Tenant or Landlord – Who’s Responsible for Plumbing Repairs in Ottawa?
Landlords are in property ownership because they want to make money.
Unfortunately, property rentals often require costly repairs and maintenance and can lead to arguments between landlords and tenants regarding the financial obligation and responsibilities of both parties.
According to The Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord must keep a rental property in a good state of repair. Anything that the landlord provides to the tenant must be kept in working order.
- Electrical, plumbing, or heating systems
- Carpets in the unit or common areas
- Walls, roofs, and ceilings
- Windows, doors, locks, lighting
- Garages, laundry rooms, patios, walkways, or pools
If something no longer works due to normal wear and tear or because it breaks or wears out, it is the landlords’ responsibility to repair it so that it again works properly, or to replace it with something that provides the same functionality.
What can I do if my landlord won’t repair what’s broken in the rental unit?
When something requires a repair and is the responsibility of the landlord, you must first report it to the landlord.
If they don’t repair it, you can:
- Report the problem to the local government
- File a Tenant Application about Maintenance (form T6) with the Landlord and Tenant Board
- Or do both
From there, you can request a rent abatement, an order to the landlord to repair or replace something by a certain date, allow the tenant to repair or replace something paid with expenses covered by the landlord, order the landlord to pay the tenant for any work the tenant completed, end the tenancy, etc.
Exceptions – When the tenant must pay for repairs
A landlord is only responsible for repairs and replacements when the items in question are failing due to normal usage.
When it comes to plumbing, for example, leaks due to regular wear and tear are the landlord’s obligation.
However, damage caused by tenants that are not considered normal usage are the responsibility of the tenant.
For example, if you hung something from the pipes in the basement and the pipe broke, that’s not considered normal usage. The tenant would be on the line for these expenses.
Even if the damage is caused by an accident or by a guest, it doesn’t matter. The landlord is only responsible if the repair is related to normal wear and tear. If it’s anything outside of that, the tenant is responsible.
It’s important to note…
That tenants must continue to pay rent during these issues and disagreements. Even if you think that your landlord doesn’t deserve rent because he hasn’t repaired your faucet or drains, you can’t withhold rent because your landlord may apply to evict you.
Under some circumstances, tenants can pay rent to the Landlord and Tenant Board instead of the landlord while the application is being processed. However, a tenant must not assume anything and must protect themselves from eviction by paying the rent on time as agreed upon in your tenant agreement.
Our Advice To Tenants
Learn what proper usage of plumbing fixtures means.
Some disputes with landlords will fall into a grey area because the cause of the issue may be debatable.
A common issue we see when drain cleaning is all kinds of trash stuck in the drains that don’t belong there. If you’re flushing garbage and wipes down the drains and this results in clogs, this isn’t normal wear and tear.
It’s unfair to go after landlords because you failed to use the provided equipment properly. And, if your landlord fights, they’re not wrong!
Our Advice To Landlords
Many service providers offer loyalty plans to help reduce the cost of repairs and maintenance. At John The Plumber, for example, we offer The Peace of Mind Plumbing Program. For $12.99/month, members benefit from many things like discounts, waived fees, free inspections, and more.
Landlords who sign up for our loyalty agreement are covered for all their properties. For example, if you own one property or ten, you’ll only pay $12.99/month.
Whether you’re a landlord or a homeowner…
We hope that you’ll call John The Plumber when you need an Ottawa plumber!
We’re available 7 days a week for fast, friendly, and reliable plumbing repairs and services!