Can my landlord charge me for pipes the leaked underneath my unit and into another?

UPDATED: Aug 31, 2011

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Can my landlord charge me for pipes the leaked underneath my unit and into another?

My sink was left running (on accident) for about 2 hours. My landlord, at around 4:00 am) entered my apartment while I was sleeping. She came in because the unit below mine had water entering through a vent (or something) and came to check it out. I woke up (I was not dressed) and she turned off the faucet. The sink was empty, and it was not clogged. Now, I was 2 days from moving out of the complex. She wants me to pay for the damage, but the water leaked from the pipes, not from flooding. There was no damage to my unit. She has stated the pipes leak often in other units

Asked on August 31, 2011 Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to read carefully your written lease with your landlord assuming you have one in that its terms control the obligations you owe to your landlord and vice versa over the rental in the absence of conflicting state law.

If there is no mention in your lease about repairs and maintenance for the rented unit, it is the landlord's responsibility to pay for the repairs of the leaked pipes in the presumed subfloor of your rental. Even if there is language of you being responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the unit in the written lease, custom and practice in the lease of rental properties is that the tenant is not responsible for repairs in the unit's subfloors since tenants ordinarily do not climb into that area of the home for inspection.

Additionally, the pipes in that subfloor leaked due most likely to age. The pipes and their repairs are the landlord's responsibility to repairs at his or her own cost, not yours.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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