When to Fix It Yourself vs. When To Call Maintenance

One of the great benefits of apartment living is the availability of maintenance. If you’re new to apartment community living, it can be hard at the beginning to distinguish when it is an appropriate time to call maintenance, and when you can just take care of the problem yourself.

Generally, if you really don’t know much about the repair or maintenance issue, call for help. The last thing you want is your amateur DIY to make the problem worse. That being said, maintenance staff in apartment buildings can be greatly overworked, so you should use your common sense and refrain from calling them for every little thing. Contrary to what some residents believe, they are not at your constant beck and call.

Some buildings also have a ‘common’ tool/cleaning box for the use of all the residents. Speak to your building manager to see if this is an option, and if you’re not sure about the specifics of your responsibilities.


If any of your drains are clogged, there are numerous methods to try before you call in the experts. Specialized products work well, as do plungers. If you’re having trouble and nothing seems to be doing the trick, then ask for help. You should also check with your building manager as to whether you can use liquid drain cleaners, as some forbid it as they can cause damage to pipes. Leaky faucets are easily tightened, again if they continue to be an issue let someone know. For big leaks from pipes, shut the water off and call maintenance immediately. This can cause huge issues if not fixed properly, not just for you but for the apartments homes around you.


You should replace light bulbs unless they are in hard to reach places which could be potentially dangerous. Another normal problem is a tripped circuit. You should be able to find the breaker box and flip the circuit back on— so need for maintenance there. When it comes to more dangerous and complex electrical issues, (such as faulty wiring) don’t risk your safety and get the professionals.


The rule tends to be that if the appliance came with the apartment, then the building is responsible for fixing it. Try to treat your appliances with respect, maintain them and keep them clean, but if they keep malfunctioning, ask for help.


Issues with regards to structure are the landlord’s or building’s responsibility. This includes broken windows, cracks in walls and more.

Just remember to use your common sense when it comes to maintenance issues. Don’t ever put yourself at risk and remember as a tenant, you have the right to assistance with certain things. If you are unsure, speak to your building manager or landlord to clarify.