No property is immune to the possibility of damaging water leaks, though there are many things that landlords and tenants can do to protect their property from leaks. Water leaks can be caused by seemingly innocuous activities like disposing food waste or cooking oil in your kitchen sink, causing the drain to back up. While they may often seem harmless, water leaks can cause major damage to your property and can even affect other units in an apartment complex or condominium, as well as shared spaces enjoyed by all tenants. It’s important for landlords and tenants to work together in order to effectively eliminate existing water leaks, and take proactive measures to ensure that future leaks don’t happen.
Why are water leaks a problem?
While most leaks aren’t necessarily catastrophic in nature, they can quickly become very costly for both landlords and tenants. Leaks caused by a leaky toilet, bathtub/shower, or a dishwasher can quietly drive your water bill through the roof in addition to the many damages that can be caused by a consistent water leak. These leaks can cause damage to personal property as well as to the unit itself, causing walls and flooring to rot, promoting the growth of mold, and requiring you to replace appliances. Irreplaceable and sentimental personal items can be especially susceptible to water damage, and as such will not be able to be easily replaced.
Who is responsible for water leaks?
Unless a tenant can prove that water leaks in their unit are being caused by a landlord’s inaction or negligence, tenants will often be responsible for paying for damages caused by water leaks. Not only can leaks cost hundreds of dollars in your water bill, but they often demand costly repairs to the essential infrastructure of a unit such as flooring, walls, other units, and common areas. Personal items, too, are not the responsibility of landlords unless the tenant can prove that they’re at fault. With responsibility being especially difficult to prove, it’s best that tenants and landlords work together to eliminate the possibility of water leaks.
Common reasons for water leaks
There are many reasons that can cause water leaks to occur, including your bathtub overflow gasket or shower drain gasket being worn down or torn, food being improperly disposed in your kitchen sink causing the drain to back up, toilet overflow valve failure, and the malfunction or improper use of home appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. More serious causes of leaks include kitchen pipes bursting, improperly positioned laundry hoses, and a toilet supply line failure.
Measures you can take to avoid water leaks
Taking proactive measures is the best way to avoid the threat of water leaks – landlords should discuss how tenants can avoid leaks, and what to do when a leak is discovered. Leaks can be avoided by using appliances as instructed, especially when it comes to waste disposal, and the amount of soap/fluid used in washing machines and dishwashers. It’s recommended to have annual inspections by a certified plumber, who will test toilets, showers, bathtubs, sinks, and laundry hoses to ensure that everything is performing as it should be, and that valves, supply lines, faucets, and pipes are in proper condition and contain no leaks or tears.
What to do in the event of a water leak to avoid damage
Tenants should be instructed to immediately contact their landlord or property management company in the event of a water leak. Immediate action by both the tenant and landlord will minimize potential damage to personal property and ensure that leaks are dealt with before the unit itself can sustain damage. It’s important to refrain from doing work that requires the experience and expertise of a licensed plumber to ensure that repairs are conducted professionally. Regularly inspecting for abnormalities in toilets, sinks, and appliances is also recommended – if anything seems out of the ordinary, report it to the landlord immediately.
Toronto property management companies like HighGate Properties have years of dealing with water leaks of all shapes and sizes. Our experienced team of property management experts work to identify and eliminate the source of water leaks immediately, saving you from dealing with the fallout of catastrophic damages that are often part and parcel with water leaks. For more information about the Toronto property management and real estate services offered by the team at HighGate Properties, contact us today.