Who Pays For Plumbing Problem? Landlord or Tenant?

September 10, 2010

Landlord Tenant Relations

Who Pays For Plumbing Problem?  Landlord or Tenant?

Q: Recently the toilet in my apartment overflowed. The water poured out all over the bathroom and even into a couple of adjacent rooms. I contacted the manager and he sent out a plumber and a flood control company. The plumber lanlord tenant plumbing problemcleared the blockage and reported that he found a large nail clipper and some small batteries in the line from the toilet. The flood control company extracted the water and I had to put up with large noisy air blowers to dry everything out for three days.

Now the manager is telling me that the toilet backup is my fault and he expects me to pay $650 for the plumber and flood control company. I admit that the items were mine, but I don’t know how they got into the toilet. I am sure it was an accident.

Can the manager make me pay for this? I can’t afford to pay for this. I feel that I should be compensated for the inconvenience.

A: If the blockage was caused by items that found their way into the toilet from your unit in the professional opinion of the plumber, then you are responsible. The fact that you believe the items got there accidentally does not matter unless the manager and owner want to make an exception. However, a $650 expense is not something that most landlords are willing to absorb for carelessness by a tenant.

lanlord tenant plumbing problemCertainly you were inconvenienced by the water extraction efforts. But again, this was all caused by a situation that the landlord didn’t create.

This is an expensive lesson but I expect you will be extra careful to make sure that nothing falls into the toilet accidentally in the future. You might want to approach the manager and see if the owner will allow you to pay the $650 over a couple of months.

By Robert Griswold, Thursday, September 9, 2010.

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