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Who’s supposed to pay the plumber? The tenant or the landlord?

Does the toilet in your apartment get backed up often? Is the washbasin drain clogged? Do you know the situations in which the landlord has to pay the plumber? Even though you don’t own your apartment, it’s your responsibility to take care of minor repairs, such as replacing seals and screws, at your own expense. However, when it comes to problems caused by plumbing malfunctions (like stopped up toilets or clogged sinks), the landlord is the one responsible for paying the fees. In fact, the landlord is obligated to pay for general maintenance on the apartment, including the inevitable repairs that become necessary as a result of normal wear and tear.

But be careful! If the damage is the result of negligence on your part as the tenant, the costs will be passed on to you. This would be the case, for example, if a pipe leaks or becomes clogged as a result of work you performed on it, yourself. You should be aware that any repair or maintenance work that is performed on a rental unit must always be approved beforehand by the landlord.

What are your responsibilities as a tenant?

As a tenant, you’re obligated to maintain the apartment in good condition. This includes the plumbing system! According to the Civil Code of Quebec, the obligations of the tenant toward the landlord include the following:

  • To use the property with prudence and diligence (CCQ Article 1855)
  • To make necessary repairs to the leased property in certain cases (CCQ Article 1864)
  • To allow urgent and necessary repairs to be made (CCQ Article 1865)
  • To inform the lessor of any serious defect or deterioration (CCQ Article 1866)

Under what circumstances does the landlord have to pay the plumber?

The landlord must assume responsibility for any repairs that are essential or urgent, unless the damage was caused by negligence on the part of the tenant. Urgent repairs include significant damage (e.g. a serious leak in the plumbing) that prevents the apartment from being used or maintained as it should.

Here are a few examples of situations in which the landlord must pay the plumber:

  • When the damage occurs after the lease agreement has been signed, but is the result of improper maintenance on the part of the landlord
  • When the damage is the result of faulty construction or a natural disaster
  • When the damage is caused by the breakdown of the plumbing system (the landlord is responsible for the cost, as it’s the landlord’s duty to ensure that the apartment for rent is in compliance with current regulations)
  • When the plumbing problem existed before the lease was signed, but wasn’t discovered by the tenant until afterwards

What to do in the event of a lawsuit

Do you have a problem with your water pressure or your water heater and your landlord is refusing to assume the cost of the repairs? Don’t risk withholding your rent payment hoping to pressure your landlord, as you’ll be breaking the law by doing so. The best recourse is to build a solid case with all of the necessary proof that the damage wasn’t caused through any fault of your own.

Should the tenant or the landlord call the plumber?

Since the plumber generally needs the landlord’s authorization to perform the work, it’s recommended that the landlord should be the one to call the plumber. Obviously, in the case of urgent repairs, the tenant may call the plumber, but the plumber must be given the landlord’s contact information.

Experienced plumber in Montreal

Are you looking for a competent plumber to unclog your pipes, perform preventive maintenance on your plumbing system or perform any type of repairs? The team of experts at Plomberie Roger Chayer has been offering quick, courteous service for more than 70 years. We also provide 24-hour emergency service. Contact us for a free estimate!

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