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The dangers of residential water damage

As a tenant, you are responsible to inform your landlord when a leak occurs. However, it is the landlord's responsibility to repair the leak immediately. Failure to do so right away can lead to serious water damage in your home.

Plumbing issues can cause more than just a high water bill or a flooded bathroom. They also can result in major property damage and health hazards. If your landlord does not fix the problem, you can hold him or her legally accountable for any injury it causes you.

Personal property damage

In the case of flooding, the water will ruin your personal belongings. Waterlogged items are usually not salvageable due to material or health risks, or they may be very expensive to restore. Instead, you would need to buy new things.

Structural compromise

Often, leaks are not readily apparent. They can occur unknowingly inside the walls and beneath the floors. Over time, the water can weaken the structure of the building, making it unsafe to live in. It also can loosen, dampen, stain or damage in any other way water fixtures and cabinets. 

Health risks

Plumbing problems put your health at risk in two ways. First, the water may carry germs in it, such as in the case of the sewage backing up or a toilet overflowing. Second, the continual presence of water helps mold and mildew to grow in the moist area. Mold and mildew are fungi that harm your health, with toxic mold being the most dangerous. You can experience an allergic reaction, respiratory issues or changes in mood, such as depression. Babies can develop asthma from constant exposure.

Signs of leaky plumbing

When a leak is not obvious, look for the following signs:

  • Stains on the walls, floors or ceiling
  • A musty smell
  • Loose tiles or curling vinyl flooring
  • Puddles on the floor
  • Unusually high water bill
  • Ticking water meter even when no water is in use

If you notice these signs, call your landlord right away.

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