Avoid A Plumbing Nightmare During Winter in Your Home or Rental Property

Water Pipe Leak

My tenant didn’t leave water running and now I and other units have water damage – how to avoid this from happening?

I own a condo as rental property that comes with an HOA – so no worries, nothing bad could ever happen, right? Except an HOA is mainly there to take care of snow removal, lawn maintenance, security door locks, hallway maintenance, gutter cleaning, restoring deteriorating steps, anything else outside the home.

Well, at 6 am on a day I was planning to return to work after working from home all week due to the Polar Vortex but boy did my agenda change quickly. My tenant called to tell me there was a leak. And in fact, it was the tenant who lives beneath my unit who first called and spoke to me before I was able to get in touch with my tenant.

He decided to do laundry that day and hadn’t attempted to leave any water running prior to that day which resulted in a frozen pipe that bursted with water leaking in the laundry room and wetting the hallway and living room carpet. Worst of all it spread to the garage and other tenants unit because of the long window from the time of the leak happening until we could hut the water off.

When you own a rental you should know the ins and out of that property. Unfortunately, even though he cut off the water from behind the washer machine and the water heater it didn’t stop the leak which means the main water valve to my unit needed to be turned off. If you can believe it, after calling my association I received the worst run around on clear direction of where the water valve was located.

After 4hrs I was able to turn the water off, have my plumber come over and fix the problem. By the time he fixed it there was 4 leaks, slushed water turned into ice on the garage floor and now the saga continues with insurance. But here’s what I learned from that experience: 1. Make sure you have insurance, if no one else doesn’t and you happen to damage their items from an accidental occurrence such as this it’s not your concern because your insurance covers your property only and then of course others with insurance can file a claim against yours for any damage coverage. 2. Tell your tenants to leave the water dripping. I didn’t do this thinking my tenant knew but you can never assume. 3. Know where your water valve shut off is located so if you have a leaky pipe you can limit any damage by turning off the water until your leak is completely fixed.

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