Tenants nor reporting minor water leaks

7 Replies

This happened to me many times over. There would be a minor water leak, may be next to bathtub or under kitchen sink, but tenant never bothers to report that and by the time it was reported, it has damaged my cabinets, or worse my sub floors. I have no way of definitively connecting the dots (tenant ignored water leaks long enough) to charge the tenant. What would you do in these cases?

Video cameras in the bathroom are frowned on. ;)

Seriously, you need to make your rental tenant-proof because they're typically not smart enough to know that recurring water can damage things. Tell them up front - and put it in your lease - that they may be held responsible if they allow recurring water spills to cause damage. Then hold them to it.

Thanks for the reply @Nathan G. No, I won't put cameras in bathrooms :-) Don't want to go to jail :-) I can of course put moisture sensors there. That's the topic for a different day. 

I have trained most of my tenants to report water leaks. These are long term tenants (average stay > 5 years), so my properties are relatively stable. However, I wonder how it can be done with short term tenants as in apartments. 

Best you could do is regular inspections. Tenants how don't report it are either a) hiding something else they don't want you to see or b) just don't care because it doesn't affect them much at the time. Once the cabinet bottom falls out or water starts dripping from the ceiling on them while they sit on the couch, then its a emergency. Both a and b are addressed by inspecting the unit. Only way around it is to check regularly and document. 

I inherited a recluse tenant when I bought a property. I’ve seen him and talked to him once and that was on inspection day. I recently went in the unit a discovered water from shower head sprays all over walls and ceiling when on. It’s been like that for awhile apparently because ceiling is cracked and has mold all over it and the walls. Tenant has never said a word about it

I do inspections every 6 moths, and this is one of the items I check for.  I also have the following clause in my lease:

PLUMBING: You shall report all drips and leaks immediately to the Property Manager. You shall never pour cooking grease or other damaging/obstructing objects down toilets, sinks or drains. You are liable for all expenses or repairs resulting from the stopping of waste pipes or overflow from sinks, tubs, toilets, showers, washbasins or containers.

Originally posted by @Jason Vandermark :

Wesley W. I have a mold clause in mine which stats at the first sign of mold they need to contact. I can charge the tenant for the repairs however I don’t think they can pay.

 MOLD: You must take steps to limit the growth of mold in your apartment. This includes operating your heating and air-conditioning system as appropriate to reduce humidity, using appropriate ventilation, limiting evaporation of water, promptly removing any visible mold, and immediately reporting to us any leaks or other water intrusion into your apartment or any visible mold that you cannot remove. Household furniture must be positioned and/or elevated to allow adequate air flow underneath and between furnishings and adjacent walls.