Seattle Landlords and Leak Fixes

Landlords have three ways they can manage their property. They can be reactive, preventive or predictive. When it comes to leak detection in building maintenance the only approach to take is preventive. Here’s a look at the three management approaches and the effects each one can have when it comes to leaks:

  • Reactive: When a reactive management approach is used landlords are allowing fate to take over. Reactive maintenance is actually a complete lack of maintenance, as it means a property manager is waiting for problems to occur before fixing them. This can actually work in some cases to save money in the long run. Areas such as laundry room equipment can keep on working for quite a while until they finally break down and need to be replaced. But in the case of elevators where people’s safety is involved or leak potential which can lead to costly damages and mold growth, reactive is never better. Undetected leaks, like these leaks at 2200 Westlake, can wreak havoc on a property as well as eat away at utility bills. Unknown leaks can continue without notice as the building’s water bill continues to rise. All of these things should be considered when designing a maintenance management program.
  • Predictive: Predictive management uses some proactive care for equipment and the building’s facilities by predicting the need for maintenance considering things such as age and performance. This takes a great deal of knowledge to work well and can be used when knowledgeable technicians are part of a maintenance team at the landlord’s disposal. Speaking to companies that offer maintenance service can help in determining if equipment is working to maximum capacity or if it appears it is about to fail. This can be effective with the proper team and a watchdog approach to keep things in working order. This approach can be effective in finding leaks but only for pipes that are within view. Those under the surface will remain undetected and end up costing money in the end.
  • Preventive: Preventive is by far the best approach as it places the landlord in the drivers’ seat and leaves nothing to chance. In the case of a building with luxury tenants offering first-rate services, preventive is also necessary as tenants are paying to avoid inconveniences such as faulty elevators and leaks which can cause costly damages. Luxury apartment complexes like Harbor Steps also tend to have luxury pools and jacuzzi tubs included in the amenities and these are two of the most common areas for leaks to occur. Other common areas that are often found at higher end apartment complexes include fountains and radiant heating in floors. By scheduling regular maintenance checks for equipment, pools and property damage landlords can keep things from falling apart and avoid far more costly repairs down the line.

The Dangers of Major Leaks
Especially in the case where there is a pool, fountains or jacuzzis or in the case where pipes are contained under concrete, using a leak detection service can help save hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Imagine the catastrophic leak that could happen for a building with a pool or jacuzzi on the roof. In the case where pipes burst below ground they can cause erosion damage directly beneath an area of a large car park heightening the danger of collapse. Any of these scenarios could cause costly damage as well as endanger lives.

Proactive Leak Detection Options
Leak detection can be done using infrared technology which uses heat detection to find areas with clearly defined temperature variances. Listening equipment such as ground probes and frequency sensitivity equipment can also be used to amplify the sounds of trickling or running water. Ground penetrating radar can also be used to identify damage to larger pipes by looking through the concrete surface and providing readings and images of what lies below.

Landlord’s Obligations
A landlord is obligated to comply with building codes outlined in the state and city in which their properties are located. Landlord and tenant laws for Seattle can be found here, and detail that in Seattle, once landlords are notified of a problem involving a lack of hot or cold water, they have 24 hours to begin repairs. Part of that compliance includes a certain amount of logical maintenance that will help prevent serious issues such as leaks. Water in general is an area of issue as leaks in some cases can actually make water unsafe for drinking. This is of course a worst case scenario but it does make it important for leak detection and leak fixes to be a priority. Leaks can also lead to dangerous mold growth when left unchecked, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Any of these scenarios can contribute to making an apartment unfit for habitation.

Technology offers a proactive approach to leak detection that when used regularly can help identify leaks before serious damage can be done. Taking a preventive approach to building maintenance allows landlords to avoid costly damages as well as to provide the living conditions required of them by law.