Water leaks in units

Water leaks and mould are probably the most common emergency that a condo owner will face in their apartments.

There are several main sources for these leaks.

Units above you
A unit's dishwasher or washing machine may spring a leak. The water will flow down into the lower units and ruin the drywall along the walls or the units' ceilings.

These leaks can also be caused by old or damaged toilet and bathtub seals or leaking piping.

A small leak may first be detected when you see a small brown or black spot in a bathroom or kitchen ceiling. This spot will gradually get bigger and will be very soft. Putting a small hole in the ceiling, with a screwdriver will allow the water to escape and will limit the damage.

You need to inform the superintendent or building manager to have these leaks investigated, the leaks stopped and then the damages repaired.

Amateur plumbing repairs

On 30 June 2013, an owner on the 6th floor of 40 Scollard Street (in the Yorkville area) created a flood when he pulled a water valve apart without shutting the water off.

The water poured down on to the units below and leaked down the outside of the building. It took the plumber over an hour to get there and by then there was an estimated $70,000 to $100,000 of damage.

The plumber told CTV that
 he is called to do-it-yourself plumbing disasters a couple of times a month.

Since the owner did not hire a licenced and insured plumber, he may have to pay the full costs himself.

When copper piping gets old, small pin holes will develop in the hot water pipes, usually in the elbows. At first, the condo will repair a few pin holes but  that is a sign that all the hot water risers need to be replaced.

Building envelope leaks
Leaks, caused by rain and melting snow, can be caused by a deteriorating roof,  window seals or by cracks in the outside brickwork or in the pre-case concrete caulking.

Leaks enter through the outside walls, damages the insulation and mould builds up. Drywall, ceilings and flooring can get damaged.

Often eastern winds with driving rain causes water to enter the east side of apartment buildings.

These are extremely serious leaks and should be quickly dealt with. However since they are very expensive to fix, many condos keep putting off repairs.

Dishwashers & washing machines
The standard rubber hoses that come with dishwashers and washing machines will deteriorate in a few years. It is far safer to install stainless-steel reinforced water lines for these two appliances.

Also if too much soap is put into these front-load machines, they may overflow onto the floor. Many owners start these machines on their way out and find the flooding only when they return home.

Dumping items down the sinks or toilets
There are a lot of things that should not be dumped down the toilet. Female hygienic products and cat litter are part of a long list.

Some people dump kitchen grease and coffee grinds down the sink.

Kitchen and bathroom drain pipes are connected in stacks and if someone plugs the stacks, then sinks or toilets can back up and flood several units.


Flooding can happen anywhere in a condo tower and massive flooding will happen if a large diameter water pipe bursts. If a pipe bursts on the top floors, as the water flows downwards, up to 100 units can get flood damage, the elevators can be put out of action and the underground parking garage may collect up to three feet of water.

If the electrical room is in the basement, your electrical power may be cut off. When elevator pits get flooded, you lose the use of the elevators.

Report leaks immediately

Any water leaks coming into your unit or escaping from your units must be reported to the manager, superintendent or security immediately. You have a duty to help limit the amount of damage that results from a leak.

top  contents  chapter  previous  next