General Question

rawpixels's avatar

My toilet broke...should my landlord pay for the repair?

Asked by rawpixels (2650 points ) December 31st, 2010

Ok, last night my toilet broke and I needed to call a plumber to fix it right away. The repair cost $250 for labor and parts. The question is, should my landlord pay the bill? She’s incredibly cheap and she’ll flip out when I tell her, but I don’t think it’s my responsibility. What do you think?

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21 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

I think that she is responsible depending on the circumstances. We too had lanlords that didn’t always pay for repairs, or waited for months before fixing something. Talk to her about ti, and for now, get some more fibre in your diet.

JLeslie's avatar

Probably she is responsible, unless it is in your lease that she isn’t. $250 sounds high. Is it the only bathroom in your apartment? If there is a disagreement over this, I would definitely talk to her aout what tp do next time something like this happens so you are both on the same page.

If I were the landlord I would pay for it, but I would be annoyed if I was charged more because it was treated like an emergency, if it was not necessary to do so. Obviously, if it is your only toilet in the house, or it is flooding it is an emergency. I also would want my tenant to call me first.

Many landlords have a service contract so tenants can just call the phone number and no fees are incurred.

YARNLADY's avatar

If our tenant called without our knowledge or permission, we would be very unhappy, because we have a plumber on contract, and they only charge $50 per visit, plus parts.

rawpixels's avatar

@JLeslie
The thing is, I don’t have a lease. It’s technically an illegal apartment. I’ve been living here for over 13 years and have been a very good tenant. I agree that $250 is pretty steep, but it was an emergency. I was going to call my landlord first, but it was late and I didn’t want to wake her up. She’s not very young. Maybe, I’ll just pay for it myself and not bother.

JLeslie's avatar

@rawpixels If you have been there that many years, I think she will probably pay for it. You actually legally live there, unless you are illegally in the country. So whether or not she is legally responsible depends on your state’s law regarding the matter. Typically she would have to provide a working toilet as a landlord, so she would be responsible. If she thinks the price sounds way too high, or she feels you handled the situation poorly, you can always offer a compromise. Maybe $150? Or, whatever you think is fair, if you don’t want to worry about a legal struggle.

Seelix's avatar

@JLeslie pretty much said what I was going to say. I’d suggest telling her about what happened, and if she doesn’t seem willing to pay, offer to pay for some of it yourself.

jazmina88's avatar

i would call the landlord in the middle of the night and have them call their people.

Hope the compromise works. Had some bad landlords before.

mammal's avatar

Depends on your relationship with the Landlod, if it is good and they are fair, you might want to mention it but not insist they pay, if they are mean then you could potentially force them to pay, legally. At least some of the costs.

marinelife's avatar

You should always call the landlord no matter what time of night. You shoud always let the landlord select how the repair is made.

I would approach the landlord about what happened, but be prepared to pay all or some of the repair bill yourself. You did not handle it correctly.

Meego's avatar

I agree about always calling the landlord, he/she may not be young but, if they thought so they would not be the landlord. At any rate as long as your not calling at all hours every night I do not think your landlord would of minded. And as stated before maybe she could of got a better deal with her “plumber” than what you got. If anything she could be more upset at the fact that it cost you 250$ when she might have been able to get a major discount. If that’s the case I say ask her if she would pay her normal rate while you pay whatever is leftover. Cause in reality you should of called her first it’s her place her choice on how and who gets it fixed, unless you have to call 911…that’s an emergency.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I would have to think that the cost of $250 comes more from getting a plumber to come at night, than the actual cost of the repair. Was water running all over the floor, which whould have caused damage to the apartment itself? If so, then the need for repair was truly immediate, and it should be explained as such.

jca's avatar

I agree with @marinelife that you should have called your LL first. If it’s in the middle of the night, whatever time it is, that is a responsibility one takes on when one becomes a landlord. I am wondering what was wrong with toilet that it could not have waited until morning. Did it not flush? could that not have waited until morning? was it leaking terribly? could you not put a pan under the leak? those are the things i think the landlord may ask, because i don’t think she’ll be happy that it was handled this way. Normally I would say yes, the landlord is responsible for all repairs to a tenant’s unit, and she is technically responsible for all repairs, however, you are kind of in a tough spot because you paid the bill yourself first and you did not inform her prior to calling plumber.

john65pennington's avatar

How can you be living there illegaly?

jca's avatar

i am guessing illegal apartment.

cazzie's avatar

Well, if it’s an illegal / non official place of residence, you can’t exactly take her to the tenancy tribunal (or whatever that is in your area). As far as I understand it, drains are the tenants problem when it comes to just blockages that come from use. The landlord needs to supply plumbing in working condition. If your apartment isn’t up to code enough to be a legal place to rent out, you might be missing the the working plumbing in the first place.

So…. you really don’t have any rights there. I’d call her and tell her what happened and what you did and what the plumber did. The rest is up to her, if she feels obliged to pay you back.

Axemusica's avatar

I’m having a hard time imagining anything other than actually buying a new toilet costing $250. What was wrong with your toilet?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’m curious about this, same as @Axemusica. How did you ‘break’ a toilet?

Don917's avatar

In a Landlord/Tennant relationship it is your responsibility to put the property owner on notice of a needed repair before you attempt to repair it yourself. If it is an urgent repair ( only toilet in the unit ) then a late night call is justified. Only if the Landlord was unreachable, then a resonable expence to prevent bodily injury or property damage would be justified. The repair should be first authorized by the property owner or the expence becomes an legally ( in most jurisdictions ) unreinburseable donation to your Landlord.

Don917's avatar

PS, for & $250 did the plumber use GOLD plated fittings ?????

jca's avatar

@Axemusica: the $250 was partially toward the cost of having the plumber come on an emergency basis, which may have cost $150 in itself. when you call a plumber in the middle of the night, they see dollar signs. It would be interesting for the OP to answer the questions about what was so drastic that he needed a plumber to fix a toilet in the middle of the night. Unless leaking so much all over the floor in a way that could not be contained with a bucket under the leak, i can’t see why fixing a toilet would have to be done in the middle of the night. Even if leaking really bad, toilets have a shut off valve underneath where you can turn the water off.

Don917's avatar

Some tenants are not very fit-it oriented, and may not know how to shut off the water, or even have a screw driver or pliers to their name. And some service providers may take advantage of this, so again notice to the property owner is of paramount importance.

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