conducting regular maintenance so it doesn’t become an emergency down the track. 

Addressing issues quickly 

We outlined above that it is your job to promptly tell your landlord when there is a problem. Well, it is your landlord’s job to act quickly when they know there is an issue. It is your right as a tenant to reside in a house with safe and operational plumbing, so they need to ensure everything is in working order as fast as possible.  

Fulfill your plumbing responsibilities with Allen Plumbing & Gas 

Got an issue that needs repairing quickly? Waiting for your landlord to address an issue that’s taking forever? Have an emergency that needs addressing NOW? Call Allen Plumbing & Gas to help. We’ll use our expertise to get everything in peak condition, and if the responsibility isn’t on you, your landlord can reimburse you once we’ve completed the job. 

Talk to us today.

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