One great thing about renting an apartment as opposed to buying a home is that you don’t have to pay for repairs like a leaky roof. But what if you have a leaky roof in your apartment and don’t know what to do? Read on below to learn about your legal protections when your apartment has a leaky roof and some signs that it’s time for your landlord to call a roofer.
Your rights as a renter
As a renter, you have a legal right to a livable situation in your apartment. This is known as the implied warranty of habitability and does not need to be written explicitly in your lease. If your landlord refuses to fix large leaks, mold, structural damage, or other issues that make the apartment unlivable, you legally have the right to pay for repairs yourself and deduct the cost from your rent.
This doesn’t mean that if your landlord doesn’t answer you immediately you should go and pay for the repairs yourself, as landlords are protected as well under the “reasonable time rule.” Landlords are often busy people, and this legal protection means that they have up to a month to take action on fixing any given problem in your apartment.
Some symptoms of a leaky roof are much more serious than others, and one that needs immediate attention is if the ceiling in your apartment is sagging. This could mean that water from a leak is building up in the ceiling and becoming too heavy for it to bear, and the ceiling could burst and pour water all over your apartment.
Not only can this dump water on your possessions, but it can also lead to structural integrity issues in the building over time, so it’s important to contact your landlord immediately.
Mold growing inside your apartment
Another problem that should be dealt with quickly is if a roof leak is causing mold to grow inside your apartment. You don’t need to be alarmed, as most household mold is harmless, but make sure you know how to identify black mold, which can be a real danger to your health over time.
Sometimes you can clean mold on your own with sprays and chemicals, but if a roof leak is causing the moisture that makes the mold grow, you’ll want to get your landlord involved in the process.
Visible damage to the roof
If the roof of your apartment is visibly damaged, you’ll want to make sure you let your landlord know. This can lead to more extreme leaks in your apartment later on, and if storms reach the material under the roof, they can cause more damage and make it a more difficult issue for your landlord to solve. They’ll appreciate you alerting them to an issue even if it isn’t directly affecting you as a renter yet.
Even small leaks should be repaired
Although larger leaks that cause significant issues typically need to be repaired much quicker, even small water leaks in your apartment roof are enough of an issue that your landlord should fix them. If you have a small leak you should be able to put a bucket under it temporarily, but make sure to coordinate with your landlord to get it fixed.