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Landlord's Responsibility?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ok so my sister lives in a rented apartment. Their kitchen sink and bathroom sink don't drain. The kitchen sink is barely usuable. After they finally got in touch with the landlord he told them they have to pay for their own plumber because usually the sink and toilets clogging is the tenants fault. I don't know much about the landlord situation as I have never had one. But I thought they were responsible for fixing things like that.
post #2 of 15
We're the supers for our apartment building, and I can tell you that is most definitely something we would (and do) deal with. It's up to the landlords to pay for plumbing, electricians etc. Things have got to work.
If it was clear that the tenant had obviously done something to damage the drain outside of normal use, then they could take issue and make the tenant pay for it.
That landlord doesn't sound reasonable to me. He should be wanting his property to be well maintained, and you don't let things like that slide because they have a tendency to get waaay worse in a hurry.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
It took them several weeks to get in touch with him. He lives out of town and doesn't answer his cell and doesn't get back to them after they leave a message. They had to send a letter with the rent check.
post #4 of 15
If that were me, I'd be tempted to call in a plumber and tell him to bill it to LL's address.
post #5 of 15
Maybe they should call the plumber and if it's their own fault, so be it - BUT if it wasn't their fault, send the receipt (with full discription of the source) as part of the rent.
post #6 of 15
Usually it is the landlords responsibility. Unless the plumber finds the reason is something the renterds did like stick a toy or something down the drain that wouldnt normally be there. But if they just find hair and normal stuff then yes landlord shoud pay for it that would be considered normal wear and tear.
post #7 of 15
It's almost always the landlord's responsibility -- a lot of service companies won't accept calls from tenants, because they don't own the property that the company would be working on. (I know this because I used to work for a heating and air conditioning company; we would NEVER take a job unless the landlord or superintendent called it in.) Plumbers, electricians and HVAC repairmen also run into the issue of not getting paid when the tenants call the service order in: the tenants will claim it's the landlord's responsibility to pay because it's their property, but the landlord can say "well, I didn't ask to have this service done, so I'm not going to pay for it."

I suppose it varies from place to place (and I'm in southwestern Ontario, btw), so I'd check with local tenants' rights. However, I'm pretty sure that regardless of where you live, you have the right to clean-running water.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat
Maybe they should call the plumber and if it's their own fault, so be it - BUT if it wasn't their fault, send the receipt (with full discription of the source) as part of the rent.
I think they should do this. The last placed I rented the landlord was a real slum lord and never fixed anything. I would ask him to fix them and he said he would but never did. So I had someone else do the repairs and I included a copy of the invoice and then took it off the rent.

Just make sure she keeps all the original invoices and recipets.
post #9 of 15
Have your sister check the lease agreement. If she is suppose to pay for her own plumbing, etc it'll say in there.

Otherwise if its not mentioned, I would do what Rockcat suggested.
post #10 of 15
When in doubt always refer back to your lease. Your landlord has to do what it says, even if it's "your fault" the sink or plumbing is clogged.
post #11 of 15
The landlord is responsible.
post #12 of 15
Your sis's landlord is responsible. If it is the tenants' fault, then he can issue a warning along with a letter of opinion from the plumber. Your sis needs to create a paper trail documenting the attempts to get the landlord to address the situation promptly.IF he fails to act, then she can hire a plumber; she may have to pay the full rent and get written permission to deduct the cost of repairs for the following month. OR she can deduct the cost of the repairs and deposit it into a separate savings account at the bank (which might trigger legal issues, and wind up costing more), or she can sue for the repairs in small claims court. She probably should consult the local bar association for tenant's rights groups in your area and see what they suggest, as they will be most familiar with local laws and procedures. Good luck!
post #13 of 15
Has she tried fixing it herself though? You know, using the recommended amount of Drano or a drain snake (both pretty inexpensive). I know the landlord is supposed to take care of everything, but if I can fix it myself I usually do. We had slow drains, but I used some drano and then it was fine. She probably has, but you didn't mention it....

I know my lease says I am not allowed to withhold rent for any reason. So she should check what it says about that.

Is your sister in college? Many schools have a lawyer for their students to use in landlord/tenant disputes, or at least a legal clinic or something. Also, she should make sure to file complaints with whoever deals with them locally about how bad he's been at responding about anything.
post #14 of 15
I had the sick clogged once and the toilet clogged once. Both times the landlord paid $20 and I paid $20.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phenomsmom
Ok so my sister lives in a rented apartment. Their kitchen sink and bathroom sink don't drain. The kitchen sink is barely usuable. After they finally got in touch with the landlord he told them they have to pay for their own plumber because usually the sink and toilets clogging is the tenants fault. I don't know much about the landlord situation as I have never had one. But I thought they were responsible for fixing things like that.
This is what I had to do in college: We had a townhouse that didn't have heat on the second floor, and had gone to the landlord many times about the same issue. My roommate and I called the city and asked what we had to do to complain about him. What ended up happening is that we had to pay into an escrow account every month when the rent was due, the city in turn sent out a building inspector to take a look at the problems that we were having. They wrote up a work order for our landlord and wouldn't give him our rent unless he made the changes. The landlord couldn't evict us because we were paying our rent into the escrow account. Now, the landlord HATED us for doing this to him, because it gave him some sort of "black mark", but I had heat in my apartment.

The moral of the story, have your sister check with the city about setting this kind of thing up, and have her tell the landlord that that is what she is doing. I can almost guarantee that she'll have a plumber over sometime next week.
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