Are you moving out of your parent’s house and into your first apartment? If this is the first time you’ve lived on your own, take a look at what you need to know about renting and your new home’s plumbing system.
Who Is Responsible for Repairs?
It’s your landlord’s duty to make sure your apartment is habitable. This means the home must have working basics—such as heat and plumbing. While specific laws vary by state, most require the landlord to maintain working plumbing inside of the building. This includes the condition of the pipes, toilets, sinks, and other related fixtures.
Even though your landlord needs to ensure habitability, some repairs may not fall under their legal responsibility. Depending on your state’s laws and the specific lease, you may need to pay for some types of damage. If you, a roommate, or a guest damages the plumbing system purposefully or fails to maintain it properly, the landlord could hold you responsible.
Should You Repair Your Plumbing Problems Yourself?
Plumbing repairs don’t happen instantly. It’s tempting to DIY your way out of a plumbing dilemma while you wait for your landlord’s contractor to arrive and correct the issue. Even though some plumbing repairs may seem simple, failure to properly fix problems can result in serious issues that cause more damage—costing the landlord extra money.
Caution is key when it comes to do-it-yourself repairs. Instead of tackling the backed-up toilet or attempting to install a new bathroom faucet, leave these (and all other plumbing jobs) to the professionals.
Talk to your landlord about their expected procedure for notification in the event of a plumbing problem. The landlord may have a contractor they already work with or they may allow you to call a plumber and submit an invoice later.
How Should You Maintain the Rental’s Plumbing?
While the landlord is responsible for repairs and some maintenance, you can do your part to make sure wear-related issues don’t happen. How can you help your new rental’s plumbing stay in top shape? Simple maintenance steps include:
- Caring for the drains. Never rinse grease, oil, or any other similar clogging material down the kitchen or bathroom drains. Avoid overfilling the toilet with paper and never flush feminine hygiene products.
- Look and listen for leaks. A dripping faucet is obvious. But some leaks may hide from sight. Listen for the sound of water when the apartment is quiet.
- Report problems immediately. Let the landlord know about leaks, clogged toilets, and any other plumbing problems as soon as possible.
Ask the landlord about specific types of maintenance they require. This may mean inspecting the plumbing components regularly or hiring a professional (typically at the landlord’s expense) to maintain the system.
What Plumbing Tools Do You Need?
In general—none. Again, plumbing repairs are best left to the professionals. But there are some minor fixes you may need to do yourself.
Even though a major drain back-up requires an expert’s help, minor toilet clogs are easy for the renter to handle on their own. A toilet plunger can typically take care of this type of issue. If the clog is deep or the cause goes beyond a paper blockage, you may need to the landlord to contact a plumber to snake the drain and correct the problem.
Most home improvement and hardware stores sell plumbing snakes for homeowner/renter use. While these may seem like easy DIY devices, only a professional should attempt to repair a drain with a pipe snake. These tools are challenging for the novice to use correctly and can cause serious damage (to either the person using it or to the plumbing system).
Do you need help with a plumbing problem in your new apartment? Contact Two Men and a Snake for more information.