Apartment Plumbing!!

By Tenant


I am a renter in LA and filed a maintenance request more than 2 months ago. There are some issues with my apartment plumbing.   The hot water works fine in my kitchen, and is clean. But in my bathroom, every time I turn on the shower or sink, the water comes out brown-orange for the first 3-60+ seconds. I caught the water in a cup and once it settled, I realized that it was a thick degree of rust from the pipes. The landlord said that I should just let the shower run for a few minutes then use it. But do I not have a right to clean water? I wonder how many times I stuck my toothbrush in the sink, then used it, before I let the sink run for “long enough”?

My shower, as well, goes from perfect temperature to really cold, to scalding hot, without me touching the temperature knob. I have spoken with the manager many times about this and she keeps giving me an excuse each time I run into her, but she has not returned my calls regarding anything about the water. It has been more than 2 months since my maintenance request. In California, I know I have a right to hot and clean water, does my case apply?

Please advise!

Also, can I file a complaint with RPA if my management company is not a member?

Edited on: Saturday, June 8th, 2013 2:53 am

2 Responses to “Apartment Plumbing!!”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)

Agent Paxton

May 19th, 2008 12:09 pm

Yes, you can file a complaint even if your landlord isn’t RPA Approved. Landlord repair issues are the most common complaint received by the RPA. Your landlord is required to provide a safe living environment. The only problem is that the brownish red color that is caused by old galvanized steel pipes is most likely not considered a real health hazard. In fact if you were to check your local health department you would most likely see that it is not regulated at all. So with that said, what can you really do? I’ve personally remodeled old houses with galvanized steel pipes and have found that anytime you have any plumbing work done, the water will run brownish red for a few seconds until it cleans out the composites that were wiggled loose by the plumber. Your landlord’s suggestion of running the shower does have some logic to it… You would actually need to run the tub spout and not the shower. The tub spout is the only placed where there aren’t any screens to catch the composites, and that’s how running the tub spout can clean out your pipes and hopefully stop the problem. You mentioned that the water will run different colors for up to a minute plus, this seems weird and might be due to the screens on your faucets being junked up with the composites. There are several inexpensive options that the landlord can do to resolve the problem with the discolored water in your rental. If you can’t resolve the problem, you should definitely file a complaint, this is the only sure way to see that your rights are met.


June 13th, 2008 9:53 am

I get this question all the time… I’m guessing that this mostly happens when you run the hot water. Galvanized pipe will give you a redish color if the pipes get bumped and the soot from inside the pipes get loose. Try running your cold water through the bathtub for about 2 minutes, this should clear up the cold water line. As for the hot water, most likely you have a older water heater that is filled with soot, it won’t matter how long you run it, it will still have the same problem each time you turn on your hot water. You can try draining the hot water heater (there shoudl be a drain valve located on towards the bottom of the heater). Just hook up a hose to the drain and open it up. It will take a while for the water heater to completely drain. If the water still runs red after that, you will want to get your landlord to replace the water heater.


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