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Thread: Email from landlord about bathtub leaking to condo below

  1. #1

    Question Email from landlord about bathtub leaking to condo below

    Hi all,

    I received an email from my landlord informing me of a few "minor glitches" in the plumbing system. This email comes 24 days after we moved in. She knew about these problems and is mentioning them now. I am wondering how the condo passed inspection if these things are wrong, how serious these issues are and what, if anything should be done. Below is the excerpt from the email. Thank you in advance for any input.

    In the bathtub, on the bottom of the metal thing that has the lever to operate the plug for taking a bath, there is a hole for overflow. I don't know if this is like a flaw in the condo, or if this is a flaw in construction in general, but the overflow doesn't go into a pipe. If you let water go into the hole, it ends up on the downstairs neighbor's ceiling. I know this because I took a bath once and they were knocking on my door and ringing the doorbell like crazy. There was no damage, but I can only assume that the more something like that happens, the more likely damage is going to be.

    The other thing is in the basement, on the left side of the laundry tub, there is a shut off valve. This shouldn't be a problem for you because you live in the high part of the community, but apparently if there is like a huge thaw and the ground gets soppy, water can come up through the pipe and into the laundry tub. I have never seen it happen, but I tried to close the drain when I knew there might be a problem. The problem with that is that if you forget that it's closed and do laundry, you'll flood the basement (I've done that twice) and it's a lot of water and a huge pain. After the floods, I tried to either leave myself a note or I would put the strainer thing from the washer into the laundry tub to remind me that something was amiss. I am not telling you that you have to do it, but it's a good idea, if you can remember to undo it after!
    I am upset that these things were not mentioned earlier. I am also wondering how the bathtub was made and no pipe attached for the overflow. Kinda a big thing to overlook!

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

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    None of it makes a lot of sense, just reading it. Maybe you need to have the landlord send a plumber over to fix things so they do not overflow or leak if you forget some of the instructions in the E-mail.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    On Albemarle Sound In Northeastern NC


    All of this should have been disclosed to you prior to signing a lease.
    Demand that your landlord have this fixed properly by a licensed plumber before you get inadvertantly involved in any kind of legal situation regarding damages from your downstairs neighbor!
    Good Luck!

  4. #4


    Thank you for your responses. I agree that this definitely should have been mentioned to us. I am very upset that it was not, especially since we asked a LOT of questions before moving in and she had ample opportunity to inform us of this.

    We'll be seeking legal counsel to break the lease this week.

  5. #5
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Are you responsible for repairs to your unit?

  6. #6


    I believe we are responsible for repairs during our time in the unit if we are responsible for damage. This is a plumbing issue. This is far beyond what a tenant would be responsible for.

  7. #7


    I live in the Northeast, and maybe things are different elsewhere, but here it is illegal to write a lease where the tenant is responsible utility repairs. Even if this was written into your lease it only invalidates that portion of the lease, not necessarily the whole lease.

    Also, I don't think your claims will allow you to nullify your lease. However her email is proof that she is already aware of these problems. As already suggested I would respond in a registered letter her asking her to repair both of those problems. If she does, great. If she doesn't your covered and its not your problem (Considering its a utility problem I don't think it would have ever been your problem anyway, but maybe laws are different elsewhere. If you are consulting a local attorney anyway ask about this).

  8. #8
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Before getting all crazy maybe just send back a nice friendly e-mail inquiring...
    "when is the plumber coming to fix these problems?"

  9. #9
    Plunger/TurdPuncher kingsotall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ Sitting on an upside down 5 gallon bucket next to the GO 68HD


    In these neck of the woods (and trust me it is the woods) a property manager will hold the tenant responsible for plumber costs for clogged drains if it's attributable to the tenant. Without a DNA test kit I guess it's kinda hard to see whose hair clogged the drain.

  10. #10
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold


    Kondo vs. Kondo movie, coming soon.

    The Condo Association (they have elected a board of directors from amongst themselves) must be informed immediately, and all the condo owners (i.e. the entire Condo Association) must pay for this and have it done immediately.

    I have been in condos since 1987.

    This is massive. It's a common-area problem, not an individual owner's problem. It is easier to fix than to deal with the human side of getting it fixed, if the Condo Board people can't figure out how serious this is.

    Don't blame the ignorant owner. They just don't understand the scale.

    Last edited by geniescience; 10-27-2008 at 01:31 PM.

  11. #11


    Thanks everyone for the responses! I especially enjoyed the comment about the DNA test!

    I spoke with a legal advisor today to see how it is best to proceed. We requested that the landlord have a licensed plumber come in to fix the tub as well as a home/health inspector come in to check for mold growth.

    If this can't be done, we will request premature termination of the lease or rent reduction.

    If the Condo Association is responsible for repairing these things, we're in for a long haul. The association raised such a stink about my service animal (I'm hearing impaired) that is was ridiculous.

    Oi vey. Thanks for all the responses! Glad to hear people agree that this is at least a problem.

  12. #12


    Now you got them ... their are laws to protect you from discrimination with housing, I have a niece who is blind and deaf, and I would rip someone's head off and hand it to them, for her.

  13. #13

    Exclamation update re: landlord

    Hi everyone. Landlord clearly sought legal counsel. We got an email today saying that nothing is a violation of the Warranty of Habitability and that she has no duty to repair anything. She then changed her story and wrote that the "so called flood" was small and could be wiped up with a towel! What about the previous tenants who flooded the basement due to the faulty plumbing??
    Additionally, since we are still able to take a shower, she won't be fixing the tub. The downstairs neighbor, upon hearing of the problem, recounted how they had to repair a water stain on the ceiling. Won't they be thrilled to hear it could happen again!
    I think we should call the health and building inspector ourselves.

  14. #14
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    My personal opinion, and I am certainly not a legal expert by any means, is that a landlord is responsible for problems with things I would term as "structural". That would include plumbing, electrical, roof, etc.. It would not include a clogged drain, burned out light bulbs, damage done by your carelessness, such as a hole in the wall, or broken window. Further more the landlord is required to take care of health issues, and clearly a leaky pipe would fit this. Now the biggest problem may not be getting the problem fixed, but doing so in a way that does not damage your relationship with the landlord, and it's beginning to sound like the relationship is already becoming strained. If you can, I would suggest you get out of the lease.

  15. #15


    Thanks, Gary. She said she'd terminate the lease if we agree to pay rent until someone else is found. This is probably going to very quickly turn into a legal battle when it doesn't have to. We will call the inspectors, get official reports and go from there. It blows my mind that she would refuse to fix the tub too because we can "take a shower". Wow. Had we known that, we would have never moved in!


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