As a renter, you are entitled to a habitable home. You also have the responsibility to keep everything in good working order – doing otherwise can prove very costly for you.
The best advice is to avoid moving into a property with obvious plumbing issues. It cannot always be avoided, but there are some tell-tale signs that you can look for when inspecting a property to move in. Test out all taps (both hot and cold), checking that the water flow is normal. When you switch the tap off, see if it is leaking. Pay attention to drainage: a sink that is slow to drain requires further investigation. It may be that it is an easy fix, or there may be serious repairs that are needed. If you see that the shower drain backs up when a bathroom tap is switched on, you can rule out that property unless there are repairs planned. You should also check that all toilets flush and refill correctly. Many of these problems are quite minor, but they do need a professional repair. Seasoned renters will know it is easier to arrange for repairs before you move in, especially if those repairs are costly.
If you were not able to fully inspect the residence prior to moving in, it is a good idea to do a quick check on your move-in day. This way, you can document and raise any problems from before you got there – you would not want to be blamed for causing the issue yourself.
On the day you move in, make sure you locate the mains shutoff switch. This is most likely near your water meter. This may be handy to know for later if you have a tap that will not turn off. While waiting for an emergency repair, switching off the water at the mains will mitigate the damage caused to the property and your personal belongings.
As a renter, you should be clear on what your responsibilities are, especially when it comes to emergencies. If a pipe bursts and it is after hours, you cannot wait until you hear back from the property manager. Make sure you have the details of their preferred after-hours repair services, including for any plumbing repairs. Maintenance and repairs are usually the owner’s responsibility, but the renter may bear some responsibility, especially if it is a problem that they caused. It is best to be across the details ahead of time, so you are poised to deal with any situations that may come up.
Finally, the best advice received by many renters is: use a strainer in your kitchen sink. A strainer is a must in any household, as it stops chunks of food and other debris from going down the drain and potentially causing serious damage.