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How Long Does A Landlord Have To Fix Water Damage?

Water stains on the ceiling and walls, peeling paint, and other signs of water damage aren’t just unsightly. They can also be hazardous to health. Moisture that leads to water damage can encourage the growth of mold and mildew as well as attract pests such as cockroaches and mosquitoes. 

If you reside in a rental property or a landlord yourself, you might wonder, “Are landlords responsible for water damage?” And if so, how long does a landlord have to fix water damage? 

This article sheds light on tenant rights regarding water damage and the landlord’s responsibilities in such scenarios. It also provides tips on what to do if you spot signs of water damage in your rental. 

Are Landlords Responsible for Water Damage?

In the U.S., landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that the properties they’re renting out are livable and safe. Generally, they must ensure:

  • Functional systems, such as plumbing and heating
  • Structural integrity
  • Freedom from hazards, such as lead paint and exposed wiring

Additionally, landlords are responsible for repairs caused by normal wear and tear that affect a property’s livability. For instance, landlords are required to fix issues like damaged windows and leaky faucets. 

Landlords’ legal responsibilities stem from a concept called “implied warranty of habitability.” The specific inclusions and details vary by state. But do their responsibilities cover water damage? It depends. 

If water damage occurred due to tenant negligence, such as leaving a window open during a rainstorm, then the tenant is likely to be liable for the repair costs. However, suppose the water damage was caused by a faulty appliance provided by the landlord, a leaky roof due to normal wear and tear, deteriorated pipes due to age, or a flood. In that case, the landlord is generally responsible for repairs.

Is the Landlord Responsible for Water Damage to Tenant Property? 

What if the tenant’s personal property, such as books or furniture, has been damaged due to a flood? Is the landlord responsible for the costs of repair or replacement?

Unfortunately, no. Landlord’s insurance only protects against damage to their own property and furnishings. This is why having renter’s insurance is essential. It covers losses due to water damage as well as other perils.

However, if the landlord’s negligence—such as failing to fix a leak reported by the tenant—resulted in water damage to a tenant’s belongings, they may be held liable. As mentioned, landlords must ensure that their rental properties are habitable, and this duty covers ensuring that repairs are made promptly. If a leak was reported and the landlord neglected to fix it, their inaction could be considered a breach of the implied warranty of habitability. 

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Fix Water Damage? 

The question, “How long does a landlord have to fix water damage?” is a common one, both among renters eager to get it repaired and landlords wondering about their legal obligations. 

The time frame varies depending on the state. In Kansas, there’s no exact deadline for repairs. However, generally, landlords must make urgent repairs as quickly as possible, while non-urgent fixes should be completed within 30 days. 

What to Do If Your Rental Property Has Water Damage

  1. Take Immediate Action: The first step is to stop the source of the leak. If it’s a plumbing issue, turn off the water supply. You should also move belongings away from the leak to prevent further damage.
  1. Document Everything: Take pictures and videos of the water damage. Record the date and time it occurred.
  1. Contact Your Landlord: If you’re the renter, inform your landlord promptly. Explain the water damage, its location, and any attempts you made to stop the source. If you notify your landlord verbally, follow up with a written email or letter detailing the water damage and requesting repairs within a reasonable timeframe in writing. Keep a copy for your records.
  1. Contact a Water Damage Restoration Company: If you’re the landlord, reach out to a trusted provider of water damage restoration services. They have the expertise and equipment to handle any water damage situation effectively.

Water Damage Restoration by Experts 

If your rental property has water damage, reach out to Restoration 1 of Kansas City for prompt and professional water damage restoration services. Experienced technicians will swiftly assess the situation, contain the damage, and begin the drying and restoration process. 

Contact us today to learn more.