When you’re renting a condo, knowing who’s responsible for specific repairs and tasks (landlord or tenant) can be confusing and downright frustrating. Most people in today’s society aren’t aware of the rights of tenants and landlords, nor are they familiar with areas of the law dealing with property maintenance. One of the biggest “gray areas” is condo plumbing. Who is responsible for fixing it if something goes wrong? Who pays for it? What parts are you, as a tenant, expected to deal with? Two parties are responsible for everything to do with your condo:

#1: Landlord

Most people already know that a landlord must make every condo habitable for living. During the rental period, a landlord is responsible for the following: 

  • Must repair any potential damages that would make the space uninhabitable (like dealing with mold)
  • Must provide waterproofing
  • Must provide weather protection for the roof and exterior walls, including windows and doors
  • Hot and cold running water must be provided and connected to a sewage disposal system
  • All plumbing facilities must be functional
  • Must provide: toilet, washbasin, bathtub or shower.
  • The bathroom must be ventilated and closed for privacy
  • The kitchen must have a sink and cannot be made of absorbent materials like wood 

#2: Tenants

Here is where most people get a surprise; however, it may seem pretty obvious when you break it down. Tenants are responsible for: 

  • Using and operating gas properly
  • Using the electrical fixtures properly (not overloading outlets with too many plugs etc)
  • Proper use of the plumbing 

It seems pretty straight forward, right? Don’t plug 30 things into a single outlet. Don’t turn your gas oven on and leave it. Don’t flush a pillow down the toilet. Correct. But what about that bacon grease in the pan when you’re in a hurry and you happen to just dump it down the sink… a couple of times? Or what about dropping something like a tampon in the toilet and just flushing it instead? Or just leaving your shower drains open and never cleaning them? These are all things that the tenant is expected to not do. You’re expected to keep the condo clean and functional. If something goes wrong and a plumber is called and it turns out someone accidentally flushed a pair of knickers down the toilet, guess who’s going to be paying for the bill? 

While a landlord is expected to make sure that everything in the condo is up and running well, it’s the tenant’s job to make sure that you take care of it. If you loaned your car to a friend and they gave it backfilled with garbage, no gas, and a few scrapes, you would want them to take responsibility for it and fix the damage. In the same way, if they borrowed it and something with the engine broke down, you wouldn’t expect them to pay to get it fixed if they didn’t cause it. The same basic principle applies here as it does to condo plumbing. If someone in the condo above you overflows their bathtub and it causes flood damage in your condo, you are not responsible for the plumbing repairs (but the people above you might be!) 

So before you put down cash for any place, it’s important to read up on all that you as a tenant will be expected to do and discuss it with your potential landlord. When it comes to your condo plumbing, it’s better to be safe than sorry!