Apartment Maintenance Terms (and what they really mean)

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One of the nice things about apartment living is that someone else is responsible for the repairs. However, this is only nice when that person actually makes the repairs. One of the most frustrating experiences as a tenant is to have building management that does not respond to maintenance requests or employs maintenance workers who fix the wrong thing or do not fix anything at all. In cases like these, a person might wonder if the property management staff is speaking a completely different language. Well, maybe they are. Here's a list of maintenance terms... and what they really mean.

  • arrival time window – a span of hours plus or minus several days
  • bucket – 1) toolbox 2) ashtray 3) leak solution
  • caulk – substance to fill all gaps
  • cell phone – voicemail collector
  • circuit breaker panel – inaccessible electric box
  • communication – (meaning unclear)

  • drain – opening through which water slowly disappears
  • drip – a faucet's natural action
  • downspout (summer) – flood maker
  • downspout (winter) – ice maker
  • duct tape - Home Depot on a roll
  • electrician – expensive outside labor called only if building is already on fire
  • electricity – invisible magic danger
  • emergency – inconvenience at time and a half
  • faucet – drip maker
  • fix – apply duct tape or caulk
  • flashing – roof or window material designed to trap water underneath
  • flush – a) a way to partially replace toilet bowl water b) no more than a 1 inch gap between surfaces
  • fuse – state-of-the-art electricity regulator
  • gasket – something the tenant blows after 2 weeks of waiting for repairs
  • gutter – leaf collector
  • intercom – LOL
  • lobby – phone book library
  • notice of entry – 1) footprints 2) door unlocked or locked differently 3) unexpected man in your apartment
  • plumber – expensive outside labor called only if building is already underwater
  • plumbing snake – device to pack clogs more tightly into a plumbing pipe
  • radiator – device to make apartment either too cold or too hot
  • refinish (floor) – fill building with toxic fumes
  • refinish (tub) – apply foul-smelling paint unevenly
  • repair – apply duct tape or caulk
  • replace – (meaning unclear)
  • shower head – a device to slow water flow
  • smoke alarm (hallway) – alarm clock permanently set to go off in 1 minute
  • tuckpointing – passersby were amazed by the unusually large number of falling bricks
  • water pressure – gravity

If you enjoyed this, please check out our lease terms and apartment ad terms (and what they really mean).

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Published by

Jon Hoferle