Most state or local laws require landlords to provide sufficient water pressure to do normal apartment activities like shower, flushing a toilet, and using the sink.
How Much Water Pressure?
The landlord is not required to provide strong water pressure unless they’ve promised it in the lease. If the water pressure is sufficient for basic uses, then the landlord has not breached their “implied warranty of habitability” (available everywhere except Arkansas), and thus will not be responsible for improving the water pressure. The implied warranty of habitability differs slightly by state but generally requires basic running water in the apartment with sufficient pressure for uses like showering and washing dishes. Some state and local regulations include specific guidelines on how much water pressure landlords need to provide. If such regulations exist, tenants may report issues to local authorities who can conduct a building inspection and impose fines for violations.
Fixing Low Water Pressure for Only One Unit
If the water pressure is low for just one unit, the issue might be caused by clogged pipes or showerheads. Handy tenants may ask the landlord if the landlord will reimburse them for replacing the showerhead or for CLR (Calcium, Lime, & Rust remover) in attempts to fix the problem quickly. If this doesn’t work, the landlord may need to hire a plumber to check whether a more central pipe is clogged. If the water pressure is so low that basic use of the facilities is impossible (e.g., the tenant cannot shower or wash dishes), then the landlord may be violating the lease. Landlords are usually required to provide clean, running water under the “implied warranty of habitability”. When the water pressure is not fixed in a reasonable time, the tenant may usually move out by notifying the landlord of the issue and their intended move out date.
Fixing Building-Wide Low Water Pressure
If the water pressure is low for a whole building, the landlord (or tenant) should start by calling the company supplying water to the building. These companies rely, in part, on complaints to determine where there are issues with their pipes or pressure, so the more people that complain, the better. If the cause is not the water company, the landlord should hire a plumber to fix the issue for the building – there may be an issue with a central water pipe. The landlord is generally responsible for providing a minimum level of water pressure for every tenant, and can simultaneously breach multiple leases. Tenants can work together to more easily negotiate and pressure the landlord to make the required fixes quickly.
State and Local Laws
Laws differ heavily by state, county, and city. Use RenterPeace to see more specific laws for to a given apartment and to see comments from people in your area.
Documenting the Problem
For most problems, tenants should document their issues, notify their landlord (document this too!), and stay informed about their rights. Renterpeace is a free website that helps with each step of this process. Tenants use RenterPeace to more easily see applicable laws, track their problems, and much more. There's a reason RenterPeace was selected "Best of" legal apps for both Android and iOS. It also includes household management tools, like a chore manager and bill tracker. Try it - you don't even to login first.
Using Property Management
To stay updated and organized about the problems in their apartments, landlords should use a property management system. Many are expensive or have high setup fees, but using RenterPeace for landlords is free. It's complete with legal compliance tips targeted to their problems, maintenance tracking, tenant screening, money-saving grant information, and tenant chat. It makes managing properties easier and staying updated about status of rental properties a breeze. Try it today.