Life is different in an apartment. There can be less privacy, but you also don’t have to worry about mowing your lawn or cleaning the gutters. One of the more unique things about apartment life is how the plumbing works. If a lot of people are taking a hot shower and the hot water heater can’t keep up, then you might be in for a cold awakening one Monday morning. Similarly, depending on how thin the walls are, you may be able to hear the toilet running next door. And in a worse-case scenario, if the second-floor apartment has leak, there’s a chance you’ll realize it before they do when water starts leaking from your first-floor ceiling.
Know before you sign
Before you move in, you should receive a lease that clearly lays out who is responsible for plumbing maintenance and emergency repairs, as well as a procedure for those situations. Many landlords will require you to report water leaks as soon as possible, as water damage is murder on apartments. Depending on how technologically-savvy your property management company is, you may even have an online portal where you can submit maintenance requests. Those work better for things that aren’t as urgent, though. If the dryer isn’t heating, that’s something you can report online. But if the washing machine is overflowing and you can’t seem to stop it, you’re going to need to act more quickly.
If the problem occurs during office hours, try the main office line first, since it may be the quickest way to reach a live person. Since many emergencies are rude enough to occur outside of normal working hours, there should also be an emergency maintenance line. When you move in, it’s a good idea to program both the main office line and the emergency line into your mobile phone’s list of contacts. That way you’ll already have them when you need them.
If the problem is in your neighbor’s apartment, you have a couple of options. If you’re friendly enough with your neighbor, or at least not shy around strangers, go upstairs and knock on their door. When they answer, politely explain what’s going on. Something like “Hey, I’m from downstairs. My bathroom ceiling is leaking, so I thought you might want to check for water in there.”
Hopefully they’ll thank you and start calling apartment maintenance themselves. If not, then you may have to call. Even if they do promise they’ll take care of it, it’s not a bad idea to report it anyway, since the issue is affecting your place as well.
There’s a decent chance that your apartment complex contracts with a local plumbing company to perform maintenance and repairs. If you’ve tried multiple times but can’t reach your apartment managers, and if know the name of the relevant plumbing company, give them a call. It might feel a little embarrassing, but your apartment company should be more embarrassed by their poor service than you should be for reaching out to anyone who can help. The plumbers probably have alternate ways of getting in touch with apartment people, and so there’s a decent chance they can help you out. If not, they should at least be able to offer you advice on stopping the water flow and mitigating your damages.