As a tenant you are responsible for reporting maintenance issues to the real estate agent or landlord. In most cases the landlord will have to pay for the cost of repairs. But there are exceptions to this rule if you (the tenant) are found to be at fault or did not disclose the problem within a reasonable time. For this reason, dealing with your real estate agent when your shower is leaking should be your top priority.
When to Report a Leaking Shower
To avoid the risk of paying for costly repairs you should be aware of the various warning signs. Sometimes a shower can leak for several days, weeks, or even months before the signs are clear.
Here are the most common signs of a leaking shower to keep your eyes peeled for:
- Damp carpet
- Wet patches on the ceiling below the shower
- Chipping or flaking wallpaper
- Musty smell or odour
- Broken tile grout
- Mould or mildew growth
- Hard to open certain doors or windows
Once you notice any of these warning signs, dealing with your real estate agent is the next step as your shower is probably leaking.
Is a Leaking Shower or Bathroom an Emergency?
In the rental space there are two types of maintenance issues: urgent and non-urgent.
Whether or not a landlord has to respond immediately to a maintenance request depends on the type of problem. For example, a sudden power failure is of course a matter of urgency, but a broken cabinet handle can be dealt with later (for most states the time limit for non-urgent repairs is 14 days).
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 the law defines ‘a burst water service or a serious water service leak’ as an urgent repair job. Because water damage can be so devastating to a property – leaking showers and bathrooms are definitely an emergency.
Once you submit this type of maintenance request the real estate agent or landlord must respond immediately.
Who Pays for the Service?
In most cases the landlord will pay for the cost of repairs. But if the leak was a known issue and you did not report it earlier – you could be liable for payment.
What if you cannot get in touch with your estate agent? Or the landlord is slow to respond?
Depending on your tenancy agreement you may be able to arrange the service yourself and ask the landlord to reimburse you later. Before you do this, find out if your estate agent has an after-hours number you can call to report emergency maintenance issues.
Keep in mind, if the problem is found to be a known issue and you did not report it earlier, you may not be eligible for reimbursement. That’s why it’s important to deal with your real estate agent when your shower is leaking.