Property repairs: not on tenant's watch?

Landlord furious when resident's actions undermine flood fix

Q: I own a rental home some 150 miles from my primary residence. Recently, my tenant informed me that there was water flooding the backyard. She wasn’t sure what the source of the water was at the time, but we both suspected the landscaping sprinkler system had malfunctioned or was leaking underground. We thought to call the local water authority to at least turn off the water, but it was closed for the evening. She said she would call the water authority first thing in the morning and get back to me.

When I hadn’t heard from her by noon, I called her at work and she told me she had called the water department. They told her they could come out and shut off the water at the meter at the street, but that was the limit to their services in these situations. That sounded reasonable and would allow me to get someone out that day to investigate the problem and resolve it.

However, I was shocked when she told me that she refused because she didn’t want to be without water in the home that evening. That meant that the water continued to leak and flood the yard all day.